What Are Cannellini Beans? How Do You Use Them?

Written by Varsha Patnaik , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Diet & Nutrition Coach

Beans – love them or hate them, you cannot live without them! Baked or fried, blanched or boiled, you can eat them any way you want. There are many types of beans that are available in the market, like kidney beans, black beans, etc. And then there are cannellini beans. Cannellini beans are grown in parts of central and Northern Italy and are often used in Italian dishes, such as Pasta e Fagioli and bean stew. Learn all about the health benefits of cannellini beans and how to add them to your diet here. Keep reading!

What Are Cannellini Beans?

Cannellini beans, like other beans, belong to the haricot (legume) family. They are white in color and have a shape similar to kidney beans. When cooked, these beans develop a fluffy texture and have a mild nutty flavor. These beans are known to be a rich and inexpensive source of nutrients and are a part of the staple diet in many European countries. Asia and North America are now seeing a rise in demand for these beans as well.

Let us now look at some of the nutritional values of cannellini beans.

Cannellini Beans – Nutrition Profile

Cannellini beans are a rich source of micro and macronutrients. They contain essential minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber that are good for your health. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 100 g of cannellini beans contain (1):

Nutritional Table (1)

NameAmount Per 100gValue
Energy85kcal
Protein6.15g
Total Fat0g
Carbohydrates146.62g
Dietary fiber3.8g
Total Sugars0.77g
Calcium46mg
Iron2.77mg
Sodium69mg
Vitamin C0mg
Vitamin A0mg
Trans Fat0g
Cholesterol0mg

Now, let us now look at some of the health benefits of cannellini beans.

Health Benefits Of Cannellini Beans

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, your diet is just as important as your workout regimen. A balanced diet should consist of a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean meats (2). Legumes, such as cannellini beans, are a good source of plant-based protein (1). This is especially beneficial if you follow a plant-based diet or vegan diet. Let us look at some of the health benefits cannellini beans have to offer:

1. May Improve Digestive Health

Cannellini beans are high in fiber (1). Dietary fiber helps in improving your bowel movements and overall digestive health (2), (3).

Additionally, cannellini beans are high in carbohydrates (1). These carbohydrates produce short-chain fatty acids, which improve your metabolism and intestinal health (4).

2. May Help Maintain Healthy Body Weight

Cannellini beans are low in calories, high in fiber and protein, and free of fats (1). This makes them the ideal food to include in your diet to maintain healthy body weight.

In general, people who consume beans have been found to have lower body weight and smaller waist sizes compared to people who don’t eat beans. They are also at a reduced risk of increased waist size and obesity (5).

3. May Improve Heart Health

Bean consumers have been found to have lower systolic blood pressure compared to non-consumers (5). Some studies have also found that cannellini beans reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressures, though more research is required to prove the same (6).

Consuming cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, may also help in reducing LDL cholesterol and blood glucose levels (6).

Now that you have learned about the health benefits of cannellini beans, let us look at how to identify, choose, and store cannellini beans.

How To Choose And Store Cannellini Beans

Have you ever come across a recipe that requires white beans, and you were left scratching your brains as to which white beans to use? After all, there are many beans that are called white beans. For instance, cannellini beans, navy beans, Great Northern beans, and baby lima beans are all referred to as white beans.

Here’s how you can identify cannellini beans: Among all the white beans, cannellini beans are the largest in size. They are shaped like a kidney and are also called white kidney beans. These beans have a nutty and earthy flavor with a soft texture.

Storing cannellini beans is no rocket science. Just put them in an airtight jar and store them away in a clean, cool, and dry place in your kitchen or storeroom. These beans, when kept in these conditions, are perfectly good to use for a period of 2 years.

Now, let us find out how you can add these beans to your diet.

How To Include Cannellini Beans In Your Diet

Given how cannellini beans are rich in protein and fiber, adding them to your diet is fairly simple. You can add them to your salads, soups, and a whole bunch of other dishes. Here are a few quick and easy recipes that you can try out.

Simple And Easy Cannellini Soup

This is a refreshing and healthy soup that you can make in 20 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of cannellini beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery, chopped
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 2 leaves of spinach (optional)
  • Tomato paste
  • 1½ cups of vegetable stock (homemade or store-bought)
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • Rosemary
  • 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Preparation

  1. Sautethe onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cannellini beans, garlic, tomato paste, rosemary, and a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning.
  3. Stir these well for a minute.
  4. Add the wine and toss all the vegetables. Stir on simmer till the wine evaporates.
  5. Add the vegetable stock and spinach, and cook the vegetables till you feel the potatoes are soft.
  6. Check the seasoning and add more if needed.
  7. Serve the soup in a bowl. Garnish by drizzling some olive oil on top. Enjoy it with a side of your favorite bread.

Another easy recipe you can try is stir-fried cannellini beans.

Stir-fried Cannellini Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • 4-5 chives
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Preparation

  • Rinse and drain the cannellini beans.
  • In a skillet or pan, heat up olive oil.
  • Add the beans along with the Italian seasoning to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat. Stir occasionally.
  • Garnish with fresh chives and serve.

Now that you’ve understood how to incorporate cannellini beans into your diet, let us understand if there are any possible side effects of eating these beans.

Side Effects Of Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans, and beans of any kind, are some of the healthiest foods available to us. They are inexpensive and easily available in most parts of the world. There are no known side effects of eating cannellini beans. However, you may feel mild discomfort after eating these beans.

Gas and bloating are the two biggest side effects of eating cannellini beans. This is because of the high fiber content of these beans. This fiber contains compounds like oligosaccharides, resistant starch, inulin, guar gum, and pectin that produce moderate to high amounts of gas (7).

The Bottom Line

Cannellini beans are legumes that are a good source of plant protein. They are super healthy for you as they are a great source of fiber and protein. They not only help in maintaining a healthy body weight but are also good for your digestive and heart health. Apart from making you feel a bit gassy and bloated, these beans have little to no side effects.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are cannellini beans carbs or protein?

Cannellini beans are a richer source of protein than carbs.

Should anyone avoid eating cannellini beans?

No, there is no reason for anyone to avoid eating cannellini beans.

Are Great Northern beans the same as cannellini beans?

No, Great Northern beans are different from cannellini beans as they are smaller and have a different flavor than cannellini beans.

Are cannellini beans and white kidney beans the same?

Yes, cannellini beans and white kidney beans are the same.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Cannellini Beans
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/551175/nutrients
  2. Essentials of Healthy Eating: A Guide
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3471136/
  3. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7589116/
  4. The Role of Short-Chain Fatty Acids in The Interplay Between Diet, Gut Microbiota, and Host Energy Metabolism
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3735932/
  5. Bean Consumption Is Associated With Greater Nutrient Intake, Reduced Systolic Blood Pressure, Lower Body Weight, and A Smaller Waist Circumference in Adults: Results From The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18845707/
  6. It’s No Has Bean: A Review of the Effects of White Kidney Bean Extract on Body Composition and Metabolic Health
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7284421/
  7. Effects of High-Fiber Diets and Macronutrient Substitution on Bloating: Findings From the OmniHeart Trial
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7056053/
  8. White and Dark Kidney Beans Reduce Colonic Mucosal Damage and Inflammation In Response to Dextran Sodium Sulfate
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25841250/
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