Looking back on the foods we ate when I was growing up, I don't remember beans.
No black beans and rice, no chunky vegetable soup with cannellini beans, no baked kidney beans infused with molasses.
Can you imagine?
Even in high school, when I flirted with teenage vegetarianism for a few months, I don't remember beans. In fact, I didn't "get" beans until I moved into my first apartment, junior year of college, with no meal plan and no money. I didn't know anything about amino acids or complex proteins. I'd never heard of "the three sisters" (beans, corn, squash). I knew that beans were inexpensive and hearty, and I could afford to fill my pantry with them.
Now I know more about nutrition, and my food budget is a bit higher than it used to be, but I still like a bowl of beans more than just about anything.
What are cannellini beans?
A variety of mild-flavored white beans, also known as white kidney beans because of their oblong shape. Available dried or canned.
How/where to store:
Dried, in their original packaging or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, for up to one year in the cupboard; cooked, for one week in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer. Canned, unopened, in the pantry indefinitely; once the can is open, do not store leftover beans in it. Transfer them to an airtight container.
More facts about cannellini beans, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Cannellini beans (Recipe: no-cook summer antipasto)
Greek hummus with white beans and feta
This smooth and tangy appetizer or sandwich filling starts with cannellini beans (Italian), and adds classic Greek flavors of feta, lemon and oregano. As a dip or spread, this "hummus" takes one minute to make, and you'll eat it just as quickly. Serve with pita chips, crackers or celery sticks, or spread on a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Makes 2 cups.
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
1 small clove of garlic
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Greek seasoning (I like Greektown Billygoat Seasoning)
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a standing blender, and process until smooth (if necessary, add one or two teaspoons of water to help get everything blended). Serve with crackers or crudites.
Other recipes that use cannellini beans:
White cannellini bean salad, from My Life as a Reluctant Housewife
Crockpot recipe for sausage, peppers, and cannellini bean stew with parmesan, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cannellini bean chili, from The Well-Seasoned Cook
Leek and cannellini bean soup with couscous, from Poor Girl Eats Well
Cannellini bean and coconut curry, from The Culinary Chase
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