These pantry staples are versatile, healthful, and delicious. Count on them for simple, satisfying meals.

Martha Stewart Living, January 2011


Recipe Summary

10 mins
2 hrs 10 mins
Makes 6 cups


Flavor Base


Instructions Checklist
  • Make the beans: Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water by several inches. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Drain. (For a quick soak, cover beans in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 1 hour. Drain.)

  • Make the flavor base: Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, chile, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and any add-ins until onion and garlic are soft, about 5 minutes.

  • Add beans, 8 cups water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, adding water as needed to keep submerged, until tender, 35 minutes to 2 hours, depending on type of bean. (Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes.)

Cook's Notes

Stir a few tablespoons of any of these into the flavor base: bell peppers, sausage, bacon, tomatoes. Or season with herbs and spices (cumin, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf).

Cook's Notes

Straight from the pot, beans make a meal. Serve cannellini beans Italian-style, with crostini and escarole sauteed in garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and finish with fried rosemary sprigs and a little more oil.


Reviews (2)

23 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 5
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 9
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: Unrated
OH YUM! I've never cooked cannellini beans before, and am really new to bean cooking in general. THANKS for this recipe - great one to rif from! Only had dried smoked chili, so rehydrated it. Added some cooked bacon (old), a bit of leftover Speck (from another recipe here), 1/3 bell pepper, 2 stalk celery. Put in 4 cups water then remembered leftover 1 1/2 qt chicken stock, used it. 3 hours later...oh lordy it's divine bean soup!!
Rating: Unrated
Really easy! I mashed some up to top crostini with, and sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil. My beans took only 35 minutes.