Cannellini beans with sage is a Tuscan classic that is simple to make and good for both you and the planet. Low in fat and sodium, and an excellent source of iron, potassium, fiber, and folate, beans are a healthy gluten-free and low-glycemic plant-based protein.
They are good for the planet too. Beans and other pulses can help fix the nitrogen in soil, increasing soil productivity while reducing dependence on chemical fertilizers and promoting soil biodiversity.
Beans are also cheap and easy to store. Most importantly, you can create tasty dishes with them. In short — eat more beans!
As the pandemic still keeps me working from my kitchen, I have plenty of time for those long, slow, patient recipes like this one. The recipe is a cinch and uses very few ingredients but it does take time.
The simmering sage and garlic also smell like a holiday.
There are a lot of different ways that you can go about making this recipe. I used the stovetop, but you could use a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or even cook the beans covered in the oven as in this recipe on Food52. You can mix it up with different herbs as well, toss in some rosemary, thyme, or maybe a bay leaf or possibly a parmesan cheese rind.
Serve the beans warm, drizzled in olive oil with a hunk of crispy bread.
Cannellini beans with sage
- 1.5 cups (300 grams) dried cannellini beans, fresh and used within 1 year of harvest.
- 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh sage or around 6-10 fresh sage leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- Olive oil – a flavorful and fruity olive oil would shine here especially when drizzled over the final dish as you’ll be able to taste it.
- Salt and black pepper
- Soak the cannellini beans overnight (6 to 12 hours) in cold water.
- Drain and rinse the beans and place in a large pot and cover them with water by 2 inches.
- Add the sage, garlic, and a good drizzle of olive oil (around 3 tablespoons) and bring to a boil over moderate heat.
- Simmer on low heat for about 1.5 hours, until the beans are tender but not mushy, stir occasionally.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and drain off the water and save it to use anywhere you would reach for a vegetable broth, such as in a soup or risotto.
- Squeeze the garlic from their peels and mash into the beans and add more salt if needed.
- Place the beans in a serving bowl with a little bit of broth and some more black pepper and drizzle with oil and serve.