Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are a staple of central and southern Italian cooking.  Adding cannellini beans to meals is a great way to make the meals more filling, thanks to the beans’ high protein and fiber content.  Cannellini beans are also an excellent source of iron and folate and a good source of magnesium and potassium.  Cannellini beans are versatile; they can be added to recipes whole, or pureed to make a sauce or dip.  Canned cannellini beans are a quicker alternative to their dried counterparts, but canned beans can be high in sodium, so make sure to choose a low-sodium variety and rinse the beans before using.

White Bean and Pumpkin Hummus 

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, chopped


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth (about 30 seconds).
  2. Serve pumpkin spread with pita chips or cut-up vegetables.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light magazine, October 2014 

Penne with Cannellini Beans

8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
2 (14½-ounce) cans no-salt-added Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10-ounce) package fresh baby spinach, chopped
¼ cup Romano cheese, shredded


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In large saucepan, combine the tomatoes and beans, and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  4. Add spinach, cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
  5. Drain pasta, top with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 5.

Recipe adapted from




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