Also known as haricots, pearl haricots and navy beans, cannellini beans are creamy-white, kidney-shaped beans.
Canned cannellini beans are readily available in supermarkets and need only rinsing and draining before adding to cooking, but try precooking dried beans for a nuttier flavour and more texture than the slightly ‘fluffy’ canned beans (see Pluses of pulses for cooking tips).
Just a quarter cup of cooked cannellini beans added to a serve of salad or a casserole adds 3g protein and 4g fibre, as well as boosting folate, calcium, potassium and iron.
Cannellini beans are most commonly seen as the basic ingredient in baked beans. Apart from their use in this sweet tomato sauce, they can be added to vegetable soups such as minestrone (see page 31) and stews, and their mild flavour pairs well with rosemary (try a white bean dip with lemon zest and olive oil), green beans, tuna, red onion, capers and other salty ingredients.