The Cannellini Bean is known as White Kidney Bean in English. Its more common name, Cannellini, is Italian, and the bean is very popular in Italian cuisine. Taking its origin from Peru, Italian immigrants had harvested the legumes and introduced them to Europe in the 1500s.
The cannellini bean is often used in soups and salads as well as pasta. People favor this ingredient because of its subtle nutty flavor that elevates a dish. It also adds great texture to dishes, especially soups and sauces. Apart from their flavor, cannellini beans are packed full of nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals with low-fat content.
But what do you do when this wonderful ingredient is not on hand? Are there any good options that can substitute for cannellini beans? This blog post lists five great alternatives for cannellini beans.
Substitutes For Cannellini Beans
1. Great Northern Beans
Great northern beans are a variety of beans popular in North America. They are cultivated in cold temperatures and have a hard exterior. They are delicate beans and small despite their name. They have a subtle flavor making them great for soups and stews.
They have a similar nutty flavor to Great northern beans and can be substituted for the other almost perfectly. They have firmer flesh than their larger counterparts, so they may need more cooking time. It acts as a form of balance as it has a smooth texture and neutral flavor that goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. They also add bulk without altering the taste.
2. Navy Beans
Navy bean, also called pea bean, is a native American variety of beans smaller than many types of beans. It is oval and flattened, resembling a pill. It is used in dishes such as baked beans, pies, and soups.
Navy beans have tough skin and dense flesh, so it needs more cooking time. Compared to Cannellini beans, they are smaller and cook up faster. They are also softer and therefore are used in quick soups and dips. When substituting Navy beans for Cannellini beans, you may have to add your beans later than you would because Navy beans lose their shape faster.
3. Lima Beans
Lima beans are also referred to as butter beans. They are a good source of fiber and protein. They also are almost fat-free and have an abundance of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, etc. It holds flavor and has a buttery taste to it. It has an earthy flavor that comes out when cooked.
Lima beans can be used as a substitute for Cannellini beans in soups. However, due to their small size, cooking lima beans at a high temperature can cause them to fall apart. It is best to simmer to extract that buttery feel peculiar to these beans.
4. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are a variety of common beans. It is so named for its shape and color, similar to human kidneys. This bean is packed with nutrients such as B vitamins, protein, and minerals. It features prominently in the Caribbean, Asian and Mexican cuisine.
They substitute well for cannellini beans because of their similarity in size, texture in dishes, and how long it takes to cook. However, kidney beans have a more earthy flavor which is more distinct than the cannellini bean’s more subtle flavor. Kidney beans are also bright red, unlike white cannellini beans. So, if appearance is vital in your dish, this may be the best option. They go well in salads, soups, dips, and chilis, where kidney beans can take on more robust flavors.
5. Garbanzo Beans
Garbanzo beans are also popularly known as chickpeas. These beans are high in protein and minerals. They feature heavily in the Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines and are very versatile nutrient-dense foods.
They can easily substitute for cannellini beans in recipes where the beans have to be broken down. Garbanzo beans have an apparent different shape and texture but have similar nutty flavors. They also have the same color but need to have the skin removed before using them in place of cannellini beans. They also take longer to cook, taking up to two hours even after soaking them. They are an excellent substitute for cannellini beans in soups.
Cannellini beans can be easily substituted by any of the beans listed above. They go well in dishes like soups, sauces, and salad. It is essential to take note of their peculiarities so that you can choose the best-suited alternative for your dish.