Within the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) family, there is a lot of diversity. It includes a broad spectrum that ranges from pinto to green beans. Some of the most famous beans in this family are kidney beans — one kind that truly stands out are white kidney beans.
Like other kinds of kidney beans, white kidney beans are packed with nutritional fortitude and exceptional flavor.
Keep reading! These timeless beans have nutritional benefits that you want to know about. Also, we’ll share some mouthwatering white bean recipes that you’ll definitely want to try.
A Bean of Italy
There are various kinds of white beans, and they all enjoy international popularity. The white kidney bean, otherwise known as the cannellini bean, is no exception.
But, while cannellini beans are celebrated worldwide, it’s possible that they’re most extensively used in Italian cuisine. It’s common to find them in pasta, paired with a fish, like tuna, or in a soup such as minestrone.
Appearance and Taste
White kidney beans are among the largest white beans. They’re smooth, oval-shaped, and slightly curved just as other kidney beans are. They also have an almost glossy appearance and are, as their name suggests, white.
While these kidney beans are rather handsome, what’s even more important about them is that they taste great.
They have a mild flavor that’s often characterized as nutty, meaty, and earthy. When cooked, they have a smooth and creamy texture that allows them to be used in a wide variety of dishes.
While everyone’s nutritional needs are different, if ever there was a superfood, the white kidney bean would be it.
These beans are among the best sources of plant-based protein, and in a half-cup serving, you get roughly 9 grams.
Kidney beans are mostly made up of complex carbohydrates. These are the good kind of carbs that provide sustainable, long-lasting energy.
While typically fat-free, the beans only contain up to half a gram. Additionally, the fat found in white kidney beans is predominantly healthy, unsaturated fat.
The micronutrient profile of the white kidney bean is just as impressive as its macronutrient profile.
These beans are packed with fiber and iron. They also contain calcium, potassium, zinc, and folate.
Cooking With White Kidney Beans
There are many ways to cook white kidney beans. We’ve provided some ideas for how to prepare these incredible beans for meals, snacks, and for kids.
Minestrone is a classic Italian soup that dates back over two millennia. The earliest minestrone soups even predate the Roman empire. Thousands of years later, the soup is still beloved.
Although there are many variations of minestrone, one of the main ingredients that’s consistent across the vast majority of recipes is the white kidney bean.
Chili is wonderful. It’s warm and filling, easy to make, and also pretty good for you. It’s also loaded with protein with a moderate amount of complex carbs and healthy fats.
If you’re not familiar with white bean chili, you need to give this tasty, hearty chili variation a try.
Before the hummus enthusiasts cry blasphemy, give white bean hummus a chance. It’s similar to traditional chickpea hummus, but more importantly, absolutely delicious in its own right. Try pairing it with your favorite pita.
For a healthy, crispy, filling snack, try oven-baked white beans. Not only are they tasty and easy to make, but you likely already have the majority of these simple ingredients in your pantry.
Kid Friendly Cooking Ideas
Everyone loves muffins, especially kids. The trouble is that most muffins are loaded with simple carbs that don’t provide a lot of nutritional value. So, white bean muffins make for a much healthier option that’s still absolutely delicious.
Although some recipes call for great northern beans, white kidney beans can be substituted in just as easily.
Even chicken nugget lovers will often admit that veggie nuggets are delicious. Furthermore, veggie nuggets are frequently more nutritious than traditional nuggets.
Yet, simultaneously, they also have that savory, meaty, salty flavor that we love so much. So if you’re looking for a kid-approved, healthier version of nuggets, cannellini bean nuggets are the way to go.
Where to Buy Them
Most grocery stores will have white kidney beans in stock. You’re more likely to encounter them canned, but it’s also possible that they’ll have bags of dry, uncooked beans as well.
Again, be sure to look for them being marketed under the popular name “cannellini beans.”
Growing White Kidney Beans
Find a nice sunny strip in your garden. You’re going to want to plant these beans in rows to avoid overcrowding and for easy harvesting.
It may not be a bad idea to use a raised garden bed not only for easy access and quality drainage, but to ensure that there aren’t, roots, rocks, or other unwanted bits present.
Alternatively, you can use a hoe to prepare the desired area.
Beginning in early spring, plant the seeds at a depth between one and two inches and spaced at least three inches from one another. If you’re planting multiple rows, give each row about two feet of space.
It’s recommended that you mulch the space with a mulch that’s been aged for at minimum a year. Be sure not to have the mulch directly touch the bottom of the plant.
Water these plants well. Starting with once a week, increase to watering twice a week when it starts to get hot for most of the day.
After ninety days, your white kidney beans should be ready for harvest.
Pest and Disease Prevention
Beans tend to be resistant to most pests and diseases, but it’s smart to be prepared.
For preventative treatment, try neem oil. It’s a great, reliable organic fungicide and pesticide. You could alternatively use one of the ever-popular copper fungicides.
Where to Buy White Kidney Bean Seeds
If you’re looking to purchase cannellini bean seeds, try calling your local garden center or home improvement store. Otherwise, you can purchase them online. One great retailer that sells these seeds, (and pretty much any seed you may want), is True Leaf Market.
Enjoy Your White Kidney Beans
White kidney beans are delicious, hearty, and chock full of nutritional benefits. Furthermore, there’s a variety of amazing dishes in which they can really shine.
At Minneopa Orchards we love beans and have a lot to say about them. Check out our beans page for posts and articles on all things bean!