Cannellini Beans from Scratch is Well Worth The Effort

stewed beans

Making beans from scratch might take you a little longer but there is absolutely no comparison to the taste, texture and flavor that results. If you’re like most people you have a pantry stocked with canned beans, I do myself, it often allows you to pull together a quick meal during the week, but when you want to slow it down and create an epic meal, dried beans is where it’s at!

The cannellini beans above were slow simmered, infused with aromatics then stewed together with a garlic, tomato and sage sauce. This is a meal in itself, it’s rustic with so much flavor and perfect texture, and the star of this dish are the beans that were made from scratch with some of the dreamy broth it produces as a bonus!

soaking beans

Make it easy on yourself, soak the beans overnight, all you have to do is give them a good rinse, fill a pot with cold water with enough to cover them, pop a lid on and go to bed.

There is a quick soak method out there where you boil the beans for a couple of minutes first, then remove them from the heat, cover and let them sit for an hour. then cook. I’ve tried that method, it didn’t go so well for me, but I much prefer the end result from soaking them overnight.

overnight beans

When you wake up you’ll see how much they puffed up, then you’ll want to drain them and give them a good rinse.

drained beanssimmered beans

Then the fun begins, place the rinsed beans into the pot with fresh water that covers them again. You’ll want to infuse those beans with aromatics, I used a half a bulb of garlic, a handful of fresh sage and my favorite ingredient, a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind.

Let’s talk about the cheese rind for a second, you need to have this ingredient for this recipe! You might have your own stash of rinds tucked away in your freezer from cheese you’ve used, if not you can ask your cheesemonger if they would sell you some. I can easily get them from my local Whole Foods, they sell 3 or 4 in a bundle and I’m always impressed how much of a chunk of the cheese they leave on each rind, and that’s what you want, a rind that has some of the cheese still attached.

cooked beans finished

Bring those beans to a boil then reduce the heat to a slow simmer with a lid on top. Mine took almost 2 hours for a pound of cannellini beans but the best way to test them is to taste after about an hour, if they’re still tough continue cooking. Make sure not to rush them or overcook them, you don’t want mushy beans, they should be slightly Al dente.

cannellini beans cooked

The end result should have a slight bite with a soft creamy center.

Now it’s time to remove the cheese rind, sage and just the peels of the garlic because all the cloves will have fallen inside and melted in and produced the most dreamy tasting broth!

cooked beans

This bean dish was such a hit, I can’t imagine it being made with canned beans, it just wouldn’t be the same. The aromatics along with the cheese rind infuses the beans with so much flavor!

toast and beans

Eat them as a side dish or my favorite way is to scatter them on top of toasted crusty bread, each bite is out of this world good!

jarred beans

The other benefit of making beans from scratch is that you’ll probably have some left over, I got around 6 cups of cooked beans from a little over a pound of dried beans. You can tuck them away in your freezer and use them later in a multitude of other dishes, or if you’re like me you’ll make this rustic stewed tomato and bean dish again and again!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Cannellini Beans from Scratch
The bean preparation was my own but the actual stewed bean and tomato dish was adapted from the blog "How To Feed A Loon" I tweaked some amounts and additions.
  • 1 lb. bag of dried cannellini beans
  • a small handful of sage
  • ½ whole garlic bulb
  • 1 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind with some cheese still attached
  • 4 heaping cups of the cooked dried beans
  • ⅓ cup of olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ⅓ cup of the bean broth
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 28 oz.of whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained of all liquid and crushed by hand
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil drizzle
  1. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. Drain the beans in the morning then refill the pot with cold water covering the beans.
  3. Infuse the water with your aromatics of sage, garlic and 1 cheese rind.
  4. Bring the beans to a boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer.
  5. Times vary but you’re looking for a creamy soft inside with a slight bite on the outside. ( mine took almost 2 hours, so keep checking).
  6. When beans are done remove the aromatics, they did their job and keep all that luscious broth as well it's liquid gold!
  8. In a large skillet add the olive oil, then add the garlic and chopped sage, cook til golden.
  9. Add the wine and let it evaporate.
  10. Scoop in the beans, along with the flavored broth.
  11. Squeeze in the drained tomatoes.
  12. Season with salt and pepper.
  13. Toss in 3 whole sage leaves and let it simmer until the sauce thickens up a bit and reduces, you don't want a soupy consistency.
  14. When finished drizzle with olive oil.
  15. Serve as a side or on toasty bread.
  16. If you have extra beans you can freeze them or use for another dish, or make this again!