This easy-to-make Brothy Beans Recipe is in regular rotation at our home. Large White Beans (Cannellini Beans) are cooked in the oven until they are tender, flavorful, and brothy. Suggested variations to this original recipe and information about other types of white beans are also discussed.
The truth is this; we enjoy this Brothy Beans Recipe so frequently that in the past 12 months, I have purchased 25 lbs of the Large White Beans (Cannellini) that I use to make it. And that’s just for the two of us!
The simplicity of the recipe makes it easy to make and healthy and satisfying in so many ways. It is beans, liquid, garlic, and heat, with a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever herb you want to use. But, you can always ‘jazz up’ your brothy beans with various aromatics, vegetables, meat, cheese, and other additions, as detailed in the blog post.
An economical and gluten-free source of protein, White Beans also contain high levels of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. White beans are a non-perishable food when stored properly. I buy my Cannellini Beans in 10-pound bags online since I have difficulty finding them locally. A 10-pound bag of organic beans costs about $40. When I figure that one pot of Brothy Beans uses 1 pound of beans and will provide 2-3 meals for us, that equates to less than $2 or less per meal. Hard to beat!
Do You Need to Soak Your Dried Beans?
Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?! I started out not only soaking my beans, but I soak them in salted water to soften the skins, enabling them to cook more evenly and making them less likely to burst. That being said, I've made this recipe without soaking the beans and have not noticed any difference! Just add 30 minutes to an hour of extra cooking time if you go the no-soak method.
These beans freeze well! I divide mine into portions and freeze them in these.
- 1 pound dried white beans, I like Cannellini. For best luck, make sure your beans are not too old, preferably no more than 2-3 years old.
- Fresh water, broth or stock
- 6-8 large cloves of garlic, peeled
- A sprig of rosemary, thyme or sage or a few bay leaves
- Parmesan cheese rind (optional, but recommended)
- Good quality olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh herbs to top before seasoning, like parsley and/or basil.
- See below for a list of optional additions/variations and toppings.
- Sort and rinse beans.
- If you want to soak them, place the beans in a glass or non-reactive metal bowl and add 2 tablespoons of salt and 4 quarts of room temperature water. Stir well to dissolve the salt and let soak for 10-24 hours at room temperature. Feel free to cover the bowl if you like.
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Drain beans and place in a heavy dutch oven or other heavy, lidded oven-friendly pot. Don't use cast-iron as your broth will be gray.
- Add fresh water. I typically add water so that there are 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water above the beans, but it is up to you just how 'brothy' you want them.
- Add the peeled garlic, parmesan rind, a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper, herbs, and a glug of olive oil. Also, this is when you would add other additions.
- Place the pot on the stove and bring it to almost a boil, uncovered. You will see small bubbles starting to form, but don't bring to a boil.
- Once you start seeing some small bubbles, put the lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven.
- Bake for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, checking your beans at the 1 hour 15 minutes mark. Grab a spoon and pull 5-6 beans from the pot. If they are all tender, then you are done. If not, continue to cook and check in 15-20 minute increments.
- Once finished, check your broth and beans again and adjust seasonings.
- Mash the garlic cloves against the side of the pot and mix it well.
- Drizzle with fresh herbs and more olive oil.
- The beans serve as a great base for other toppings. See blog post for other suggestions.
- Toasted bread is delightful when served alongside your brothy beans.
- These Brothy Beans freeze well! I freeze them in individual servings, like these.