Recipes > Side > Italian White Beans

Italian White Beans

Beans are one of our favorite foods in a plant-forward diet because they are packed with high quality nutrients. This recipe features white beans, garlic, and sage.

This is a variation of our stovetop beans base recipe. Have you ever been afraid to purchase dried beans because you don’t know how to cook them? “How much water do I use? How long do I cook them? Which seasonings should I use?” In this Italian white beans recipe, we teach you how to make flavorful, creamy beans that are great for any meal or side.

Learn How to Make the Base Recipe

Three Must-Know Cooking Skills

For recipe success, learn how to:

Culinary Tips for the Best White Beans

How many cups of white beans are in a pound? There are approximately 2 cups of dry beans in a pound, but it’s okay to not be exact! As long as you have enough water to cover the beans by ~1 inch, you don’t have to be precise with the amount of beans you use.

Rinse and sort the beans in a colander before cooking in order to remove damaged beans and debris. 

If you don’t have time or patience to soak your beans, try making them in an Instant Pot! Instant pot dried beans don’t have to be pre-soaked because the high pressure helps break through the bean’s plant structure. Check out our Instant Pot dried beans base recipe for step-by-step instructions.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • White Beans: use small white, great northern, or cannellini beans. Cooking times may slightly vary depending on bean size and age.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute regular olive, canola, or avocado oil.
  • Garlic: substitute 1 ½ teaspoons pre-minced garlic, 1 ½ teaspoons garlic flakes, ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Sage: substitute 1 teaspoon dried sage. You can also substitute 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (~1 teaspoon) for another Italian variation.
  • Bay Leaf: omit if not available.
  • Kosher Salt: We use Morton kosher salt. If using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, use 1 ½ teaspoons. If you use table salt, use slightly less than 1 teaspoon. 
  • Water: substitute some or all of the water with chicken or vegetable broth or stock. 
  • Lemon Juice: substitute white wine vinegar.
  • Parsley and Basil: use one, both, or substitute chives.

Recipe Variations

You can also turn this into a white beans slow cooker recipe. Combine all ingredients except the lemon juice and parsley; cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours, or until beans are tender. Add lemon juice, herbs, and salt to taste after cooking.

Want some stovetop bean recipe inspiration?

Use our stovetop dried beans base recipe as a guide, then have fun exploring different ingredients and flavors to your taste!

Adapt any of these Instant pot dried beans recipes to a stovetop variation by following the same instructions as below.

Equipment Recommendations for Cooking Dried Beans

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:

Find all of our favorite kitchen tools here!

Health Benefits of Garlicky White Beans

Is this vegan white beans recipe healthy? Definitely! Beans are one of our favorite foods in a plant-forward diet because they are packed with high quality nutrients. This recipe features white beans, garlic, and sage.

White Beans

Beans are packed with plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight. All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans daily.

Garlic

Using spices and aromatics decreases the need for salt, which may help reduce hypertension risk and therefore promote heart health. Additionally, garlic contains powerful antioxidants which may help reduce inflammation in the body.

Sage

Sage is full of phytonutrients that have antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. It may aid with digestion and help prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn more about health benefits of different foods and ingredients or in our book, To Your Taste!

Serving Suggestions

There are many ways that you can serve Italian white beans with lemon and sage. Serve with a side of cooked whole grains and roasted vegetables for a complete meal. Or serve alongside roasted chicken or fish and a green salad to make a beautiful Whole Life Plate. Or make a homemade white bean hummus to serve with crackers and fresh veggies for a balanced snack

Remove the bay leaves before serving. These are no fun to bite into!

Storage Tips for Leftover Italian White Beans

Once cooked, allow the beans to cool completely before placing in an airtight container and storing in the refrigerator. Keep the cooking liquid to keep the beans tender. White beans hold their quality in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Cooked beans freeze well too. To freeze, cool completely, then place in a freezer-safe container. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Want more healthy recipes with beans?

Try out these favorites!

Bean Burgers Base Recipe

Vegetarian Meatballs Base Recipe

Non-Refried Beans Base Recipe

Italian White Beans

This is a variation of our stovetop beans base recipe. Have you ever been afraid to purchase dried beans because you don’t know how to cook them? In this Italian white beans recipe, we teach you how to make flavorful, creamy beans that are great for any meal or side.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Soaking Time 10 hours
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main Course, Side
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound dried white beans (~2 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (~1 ½ teaspoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6-8 cups water or low-sodium broth or stock (~2 inches above top of beans)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt to taste (after cooking)
  • 1 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Place beans in a colander and rinse under cold water. Pick out any rocks or beans that are broken or shriveled. Transfer beans to a large bowl and cover with water, 2” above the top of the beans. Soak for 8-12 hours.
  • The next day or after soaking, drain and rinse beans.
  • Heat a Dutch oven or 4-quart pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add oil. Once oil is simmering, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  • Add the beans, sage leaves, bay leaf, and salt. Add enough water or broth to cover beans by ~2 inches. Bring beans to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover.
  • Simmer for 45-90 minutes, or until beans are tender. While the beans cook, add more water as needed to ensure the beans remain submerged. Once cooked, add lemon juice and additional salt to taste. Sprinkle with optional fresh parsley and basil. Enjoy!

Notes

For softer beans, cover completely during simmering. For firmer beans, leave uncovered. Note that the latter leads to more water evaporation, so you will likely have to add more water during cooking.
Keyword Italian White Beans

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