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From the AICR Test Kitchen
Week of August 29, 2011
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Herbed Italian White Beans

from the
American Institute for Cancer Research

This easy to prepare bean dish pairs well with everything from chicken to cold sandwiches. Cannellini beans – especially popular in Tuscany and southern Italy – are also called haricots, white kidney beans and fazolia beans. They resemble white navy beans and are often mistaken for great northern beans.

Popular internationally, cannellini have a smooth texture and somewhat nutty flavor. In the United States, vegetarians often use them as a fish or chicken substitute. They are also a favorite in French and Greek cuisines, used in minestrone, dips and a variety of bean salads.

In this recipe the tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil make for a quintessential Mediterranean dish. You may prefer to use a dried Italian spice mixture in lieu of only sage to produce an even more pronounced flavor.

The vinegar at the end serves to balance out the flavors. The result is a robust, warm and convenient side that can complement almost any dish no matter if that dish is hot or cold. You can refrigerate any leftovers and heat them up for additional meals.

Italian Bean Salad

Herbed Italian White Beans

  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, crushed, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. dried sage
  • 1 (14-oz.) can cannellini beans (Italian white beans), drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups chopped canned plum tomatoes may be substituted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    2 Tbsp. fresh basil, shredded
    2 tsp. red wine vinegar or to taste

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sage. Sauté about 2 minutes.

Add drained beans and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes.

Uncover pan and remove from heat. Immediately add basil and vinegar and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 140 calories, 6 g total fat (< 1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrate,
5 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 35 mg sodium.


Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at www.aicr.org.

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