Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cannellini Beans with Tomato and Mushrooms

Dried (or canned) beans are a great staple to have in your pantry to whip up a hearty meal or side dish that's packed with nutrition -- beans, including cannellini beans, are low in calories, high in fiber and a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals.  Cannellini beans are white kidney beans and a staple in the northern Italian diet. The Tuscan-inspired flavors in this Cannellini Beans with Tomato and Mushrooms saute recipe go great over pasta or as a side dish with a piece of steak.

For this recipe, I bought some dried cannellini beans at Dean and DeLuca. After soaking overnight,  I cooked up a batch in a vegetable and garlic stock which gave a nice rich garlicy flavor to these luxurious and creamy beans. I made extras to have on hand for lunch salads and snacks.  When combined with whole grain pasta or rice, the cannellini beans, mushrooms and tomatoes become a hearty and virtually fat-free source of protein for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Cannellini Beans with Tomato and Mushrooms

For the beans:
1 cup dried cannellini beans, soak overnight or canned canellini beans that have been rinsed
6 cloves of garlic minced
3 cups of vegetable stock, or good quality vegetable bouillon 

For the vegetables:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound of cherry or grape tomatoes
1 pound of mixed mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon of dried red pepper 
1 cup of cooked canellini beans
salt to taste

For the beans:
Soak 1 cup of dried cannellini (or white kidney) beans in at least a quart of cold water for at least 8 hours, rinsing the water several times to remove the enzymes that cause tummy upset and gas. Boil in 3 cups of vegetable stock and minced garlic until tender. Add water, if needed, to keep the beans covered. When cooked, drain and set aside. Yields approximately 3 cups of cooked beans. This will be more beans than you need. Toss the remaining beans into salad, puree as a side dish, add to vegetable soup or sauteed spinach, escarole or Swiss Chard.

For the vegetables:
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and red pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add 1 cup of cooked cannellini beans and cook until heated through. Serve as a side dish or over whole grain pasta or rice.

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