White beans are a family of beans, including Cannellini, navy, Great Northern, and butter beans. Although each variety is wonderfully versatile, they do have unique qualities. Cannellini beans are large and firm, so they hold up well in low and slow recipes like stews. Navy beans are small and starchy when cooked, making them a popular choice for baked bean dishes. Check the recipes below!
Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Dip
This dip uses two kinds of white beans, Great Northern and cannellini beans, to provide a mild and buttery base for its more intense flavors. This recipe simply calls for stirring together all of the ingredients, but if you fancy yours smooth, whip your beans and goat cheese in the blender, first.
Beet and Cabbage Borscht with White Beans
This Love them or hate them, beets are essential to the Ukrainian kitchen, where borscht was born. If you’d prefer, you can substitute carrots for the beets called for in this recipe, which still imparts sweetness and a pop of color.
Turkey Green Chili
This turkey and green chili benefit from several unique ingredients, like hominy and beer, for a satisfying Mexican inspired meal. Along with white beans and turkey, this soup is fortified by an array of green chiles, which you can mix and match to please your particular palate—read our guide on Mexican green chiles to get started.
White Chicken Chili
This white chicken chili is dressed up with oregano, cumin, and jalapeno pepper. Transform this recipe into a vegetarian-friendly dish by using vegetable stock and a dab of miso paste for extra umami. As for the chicken, well, there’s always soy-based substitutes or tempeh, but we also like the idea of battered and fried mushrooms.
White Beans and Smoked Ham Shank
White beans and smoked ham shank is a classic recipe from the American South. Since ham is the primary flavor of this dish, the quality of your stew dish is linked to the quality of your ham. To this end, it’s worth hunting down heritage breed pork, if you can.
Tuscan Ribollita Soup
In Tuscany, meals are fresh, simply prepared, and heavy on legumes. This Tuscan ribollita soup is true comfort food, using day-old bread to thicken its broth. Since its name “ribollita” translates to “reboiled” in Italian, you can be sure this soup is equally delicious as leftovers.
White beans have a delicate flavor and are neither big nor small, so reach for them if you’re in doubt of what variety to use. Just choose one of the recipes above and prepare dried beans, quick soaking your beans, or simply dive into our favorite ways to use white beans. Happy cooking!