Cannellini Beans With Fennel, Red Onion, and Saffron

Foodista Cookbook Winner

Category: Side Dishes | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup chopped fennel, fronds reserved
3 cups cooked cannellini beans, with the liquid that clings to them
Bean cooking liquid or vegetable broth, as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Minced flat-leaf parsley or chopped fennel fronds for garnish, optional


Combine saffron and boiling water in small heat-proof bowl or measuring cup; set aside for 5 minutes.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet; add fennel and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add beans and saffron mixture to skillet and stir to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If mixture seems dry, add bean cooking liquid or vegetable broth to achieve desired consistency. Sprinkle with parsley or fennel fronds and serve immediately.




I hate canned beans. Don't get me wrong: I'm all for speed and convenience, but some things just can't be rushed. Compared to their poor canned relations, home-cooked beans have much more flavor, better texture, and a lower glycemic index. Forget the faded, mushy commercial glop! The beans you cook yourself are individual little creatures, with distinct characters, shapes, and colors. While the starchy, viscous medium that surrounds canned beans is best rinsed off, the delicate cooking liquid in your own bean pot is eminently useable--as a soup base or a moistening agent for a bean stew. As far as convenience goes, I cook them at mine-- when life permits.

Ay, there's the rub. I know you think you don't have time to cook your own beans. Nonsense! Beans demand time but no labor, so they're prime candidates for multi-tasking. I make them on Sunday afternoons while I do laundry, return e-mails, and pay bills. All you need is a block of time when you're going to be around.


6.0 to 8 servings


Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 6:42pm


Related Cooking Videos