In my childhood, the only way I know to cook Cannellini beans (locally called “white beans”) is with tomato sauce and a little pork fat, similar to the way canned pork and beans are made. Some months ago, my friend invited me to their home and her mother served us a white bean soup without tomato sauce, and I was bowled over. I loved that soup so much I could not stop thinking about it. I had problems with preparing and cooking white beans, because I don’t want to waste LPG boiling and simmering dried white beans, which takes more or less two hours. I was looking for canned beans, and luckily found canned cannellini beans at Rustan’s Fresh in Ayala Cebu.
Cannellini beans, just like other beans, are good substitutes for meat for health and/or budgetary reasons. Budget wise, beans are cheaper than meat. I bought the canned beans at P69 per can, and this whole recipe can feed up to five people, depending on how thin or thick or soup is. Dried beans are found in local markets and supermarkets. If you buy the dried white beans, you can get more from it and you can feed more people, or use it for more dishes — only it will take you more hours to prepare. Health wise, if you’re a vegetarian or cannot tolerate meat, cannellini beans are rich in fiber, minerals, and protein but low in fat (but, of course, only eat adequately). Taste waste, I grew up loving white beans (and many other beans, for that matter). My sister though, who’s a very big fan of meat, said a little bit of pork fat would have made the soup tastier.
canned cannellini beans
bunch of pechay leaves and stalks
thinly sliced potatoes, so it would cook just as soon as the beans are cooked
salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the beans and potato slices. Add water (or stock) and wait until beans and potatoes are cooked.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Just before serving, add the pechay leaves and stalks. (Pechay tastes a little bitter, so you might want to replace this with something else.) I also mashed the beans and potatoes before I added the pechay leaves to thicken the soup a little.