Borlotti Beans

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You are going to love these Italian Borlotti beans cooked down until thick and creamy with leeks, garlic and olive oil. A simple but so delicious hearty bean stew brimming with a nutty savory flavor balanced perfectly by a little tomato sweetness.

borlotti beans

Borlotti Beans

These medium large size beans are also known as cranberry beans due to their creamy tan color and beautiful magenta pink and red markings. They are simply gorgeous inside and out of their pods. Once cooked they will turn a brownish hue all over but stay buttery soft with a rich creaminess. Gluten free, protein loaded and good for you.

Lovely served over a creamy polenta, these olive oil mashed potatoes or rice pilaf accompanied by a fresh heirloom tomato cucumber salad. The stew is particularly nice with a drizzle of chive pesto, a few marinated or pickled red onions on top and a piece of homemade crusty bread.

borlotti beans

Substitutes for Borlotti Beans

If you can’t find these beans at your local market you can always order them Here from amazon. Alternatively you can substitute with cannellini or Northern beans, even pinto beans will work but i personally find those more starchy rather than creamy. All things considered any of those beans will yield a very tasty bean stew or a great pot of chilli.

The depth of flavor in this recipe comes from a base of almost caramelized leeks (or a large onion) salty capers + a generous amount of sweet double concentrated tomato paste. There’s just enough fennel seeds in here to hit the tastebuds but without overpowering the final flavor profile. For herbs i chose fresh rosemary and bay leaves, I simply love this flavor profile!

Do borlotti beans need to be soaked?

Like any dried beans I always recommend rinsing and soaking them for 6 hours or overnight. You could certainly skip the soaking and cook them longer in which case make sure to add extra water as needed.

borlotti beans

Variations + Storage

  • More Veggies – You could beef up your stew with a mix of root vegetables, a fennel bulb, bell peppers, carrot and celery. Take it in a smoky direction with just a little sweet smoked paprika, but not too much. Instead of the chive pesto drizzle opt for sun dried tomato pesto, crispy fried sage or basil walnut pesto.
  • Pasta e Fagioli  – Lastly you could add about a cup of your favorite pasta here for a great rendition of the classic pasta e fazool. Make sure to wilt in some dark leafy greens at the very end like escarole, spinach, Lacinato kale or thinly shredded Savoy cabbage.
  • Canned Beans – The flavor base of this stew is so rich that you can reach for a canned beans and make this last minute. Make sure to cut the water amount in half and adjust seasonings as you go.
  • Storage – Soups and stew make the best leftovers. They can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months in freezer proof containers. Remember to let them thaw out in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove top or the microwave oven. I’ll argue they are always best served with a thick slice of garlic bruschetta.

Italian beans

More Vegetarian Soups + Stews

borlotti beans stew

borlotti beans stew
5 from 2 votes

Borlotti Beans

You are going to love these Italian Borlotti beans cooked down until thick and creamy with leeks, garlic and olive oil. A simple but so delicious hearty bean stew brimming with a nutty savory flavor balanced perfectly by a little tomato sweetness.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour 15 minutes
Soaking:6 hours
Total Time:7 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Rinse and soak the borlotti beans in cold water for 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse again.
    2.5 cups borlotti beans
    dried borlotti beans
  • Preheat a heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and saute the onion or leek until softened and begins to get some color around the edges.
    1 large yellow onion
  • Stir in the fennel seeds and toast around until fragrant then add the garlic and capers. Cook another minute or so until you can smell the garlic.
    5 garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp fennel seeds, 2-3 Tbsp brined capers
  • Add the tomato paste (+ chili paste if using) and toss to coat well with the onion mixture.
    7-8 Tbsp tomato paste, 1 Tbsp chili paste
  • Add the soaked beans to the pot together with the rosemary, bay leaves, lemon peel and onion powder. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and keep at a a constant boil for 45 minutes stirring now and then.
    2.5 cups borlotti beans, 2-3 strips lemon peel, 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 bay leaves, 3 tsp onion powder, 7-8 cups water
  • Check the beans at the 45 minute mark and season with a pinch of good sea salt. Continue cooking an addition 15 to 30 minutes or until the beans are buttery soft to your liking. (Keep a close eye on them towards the end and make sure they don’t reduce too much and do not stick to the bottom of the pot).
    S + P to taste
  • Remove from heat, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Serve with a drizzle of onion chive pesto, pickled red onions and some fresh crusty bread.
    1/2 bunch Italian parsley

Optional

  • Chive Pesto - Blend 1 bunch onion chives + 1/4 cup pepitas or pine nuts + 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar + 1/4 cup ev olive oil. Season with a pinch of sea salt and add more oil or water until desired consistency is achieved. Drizzle over the beans.

Notes

 

  • More Veggies - You could beef up your stew with a mix of root vegetables, a fennel bulb, bell peppers, carrot and celery. Take it in a smoky direction with just a little sweet smoked paprika, but not too much. Instead of the chive pesto drizzle opt for sun dried tomato pesto, crispy fried sage or basil walnut pesto.
  • Pasta e Fagioli  - Lastly you could add a handful of your favorite pasta here for a great rendition of the classic pasta e fazool. Make sure to wilt in some dark leafy greens at the very end like escarole, spinach, Lacinato kale or thinly shredded Savoy cabbage.
  • Canned Beans - The flavor base of this stew is so rich that you can rich for a canned beans and make this last minute. Make sure to cut the water amount in half and adjust seasonings as you go.
  • Storage - Soups and stew make the best leftovers. They can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months in freezer proof containers. Remember to let them thaw out in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove top or the microwave oven. I'll argue they are always best served with a thick slice of garlic bruschetta.
  • Chive Pesto - Blend 1 bunch onion chives + 1/4 cup pepitas or pine nuts + 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar + 1/4 cup ev olive oil. Season with a pinch of sea salt and add more oil or water until desired consistency is achieved. 

Nutrition

Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 573mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 569IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Bean Stew, Borlotti beans
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 144kcal
Author: CiaoFlorentina.com

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7 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe! I would love to see an instapot version of this recipe posted.
    It was an excellent balance of flavors, and I really appreciate it how the author laid out the steps within the recipe; I wish more people would do this!
    Thank you for this recipe- I’m pretty picky and I’m definitely going to make this again!

  2. This is my very first posted comment on a recipe I have made. This soup is absolutely delicious!!! and has so much depth of flavor. The only deviation I made to the recipe, I used half water and half bone broth, other than that I made exactly as written. Love, Love the soup. Also, freezes extremely well. Thank you! I will be trying more of your recipes.

  3. I plan to try your borlotti bean recipe. Recipe calls for lemon peel. Is that the zest of lemon or really the peel? I have not seen that ingredient called for before in a recipe. Thank you!

    1. Hi Denise, the lemon peel is just a very thin strip of the actual peel minus the pith (white part) which can be bitter. So instead of zesting the lemon use a vegetable peeler and peel the lemon instead. It holds better to the cooking this way. Let me know how you like the beans 🙂

  4. Just made your rustic Italian bread recipe. It came out spectacular!!! I have been trying to make such a bread for several years with no success. My husband born and raised Italian in Chicago grew up with access to such a bread. Now living in South Carolina, we can’t get a good hard crust Italian.
    Well your recipe resolved that, and easy as well.
    Thank you for sharing it!!
    Karla Buongiorno.