Less is more here. How about these lukewarm braised Italian white beans in lots of olive oil? This fagioli all’olio is hands down my favorite white beans recipe ever!
Traveling makes me discover interesting recipes and cuisines worldwide.
And some recipes and dishes blow me away so much that I feel compelled to copy them at home.
My newest catch: this Tuscan white beans recipe.
White Beans Recipe
So here is yet another recipe idea that I took home with me after visiting the lovely Italian city of Florence.
These Tuscan white beans recipe in olive oil are so soft and smooth! You will mainly find this dish in Italy by the name of fagioli all’olio. Which literally means ‘beans in olive oil’. And that sums it up.
And olive oil.
That is pretty much it.
Which also make this the easiest white beans recipe ever to make.
And a delicious one as well.
Do you like beans?
The hubs loves beans, and so do I. So whenever I make us a dinner or dish with beans, I know that he is going to be over the moon.
Hang on, is this white beans recipe vegan?
Easy Tuscan White Beans Recipe (Fagioli all’Olio)
No seriously, this dish is so easy to prepare.
This dish is basically just a bunch of braised dried white beans in an aromatic vegetable broth with sage and garlic. And it packs a flavor punch. Once the cooking liquid is gone more or less, you just add a good splash of the best quality aromatic olive oil that you can find.
And that is it. That is all there is to this dish.
There you go, done.
Hey, you can also prepare this white beans recipe in crock pot!
Make sure that you use a very good quality olive oil for these beans here.
We are not cooking with it or heating it up. Just a cold splash of the oil to flavor the smooth beans is all we need. Nothing more. I like this white beans recipe best when they are still a little bit lukewarm the moment you put them on the dinner table.
And what should you serve alongside with it?
Lots of protein go well with white beans. But I do prefer these white beans as a side for Italian pan fried sausages in wine or salsiccias al vino! Do try it, you are in for a real Italian party in your mouth with those two together.
I prepared this white beans recipe with dried cannellini beans.
But can you also use another type of dried bean apart from white cannellini beans to make this dish?
Well I would say so. I once prepared the same dish with one of Spain’s best beans, black beans from the lovely city of Tolosa. And they are just as creamy. It was excellent as well. Tolosa beans are perfect for stews and they don’t fall apart once they are cooked through.
And can you use canned beans instead?
But it will not be the same of course.
If you want maximum flavor and the best texture here, then you should definitely start this white beans recipe off with dried beans. The flavor and texture difference is overwhelming.
Do you love this Tuscan white beans recipe? Or just any dish or meal with dried white beans recipe in it?
Then you should check my savory white bean, mustard and sage soup…
Looking for a white beans recipe southern style?
Check out Heidy Lynn McCallum’s recipe!
Easy Tuscan White Beans Recipe (Fagioli all’Olio)
Less is truly more. So how do you feel about these lukewarm braised Italian white beans in lots of olive oil then? This is my favorite white beans recipe ever!
- 9 oz dried white beans (250 g)
- 4 large garlic cloves
- a handful fresh sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ vegetable bouillon cube
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil (60 ml)
Pour the dried beans in a large cooking pot and fill it with cold water until fully submerged. They will swell while soaking, make sure there's 4 inches (10 cm) of water covering them.
Soak the beans for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. After that place the pot over high heat until boiling. Cover the pot, turn the heat low and cook the beans for 10 minutes. Then drain them.
Transfer the beans back to the pot. Also add the fresh sage, bay leaves, peeled garlic and half a cube of vegetable bouillon. Season with a little pepper and salt. Then add water again until the beans are just submerged. Don’t add too much.
Place the beans back over medium heat again until boiling. Stir, cover the pot and turn the heat lower. Simmer the beans in the aromatic vegetable broth for about 90 minutes. Stir them regularly while simmering. In the end they should be very smooth and the stock should have disappeared more or less. Drain the cooking liquid if there's still too much left.
Remove the sage and bay leaves. You can leave the garlic cloves in it because they are as smooth as the beans by now. Drizzle with the olive oil.
Check the season of the beans and add extra pepper or salt to taste if necessary. Pour the beans in a large bowl and serve hot or lukewarm.
Olive Oil Benefits
I hope you enjoyed my white beans recipe!
Olive oil benefits are proven worldwide.
Olive oil is known all over the world. It is the main cooking oil in many countries, mainly surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Olives have been harvested since millennia. Amphorae full of the precious oil were traded intensely.
This liquid gold was a sign of wealth.
Olive trees were one of the few plants that could survive and endure on the dry, rocky and salty coasts of the Mediterranean. Not only wine but mainly the olive oil benefits turned the Mediterranean region into a prosperous and wealthy region, creating powerful empires.
Not surprisingly this richness was also a reason to create wars and battles.
Types Of Olive Oil
There are about 80 different olive variations all over the world.
The taste of the oil depends on the soil on which the tree grows and the moment when the olives are harvested and pressed into oil.
Spain, Italy and Greece are the main producers and are responsible for more than 70% of the world production.
Greece not only exports a lot of its oil, the Greek hold the world record for the highest consumption: a stunning 25 litres per person per year.
They are therefore the best example for what olive oil benefits can do.
How To Cook With Olive Oil
You can use olive oil for cooking in basically everything.
Most recipes that use butter also work well with olive oil. However it is not always a wise substitute.
Butter has certain qualities that olive oil doesn’t have, for instance in desserts and doughs. Butter creates certain reactions in combination with other ingredients.
Olive oil is mainly used for cooking and in cold salad dressings (like my Tuscan white beans recipe), vinaigrettes and sauces. A drizzle of oil over a tomato carpaccio is perfect. For cold dishes (like my Tuscan white beans recipe) the olive oil quality and taste is very important.
Therefore an extra virgin oil is best.
Its flavor is absolutely great.
Ever done an olive oil tasting?
Olive Oil Tasting
It’s similar to a wine tasting. Dab pieces of bread in different oils. You will be surprised by the many different flavors of olive oil!
Tastes range from fresh and fruity to bitter.
Extra virgin oil can be heated but it destroys its quality. This oil is pressed once without filtering. It contains particles that burn quickly if heated. It is not appetizing and healthy.
A more refined olive oil can be used to heat and even fry food. It is made to stand temperatures up until 210°C. Use it to cook vegetables, chicken, meats, fish, cakes, cookies…
Some ingredients however like game and other winter specialties taste better if cooked with some butter but this is purely personal.
Olive Oil Bread Spread
A great idea to do is to refrigerate a small amount of olive oil.
The cold will make the oil solid. You can place it on the table as a healthy but surprising substitute for butter.
Don’t forget to take it out 30 minutes before using or it will be rock hard and impossible to spread on a piece of bread.
Fresh or frozen, the olive oil benefits stay just the same.
What Olive Oil To Buy For Cooking?
First of all.
If you are not a daily user of olive oil, buy small bottles at a time to prolong their shelf life. Buy yourself 2 types of oil: one for cold use (for my Tuscan white beans recipe) and one for cooking.
The hot use oil will be considerably cheaper than the cold use oil.
You don’t need a lot for a quick drizzle on a salad (like my Tuscan white beans recipe) while you use some tablespoons of oil to cook with.
Popular Brands vs. Supermarket Brands
The available olive oil brands are huge: Bertolli, Carapelli, Stefanini…
But as the taste for a cooking oil is not that important, it is no shame to stick to your own cheaper supermarket brand. I buy a 2,22 lb (1 l) bottle of moderate olive oil for a fair $3,00 (€2,29), which is more than 3 to 4 times cheaper than the popular brands.
Its quality is still decent, considering I empty a bottle every 2 weeks.
What Olive Oil To Buy For Cold Use?
Looking for an extra virgin olive oil for cold use, for in my Tuscan white beans recipe for example?
It is worth spending some more for great taste. I recently bought a Cretan extra virgin oil, $12 (€8,99) for a generous 1 lb (500 ml) bottle. It is pricy but worth the cost.
What a delight!
Its taste blows you away. Therefore it is a good idea to go to a specialised shop and taste different olive oils before buying one. Don’t forget to mention what you want to use it for. You will see, it will bring such pleasure to your palate every time you use it.
You might encounter other terms while scanning the labels.
Here are some examples.
- virgin: the oil has been pressed a second time but is still unrefined (for cold use)
- pure olive oil is filtering and refining (for hot use)
- extra light oil is processed multiple times, sometimes cut with other vegetable oils and has only a slight olive flavor (for hot use)
- made from refined olive oils: the taste and acidity of the oil are chemically controlled
- cold pressed or cold extraction: the oil was not heated during processing thus of good quality
- first cold pressed means that the olives were ground once without heating
- PDO and PGI is a first quality label for olive oils with “exceptional properties and quality derived from their place and the way of their production”
Just like vinegar fancy olive oil bottles might look great on your kitchen counter.
However oxygen and heat are its biggest enemies that reduce the olive oil quality. They start an oxidation process which ruins the flavor of the oil and makes it taste bitter as the acidity level gets higher.
So like many other kitchen products, it is best stored tightly sealed in a dark, cool and dry cupboard. It does not get better with age. The quicker you use it, the better.
If stored appropriately an opened bottle of olive oil can be kept for up to 18 months.
If unopened the oil will last for 3 years. It also depends on the quality of olive oil that you bought. Premium extra virgin olive oil will maintain its quality better because it has a low acidity level.
After the first year you should use it for cooking only, not for cold foods such as salad dressings. However if you are aware of a sudden stale and rancid taste you should immediately discard the oil.
Keep olive oil in its original (tinted) glass bottle.
Some supermarkets even sell oil in a metal container.
Make sure that it is made of stainless steel. Other metals are likely to inflict unhealthy reactions between the oil and its container.
Same thing happens if you keep it in plastic bottles: avoid them. If you notice a metallic or plastic taste, the oil is no longer suitable to cook with. Ceramic or porcelain jars are OK.
Make sure you can tightly seal the lid after using the oil.
There are so many olive oil benefits!
It is hard to find a downside to the use of olive oil. Fact is that it isn’t bad at all. Best prove for this is the Mediterranean diet in which it plays a magnificent role.
A moderate use of it daily (2 tablespoons) decreases several health risks such as heart diseases, strokes, bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and so on.
The fresh olive juice is well tolerated by the stomach and helps the digestion (it has mild laxative properties, acting as a stool softener). That is one of the best olive oil benefits.
Studies have shown that people living the Mediterranean lifestyle suffer extremely less of cancer, mainly colon cancer.
Olive oil allergies are rare but do exist.
Symptoms are stomach and chest pains or headaches after consuming the oil. Best treatment is simply avoiding it. The oil is not only used in cooking but also in cosmetics (skin care), medicines, soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps.
People found out numerous olive oil benefits through the years.
Back to our recipe above!
Lukewarm braised Italian white beans in lots of olive oil?
Try my favorite white beans recipe!