By Carl Hanson

Keep your pantry stocked with canned cannellini beans, and you'll always have quick, delicious meals within reach. A simple can of white beans can do so much heavy lifting at dinner time. They offer firm texture and tasty creaminess plus protein and healthy fiber. Add them to soups, sneak them into pasta dishes, combine them with canned tomatoes and leftover roast for super-simple stews -- cannellini beans are always a great way to extend meat dishes.

These top-rated recipes are just a savory sampling of some of our favorite recipes featuring canned cannellini beans:

1. Pasta Fazool (Pasta e Fagioli)

Here's a hearty soup that's quick and easy to put together. "This classic Italian-American comfort food works with any kind of sausage," says Chef John. "But I like the fennel and anise flavors of sweet Italian sausage with the beans."

Photo by Chef John

2. Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and White Beans

This is an incredibly simple recipe that features just five convenient ingredients: cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes and cannellini beans, fresh spinach, penne pasta, and crumbled feta cheese. It's ready in about 25 minutes.

3. Chef John's Quick Cassoulet

"We've taken some short cuts to make a quick version of the French classic, cassoulet," says Chef John. "Chicken thighs replace the time-consuming duck confit; canned beans replace dried; and bacon serves as a convenient substitute for other, more involved smoked pork options."

4. Vegetarian Kale Soup

"This wonderful soup is full of dark green kale, potatoes, and cannellini beans," says Donna B. It will warm your insides, delight your taste buds, and fill your stomach on a cold winter's night."

Photo by The Gruntled Gourmand

5. Chicken and Tomato Stew with Arugula and Cannellini

"A hearty tomato and white wine-based stew for cold winter nights," says amanda1432. "For lovers of the peppery arugula plant!"

Photo by Tara C.

6. Chef John's Pork and Beans and Greens

Beautiful, crusty caramelized roast pork puts an Italian twist on "beans and greens." You'll make a simple spice rub for the pork shoulder, and serve the pork with cannellini beans sautéed briefly with sliced garlic and fresh arugula.

Photo by Chef John

7. Tuscan Chard and Cannellini Bean Soup

"This is a hearty, wonderful soup that takes a very short time to make," says Callinectes Sapidus. "If you have a rind from a piece of Parmiggiano Reggiano, add it to the broth as you cook; if you don't, you may want to add grated Parmesan cheese to the soup. This soup thickens as it stands."

8. White Bean Chicken Breast Chili

The trick to this chili is to sizzle the chicken breasts in a skillet with just a small amount of vegetable oil -- and then to deglaze all the flavorful browned chicken bits off the bottom of the pan. Garlic, ancho and chipotle chili powders, cayenne, cumin, and oregano come together to create a very flavorful white chili.

9. Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

"In this one-skillet supper, we toss dark leafy greens, diced tomatoes, and white beans with gnocchi and top it all with mozzarella," says Breana Lai.

Photo by Allrecipes

Check out our collection of Cannellini Bean Recipes.

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