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Cannellini beans vs. Great Northern beans vs. Navy beans

by Cookthink


Cannellini, Great Northern and Navy are three popular types of white beans. What's the difference between them? Cannellini beans are large and have that traditional kidney shape. With a slightly nutty taste and mild earthiness, they have a relatively thin skin and tender, creamy flesh. They hold their shape well and are one of the best white beans for salads and ragouts. Great Northern beans are smaller than cannellinis and and suitable for any number of uses: salads, soups, stews, ragouts, purees. Their texture is slightly grainy, with a nutty, dense flavor. Popular in North America, Great Northerns look like white baby lima beans. Navy beans are small and oval and cook relatively quickly (which, as Aliza Green notes in The Bean Bible, has made them popular with commercial baked bean manufacturers). Known as Boston beans, the white coco, pea beans or alubias chicas, Navy beans are perfect for dishes that don't need the full bean shape to shine: purees, soups, stews and baked beans. It's great to know the differences between the three and it's worth paying more attention to them when you're using dried beans. Truthfully though, when we use canned white beans, we use these three almost interchangeably. Recipe: Italian Cabbage And White Bean Soup Recipe: Squid, White Bean And Arugula Salad Recipe: Tuscan White Bean Stew (VeganYumYum)


Says: October 26, 2007 at 09:01 AM
I rarely use navy beans because they don't hold their shape and get mushy. Even in soups and purées, they seem to make whatever they're in watery. I use great northerns in soups/purées and cannelinis in salads, though sometimes I also use cannelinis in soups. When I want a richer texture.