Loretta Sebastiani

Loretta Sebastiani
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Beans and onions
( Fagioli e cipolle )

Traditional recipe

Beans and onions is an authentic Mediterranean recipe, prepared throughout Italy although with many variations. I will show you my own way to do it with dried beans. But you can also use fresh or canned beans, depending on the time you have to cook and the season. It's a vegan recipe for people who like eating in a "good and healthy way". Easy recipe for the whole year.

difficulty: easy

time: 1 hour

calories: 162 (kCal)

Ingredients / Serves 2

  • 60g (2.1 ounces) cranberry or large Lima dried beans
  • 80g (2.8 ounces) fresh young red onion
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red vinegar
  • Table salt
easy recipe
preparation: 10 minutes
plus soaking and cooling time
cooking: 50 minutes
total: 1 hour
How many calories in a serving?
Calories: 162 (kcal) 9 % - 679 (kJ)
Protein: 8.7 (g) 18 % GDA
Total fat: 5.9 (g) 9 % GDA
Total carbohydrate: 18.8 (g) 7 % GDA
Sugars: 2.5 (g) 3 % GDA

Download free PDF version (66 download).

Recipe for beans and onions

Preparation and cooking

  • - The day before.
    Soak overnight dried beans in cold water.
  • - The day after.
    Transfer soaked beans in a pan and cover it with cold water. Water must be plentiful.
    Bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, you'll see some foam forming. Just remove it with a slotted spoon.
    Reduce heat and let water simmer until beans are tender. You'll need 45 to 60 minutes, depending on a lot of things.
    Be careful beans are always covered by water. Add boiling water, if necessary.
    Once cooked, drain beans very well and let them cool.
  • - The last step.
    Slice your onion very finely.
    If you use onion, it should be better to soak it, at least two hours, before adding it toother ingredients.
    Mix all ingredients included a pinch of salt. Stir very well but with delicacy.

Just before serving

  • - Let your beans and onions rest before serving, at least an hour.



  • - What are the right doses if you use fresh or canned beans?
    Fresh beans. The right dose is 100g (3 1/2 ounces) per serving and so you have to buy 200g (7 ounces) of fresh beans in their pods per every portion. Shell them and cook in cold water. Cooking time depends on many things, first of all their size and age.
    Canned beans. Choose a good-quality product. Before season the beans, rinse and drain them, still in their can, repeatedly. This is a very quick recipe but its flavor is very different compared to previous recipes.
  • - You can also serve a warm version of beans and onions. Fry slightly onions in olive oil (you could add a dried bay leaf too) and then add beans. Cook only few minutes. Season to taste with salt once turned off the stove.

Menu planning

  • - I do never serve beans and onions as side dish in my family menu. It is already a good source of proteins. I use to prepare it in my vegetarian days in the week and combine it to other vegetable dishes, cold or warm according to the season. The suggested doses are perfect for such a menu. On the contrary, this recipe can serve more people (more than 4) in the situations described below.
  • - Unlike what I have just written, if you have guests for a dinner party you can choose this recipe for a lot of combinations.
    Beans and onions can be perfect to prepare an assorted antipasto platter. Combine it with bruschettas, grilled vegetables, vegetables in oil ... and, obviously, salami or sliced smoked fishes.
    Do not miss this recipe planning a buffet-style menu. A lot of people like it!

Healthy eating

  • - Beans are typical of Mediterranean diet. Nutritionists recommend beans or other legumes 3 or 4 times a week but you have not to combine them with meat or fish.
    From the nutritional point of view they are excellent because low in fat and carbohydrates but rich in nutrients (antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals). Once, they were defined the meat of poor people. In fact they provide a good amount of protein.
    They give the best of themselves when combined with whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
  • - Fiber per serving: 6.1 grams


What's the right wine for " Beans and onions "?

My husband and I pair a red wine from Emilia-Romagna to beans and onions, that is Lambrusco.