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Cranberry Beans

Cranberry beans are a type of beans that are highly nutritious and used in a variety of recipes.The fresh as well as dried variety (which is available all round the year) is used for in recipes.
Tastessence Staff
There are many types of beans that belong to the Fabaceae family, which literally means bean or pea family. Cranberry beans, which are originally from Colombia, are one such beans that are known by numerous names in different countries. In New Zealand, they are called shell beans whereas in Italy they are known as borlotti beans. These beans are also called French horticultural beans in the United States. The color of these beans is ivory and sometimes red with certain magenta-colored markings on their surface. The inside is creamy white in color and they have a mild chestnut like flavor.
Cranberry beans nutritional benefits are many since they are rich in fiber. It is considered as a heart food since it has the ability to lower cholesterol, control the levels of blood glucose in diabetics and reduce the risk of cancer. This legume (bean) is also rich in antioxidants, which fight against the free radicals in the body. The beans are also excellent sources of phytochemicals, molybdenum and folic acid.
Nutritional Information
These beans are highly nutritious similar to many other beans and are a rich source of fiber, calcium and proteins. They also have a low calorie count (only 90 calories per serving) and are free from cholesterol. Given below is the nutritional information of these healthy beans, which is calculated for 1 cup of serving (approximately 100 g).
Nutrient Nutritional Value
Carbohydrates 43.35 g
Dietary Fiber 16.40 g
Protein 16.5 g
Folate 604 mg
Calcium 88.5 mg
Potassium 675 mg
Vitamin A 4 mg
Thiamin 0.75 mg
Phosphorus 375 mg
Copper 0.80 mg
Zinc 3.65 mg
Iron 4.05 mg
Sodium 5.5 mg
Niacin 1.50 mg
Vitamin C 2.09 mg
Riboflavin 0.21 mg
Vitamin B6 0.31 mg
Pantothenic Acid 0.75 mg
Mouth-watering Cranberry Bean Recipes
Cranberry beans are an excellent choice in the innumerable legumes recipes. They can also be used for making bean salads, stews and various other soups. In case of unavailability, pinto beans make an excellent substitute for this bean variety, since they are more or less similar in size, taste and flavor. Here are some delicious cranberry beans recipes that are easy to make and enjoyed by the young and old alike.
Cranberry Bean Soup
Ingredients
  • Dried cranberry beans, 1½ pound
  • Spaghetti or tagliatelle, broken into small pieces, ½ pound
  • Pancetta, chopped, ¼ pound
  • Onion, diced, 1 large
  • Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, 2½ cups
  • Celery, diced, 1 stalk
  • Chopped parsley, 1 cup
  • Garlic cloves, minced, 5
  • Carrots, diced, 3
  • Ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
  • Salt to taste
Preparation

Soak the beans for 8 to 10 hours or overnight in cold water. Drain the water and transfer them to a large saucepan with the vegetables. Pour water and add salt and let it boil for about 20 minutes. Once the water begins to boil, lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 1 hour till the beans are cooked. In a skillet, saute the pancetta till it begins to leave the fat. Now add the minced garlic and saute till the garlic turns golden brown and releases its aroma. Stir in the chopped parsley and tomatoes and allow this mixture to cook for about 20 minutes. In another saucepan, cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water till it is firm. Drain the water and keep the spaghetti aside. Remove 3 cups of the cooked beans and place them in the food processor bowl. Process it till it forms a puree. Now mix the puree into the soup again. Transfer the cooked spaghetti and tomato mixture to the soup and warm it for about 10 minutes. Add the pepper and salt to taste and remove it from the heat. Pour the soup into soup bowls and garnish with minced garlic and drizzle olive oil on top.
Baked Cranberry Beans with Parmesan Cheese
Ingredients
  • Dried cranberry beans, 1½ pounds
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, 1 cup
  • Chicken broth, 4½ cups
  • Yellow onions, diced, 2 medium
  • Escarole, washed and coarsely chopped, 1 bunch
  • Chopped plum tomatoes, 1 can
  • Bay leaf, 2
  • Pancetta, diced, 4½ ounces
  • Garlic cloves, roasted, 8
  • Panko bread crumbs, ½ cup
  • Rosemary, 1 sprig
  • Fennel, diced, ¼ head
  • Extra virgin olive oil, ½ cup
  • Pepper, 1 teaspoon
  • Thyme, 1 sprig
  • Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste
Preparation

For this recipe, soak the beans for 8 to 10 hours in cold water or leave it overnight. Cook the pancetta in a stockpot till it turns crispy. Now add the diced onions, fennel and extra virgin olive oil and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme and stir for about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and allow the mixture to simmer on a low heat till the beans turn tender. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese and the escarole and stir till they combine properly. Transfer the contents to a greased baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Add the bread crumbs and drizzle olive oil on top. Bake this dish in a preheated oven at 350 ºF for about 90 minutes till the cheese melts and becomes bubbly.
Cranberry Bean Gratin
Ingredients
  • Dried cranberry beans, 1¼ cup
  • Carrot, peeled and finely chopped, 1
  • Celery, finely chopped, 1 stalk
  • Medium-sized onion, finely chopped, 1
  • Garlic cloves, thinly sliced, 6
  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped, ½ cup
  • Fresh sage leaves, chopped, 6
  • Olive oil, ¼ cup
  • Toasted breadcrumbs, ½ cup
  • Coarse salt, 1 teaspoon or to taste
Preparation

Soak the beans overnight, in a large bowl of water. Drain the water completely and keep the soaked beans aside. Boil 2 cups of water, with a pinch of salt, in a medium saucepan and transfer the beans to it. Allow the beans to simmer for about 30 minutes, till they are cooked. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook the chopped onion, carrot and celery, till they are tender. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and sage and sauté for a couple of minutes. Now add the beans, while reserving the liquid, to the skillet and combine. Add salt to taste and remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the bean and vegetable mixture to a baking dish. Pour the liquid and drizzle some olive oil on top. Add the breadcrumbs and place the dish in a preheated oven at 350 degrees and allow it to cook for 40 minutes. Keep checking the dish occasionally. Remove the dish from the oven and serve hot.
Cranberry beans are available all round the year in the form of fresh beans (in summer) and dried beans. Using these beans in various recipes not only enhances the flavor of the dish but also adds the extra nutritional value to it.