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  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Can cranberry (borlotti, Roman) beans
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • Fresh lemon juice and zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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March 8, 2016 | Issue 599

Simple Cranberry Beans

Simple Cranberry Beans

By Michael Kastre and
Dori Mitchell, MS, RDN

Celebrate the International Year of Pulses with a splashy pulse that is becoming very popular - cranberry beans. Also known as borlotti, romano or Roman beans, these cream colored beauties with crimson swirls, streaks and speckles become a pretty pink-brown color when cooked. Convenient canned cranberry beans are quickly simmered with aromatic onion, garlic, thyme, parsley and broth and finished with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of lemon zest for a beneficial boost of fiber, plant protein and all the phytonutrients pulses have to offer.

Makes 3 servings.
Per serving: 158 calories, 5 g total fat (<1g saturated fat), 22 g
carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 9 g dietary fiber, 449 mg sodium.


  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion or 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 can (14-15.5 oz.) cranberry (borlotti, Roman) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth*
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/8-1/4 medium fresh lemon), and its zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In 2-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until softened, about 30 seconds. Add beans, 1 tablespoon parsley, thyme and red pepper, if using, and sauté 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes. Remove lid and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in lemon juice and some zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish beans with remaining parsley and remaining zest. Serve warm as side dish with fish or chicken with vegetables and whole grains or as a main dish over brown rice with mixed greens salad.

* If planning to serve beans over brown rice as main dish, use ½ cup broth for extra sauce.

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