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What Type Of Beans For Pasta Fagioli?

Pasta fagioli is an Italian classic.

The term “Pasta e fagioli,” means “pasta and beans” in English.  

The dish was originally associated with the peasant diet as it was made using cheap ingredients. 

There may be variation in the recipe from chef to chef.

However, this dish primarily consists of pasta and beans which are cooked in a broth  

The dish also consists of some vegetables and is seasoned with fresh herbs such as rosemary and sage. Cheese can be added to serve as a garnish 

The choice of pasta for pasta fagioli is usually small sized pasta varieties like elbow macaroni or ditalini.

In this post, we learn about the varieties of beans that can be used in this dish. 

Best beans for pasta fagioli

Traditionally, this dish makes use of beans.

Two popular varieties of beans used for pasta fagioli are cannellini and borlotti beans.

Cannellini beans

These beans are large sized white beans.

Cannellini beans are also known as white kidney beans 

They are oval in shape, their flavor is nutty and have a creamy texture 

These beans are versatile. They are used in soups like pasta fagioli as well as salad.

Cannellini beans are rich in nutrients, especially fiber and protein, they also contain vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium. 

Borlotti beans

These beans are also known as cranberry beans. They are not white beans like cannellini beans but are speckled.

Borlotti beans are common in Italian cuisine. They can also be used to make dips, salads, casseroles. 

These beans are smaller in size than cannellini beans, but they are just as creamy, and they are perfect for pasta fagioli

Other beans that can be used as substitutes

There are also other varieties of beans that can be used as substitutes to make this dish.

White beans including navy beans and great northern beans are good substitutes for cannellini beans especially in pasta fagioli.

The canned pinto beans are just as tender and can be used as a substitute as well.

There are also recipes where chickpeas are used in place of beans to make pasta fagioli.


Borlotti beans and cannellini beans are among the most popular varieties of beans in Italy. 

Hence you can find them in a lot of traditional Italian recipes where beans are needed including pasta fagioli.

These beans are rich in fiber and protein rich beans  

Their textures are not so different, and these beans also have similar flavor. However, cannellini beans might take a bit longer to cook.

When cooked, the starch from the beans thickens the soup and adds some creaminess as well 

These beans can be used as dried beans, you can also decide to use canned beans 

The canned beans are faster to cook since they are already tender.