Pot of Tuscan cannellini beans on a white marble surface, seen from above.
Home » Italian Recipes » Tuscan Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic (Fagioli All’Uccelletto)

Tuscan Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic (Fagioli All’Uccelletto)

Last updated on June 28th, 2024

If you’ve been to Tuscany then you probably tried the classic side dish of Tuscan cannellini beans with tomatoes and garlic – fagioli all’uccelletto. And if you haven’t, put it on your list for your next visit!

Simple and hearty, this is a perfect side dish to accompany grilled meats or to bulk up a vegetarian meal. 

This ancient Tuscan recipe is really easy to make. You can either use canned beans or homemade cannellini beans and in no-time you have a brand new way to enjoy Tuscan cannellini beans.

I make this Tuscan cannellini beans recipe year-round. In the summer I serve it at room temperature with grilled meat (perfect for bringing to a potluck, picnic or when you have guests). In the winter, we eat it at lunchtime with cheese and a crusty slice of bread. I make a big pot of these beans and eat them all week long!

My Italian family showed me how to make this dish and I am thrilled to share this recipe for Tuscan cannellini beans with tomatoes and garlic!

Can’t Get Enough of Cannellini Beans? Check out Homerun Italian Cannellini Beans Recipes For Dinner.

Fagioli All’Uccelletto Pronunciation

Fagioli all’uccelletto is pronounced fah-goh-lee ahl-ooch-chehl-leht-toh in Italian.

Listen to the pronunciation of fagioli all’uccelletto:

What are Fagioli All’Uccelletto (Tuscan Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic)?  

Close up of Tuscan cannellini beans with tomatoes and garlic.

Fagioli all’uccelletto is a very old Tuscan side-dish rooted in la cucina povera, the idea of cooking hearty, delicious, and nutrient-rich dishes with local and seasonal ingredients at a low cost.

Cannellini beans are briefly cooked with tomatoes that have been seasoned with sage and garlic. They are served most commonly with grilled meats such as la bistecca fiorentina and grilled sausages. In Tuscan trattorie and osterie, locals will typically order bistecca alla fiorentina with sides of sauteed greens, these Tuscan cannellini beans, and roasted potatoes.

Nice To Know: When the beans are done, they will seem very soupy. They are supposed to be that way and as they sit they will firm up and set, which is why I prefer to make them ahead of time and then gently reheat before serving (they can also be served at room temperature). 

More Veg Please: Check out my list of Vegetarian Dishes to Try in Italy.

Fagioli All’Uccelletto Ingredients

Close up of hand holding bottle of tomato passata in Italy.

Serves 4 as a side
cook time 20 min
prep time 5 min

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes or crushed
  • 4-5 sage leaves
  • 1 lb (about 2.5 cups/500 grams) cooked cannellini beans, either homemade or canned.

Homemade Beans: Try your hand at making homemade cannellini beans. They cost a fraction of the price compared to canned beans!

Step-By-Step Instructions for Tuscan Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic

Cooked tomato puree for Tuscan cannellini beans with tomatoes and garlic.
  1. If using canned beans, drain and rinse them in a colander. Set aside.
  2. Peel the garlic but do not chop. On low heat, gently infuse the olive oil with the garlic, being very careful not to brown nor burn the garlic. This will just take a minute.
  3. If using whole canned tomatoes, crush them with your hands to break them up in a bowl. Add the tomatoes and use the back of a wooden spoon to help break them down as they cook.
  4. Add the sage and scant (just shy of) 1 cup of bean cooking liquid (if you have it from making homemade cannellini beans) or water if you are using canned beans. Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if need be. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time.
  5. Remove the garlic and add the cannellini beans. Cook for another 10 minutes and serve.
bowl of cannellini 
beans soaking in water from top view
Try making your own cannellini beans instead of using canned

Substitutions For Fagioli All’Uccelletto

Pyrex dish with bean cooking liquid sitting on a stone shelf.
Use the cooking liquid if you have it from making homemade beans but if not, water will do just fine.
  • Use extra virgin olive oil when possible. If you don’t have it, olive oil is just fine.
  • Add sausages into the simmering tomatoes before adding the beans to make this a one pot meal (you may need to add a little extra water or bean liquid if it gets dry). 
  • Just use water instead of cooking liquid from making homemade beans if you used canned beans.

What to Serve with Fagioli All’Uccelletto (Tuscan Cannellini Beans)

sliced bread on a wooden board from top view

Just as Tuscan white beans, these beans are most commonly served with grilled meats but I love a big plate of them with bread and a salad for a meal in themselves! Here are some of my favorite ways to use them:

  • with grilled meats such as steak, pork chops and sausages
  • with roasts such as chicken and pork
  • with lots of crusty bread and a green salad for lunch

Fagioli all’Uccelletto Notes and Tips

Close up of pot of fagioli all'uccelletto, Tuscan cannellini beans wtih tomatoes and garlic.
  • If you are making these beans with homemade cannellini beans, consider using half to make fagioli all’uccelletto so you end up with two different kinds.
  • These beans seem very liquidy, almost like a soup but they are supposed to be that way. 
  • If using canned beans, be sure to rinse them well before adding them to the tomatoes.
  • These beans are perfect at room temperature, making them ideal for picnics, potlucks and when you are entertaining. 
  • If you want a very creamy and smooth tomato sauce, simply blend the tomatoes with an immersion blender before adding to the sautee pan (here in Italy we also use passata (pureed tomatoes) to make this recipe).
Pot of Tuscan cannellini beans on a white marble surface, seen from above.

Fagioli all’Uccelletto – Tuscan Cannellini Beans with Tomatoes and Garlic

Simple and hearty, this is a perfect side dish to accompany grilled meats or to beef up a vegetarian meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 14-oz can whole peeled tomatoes or crushed
  • 4-5 leaves sage
  • 1 lb cooked cannellini beans homemade or cooked (about 2.5 cups, 500 g)

Instructions
 

  • If using canned beans, drain and rinse them in a colander. Set aside.
  • Peel the garlic but do not chop. On low heat, gently infuse the olive oil with the garlic, being very careful not to brown nor burn the garlic. This will just take a minute.
  • If using whole canned tomatoes, crush them with your hands to break them up in a bowl. Add the tomatoes and use the back of a wooden spoon to help break them down as they cook.
  • Add the sage and scant (just shy of) 1 cup of bean cooking liquid (if you have it from making homemade cannellini beans) or water if you are using canned beans. Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if need be. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time.
  • Remove the garlic and add the cannellini beans. Cook for another 10 minutes and serve.

Notes

Notes and Tips:
  • If you are making these beans with homemade cannellini beans, consider using half to make fagioli all’uccelletto so you end up with two different kinds.
  • These beans seem very liquidy, almost like a soup but they are supposed to be that way. 
  • If using canned beans, be sure to rinse them well before adding them to the tomatoes.
  • These beans are perfect at room temperature, making them ideal for picnics, potlucks and when you are entertaining. 
  • If you want a very creamy and smooth tomato sauce, simply blend the tomatoes with an immersion blender before adding to the sautee pan (here in Italy we also use passata (pureed tomatoes) to make this recipe).
Substitutions:
  • Use extra virgin olive oil when possible. If you don’t have it, olive oil is just fine.
  • Add sausages into the simmering tomatoes before adding the beans to make this a one pot meal (you may need to add a little extra water or bean liquid if it gets dry). 
Keyword authentic, quick
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Tuscan Cannellini Beans FAQ

Can I use olive oil instead of extra virgin olive oil to make cannellini beans?

Yes, you certainly can. Use what is accessible and affordable for you. 

Can I use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water?

You can use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water to make fagioli all’uccelletto. Just be careful about not adding too much salt as the broth is already seasoned well!

What kind of beans are used in fagioli all’uccelletto?

Canned or homemade cannellini beans are used to make fagioli all’uccelletto.

Where to eat fagioli all’uccelletto in Italy?

Head to Tuscany where you will find them at any trattoria or osteria.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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