Borlotti Beans: What Are They & How to Cook them?!

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Everything You Could Possibly Want to Known about Borlotti Beans

borlotti beans in their casing

Beans are delicious! And it is nature’s blessing that there are hundreds of their species ready for consumption for a taste-rich yet healthy meal. You must have had beans as a major part of your diet in your younger years when your mom used to force-feed them to you. Little did we know that there was a lot more to them than we anticipated?

The primary topic of this article is Borlotti beans. We will tell you how they stand out from the rest of the bunch and what makes them so popular in food hubs of the world. Stay tuned to find out more.

What are Borlotti Beans?

raw borlotti beans

Borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, are a species of wild beans that come enriched with protein and taste. They typically have a similar shape to kidney beans but with brown freckles and beige-pink colour. Originating from Italy, Borlotti beans are a huge hit among people looking to opt for a healthier route of food intake.

They have many other names, too, such as shelling bean, roman bean, and French horticultural bean. They are incredibly famous in Italy and France, where people use Borlotti beans to prepare soup, nutrient-filled salads, and other protein-rich recipes.

You can buy fresh or dried Borlotti beans, depending on your preference, to add sophistication to your daily meals.

Why Use Borlotti Beans?

Borlotti beans have a hard shell and do not break apart while cooking. They stay firm and hold their bean shape even when exposed to the mighty temperature conditions of a pressure cooker.

Due to their versatile nature, they can be a great component or replacement in many recipes. If you’re someone with a physical job or a daily gym routine, your body needs the low-fat protein that these beans have tons in store. Or, if you want to add a healthy choice in your home meals for your children and spouse, Borlotti beans can pave the way for an enriching and healthy eating experience.

Incorporating Borlotti beans in your meal, appetizer, or salad can enhance the taste and add many nutritional benefits to your body.

8. Benefits of Borlotti Beans:

Are there any health benefits of Borlotti beans? Do they positively affect our bodies? Absolutely yes. We are listing eight benefits of including Borlotti beans in your daily diet. Here they are:

cooked bortolli beans

1. Reduces risk of Cancer

Borlotti beans contain a significant amount of minerals that help fight against cancer cells. With the presence of chemicals such as isoflavones and phytosterols, Borlotti beans can mitigate potential cancer risks.

2. Builds Muscle

Since these beans are rich in fat-free protein, they help build the structural component of muscle and tissues. Borlotti beans have all nine essential amino acids that we can get from foods. If you’re a gym freak or looking to gain weight, Borlotti beans can be a perfect choice for you.

3. Improved Digestion

The high content percentage of fibre makes these beans a blessing for your digestive system. Fibre is useful in bowel movement regulation and preventing constipation. Each cup of Borlotti beans has around 19 grams of digestive fibre.

4. Low Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a scale against which you can measure a food’s potential of raising blood sugar in your body. The higher a food item ranks, the more chances you’d feel sweet cravings after eating it. These cravings happen after a meal due to sugar and insulin level spikes in our bloodstream.

Food items that rank higher on the glycemic index, such as breakfast cereals or white rice, break down quickly and are ready for digestion soon after consumption. On the contrary, Borlotti beans do not digest easily. Instead, they dissolve their nutrients in your bloodstream slowly, so your sugar levels aren’t aggravated.

5. Helpful in Pregnancy

Borlotti beans are known to have a substantial amount of folate, a natural form of Vitamin B9, which is highly beneficial for pregnant women and unborn babies. Doctors recommend pregnant women to consume 400mcg of folate every day, which is not possible only through diet, but Borlotti beans can get you very close to your daily quota.

A deficiency of folic acid in a mother’s body can result in a miscarriage or birth of an underdeveloped fetus

6. Cell repair and formation

These beans have a high concentration of copper and iron. These two elements are the primary ingredients in the formulation of new cells in our body. Deficiency of either element leads to illnesses such as anaemia.

7. Nervous system boost

Folate also helps keep your nervous system in check by regulating the flow of essential amino acids. The folate deficiency has led to certain disorders or paved the way for many such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

8. Maintain Healthy Blood pressure

Salts such as sodium and potassium regulate our body’s blood pressure and help relax our muscles. Borlotti beans are rich in these two salts; hence they play a vital role in relaxing your blood vessels for optimum blood flow.

How to Cook Borlotti Beans?

If you’re wondering how to cook Borlotti beans, we might be able to help. Our Borlotti beans recipe is one of the many ways you can follow to make a delicious dinner for yourself or your family. Here it is:

  1. First, prepare your minced garlic and chop your preferred herbs (we used oregano).
  2. Rinse the beans in a container and drain out the water completely.
  3. Add butter to your cooking container along with olive oil.
  4. Then add minced garlic to it and cook for one minute on medium heat.
  5. Add the beans to the pot and wait five minutes.
  6. Add your preferred salts, herbs, and spices, and let it cook for two more minutes.
  7. Voila, it’s ready to be served alongside lemon cuts.

And of course, the above process is only one way of their consumption. You can have them in many other recipes, such as a side element for fish, a major part of a vegan diet, or eat them out of the bowl.

Dry beans are a bit tricky to cook, as you have to soak them in water overnight before planning to cook them. If they aren’t soaked, it is probable that the shell of the beans would stay hard or they’ll stay undercooked even after hours of subjecting them to heat.

If you want to explore, we encourage you to learn recipes, especially the famous ones, to try them out with your friends and family. It will not only make a delicious meal but a highly nutritious one too for everyone’s well-being.

borlotti beans

What do Borlotti Beans taste like?

Borlotti beans are tough when uncooked, and you wouldn’t expect them to become soft, creamy, and tender after subjecting them to heat. But they do. And the meaty texture makes them delicious to eat.

Many people would argue that they taste exactly like pinto beans, but we think these are better. One vibrant and textured bean, when cooked, turns into a light brown creamy add-on to your cuisine that looks as good as it tastes.

More importantly, these beans tend to keep their smooth texture at room temperature. This way, you can add this to hot and cold food recipes without worries.

Where can you buy Borlotti Beans?

You might have seen cans of Borlotti Beans in your local market, and if not, you can inquire from the salesperson to guide you to the right product.

If you feel lazy or generally don’t want to go to the grocery store, you can always order them online, such as through Amazon. You can select from the wide range of choices and pick one that suits your requirements and budget.

Make sure to decide whether you want dried beans or canned, fresh beans before making the final purchase. As they both require different cooking and storage methods, they can rank mismatching levels on the feasibility scale for different people.


How can you Store Borlotti Beans

So storage methods depend upon the type of Borlotti beans. If they’re dried out, you don’t need to worry about getting contaminated or going bad as they are shelf-stable and can last for months. Just make sure that you wash and rinse them thoroughly if you’re keeping them in a storage room or an unopened can in your kitchen.

But if you’re using fresh beans, they can go bad with continued air exposure. That is why you should consume canned Borlotti beans within two or three days of opening the packaging.

A good way of storing fresh beans is in your freezer. Make sure to boil the beans, drain them and store them in a clear zip-lock bag.

What are the Substitutes for Borlotti Beans

You can use it as a substitute for most beans such as Cannellini, Pinto Beans, and Tongues of fire. You can also use it as a replacement for kidney beans and navy beans, depending on the easily available kind.


So if you ever feel like you’re missing a certain type of beans, use Borlotti beans instead to experiment with your recipes for added adventure. Since Borlotti beans have thin outer layering and a meaty flavour, it is always good to replace them with beans with similar textures.

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Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best! 

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