Flageolet Beans with Fresh Fennel

Flageolet Beans with Fresh Fennel Recipe
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Jesse Silver
Beautiful little flageolet beans are a classic accompaniment for lamb, but you can use pretty much any dried white bean for this recipe.


Makes 8 cups (serving size: 3/4 cup)
Total time: 2 Hours

Recipe from


Recipe Time

Total: 2 Hours
Soak: 2 Hours

Nutritional Information

Calories 389
Caloriesfromfat 18 %
Protein 22 g
Fat 8.3 g
Satfat 1.2 g
Carbohydrate 60 g
Fiber 24 g
Sodium 335 mg
Cholesterol 0.0 mg


2 1/2 cups dried flageolet, cannellini, or other white bean
3 dried Mediterranean bay leaves*
About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups diced fennel bulb (save leafy fennel fronds for garnish)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
About 2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme


1. Put beans in a large heavy pot with enough water to cover by 1 1/2 in. Bring to a boil over high heat, covered; then turn off and let sit 2 hours. Or, soak beans overnight at room temperature without heating.

2. Add enough water to pot now and through step 4 to cover beans by 1 in. Add bay leaves and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1/3 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chile flakes, onion, fennel bulb, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion softens, 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Add 2 tsp. salt and onion mixture to beans and cook until beans are barely tender, 20 minutes to 1 1/4 hours, depending on the type and age of beans.

5. Drain beans, keeping them a little bit brothy. Stir in parsley, pepper, and thyme and season to taste with salt. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and fennel fronds.

*Mediterranean bay leaves, the traditional type used in cooking, have an oval shape and milder flavor than California bay leaves, which are long and pointed and have a pungent flavor.