Flageolet Beans with Fresh Fennel

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.

Yield: Makes 8 cups (serving size: 3/4 cup)
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

Total: 2 Hours
Soak: 2 Hours

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 389
  • Calories from fat: 18%
  • Protein: 22g
  • Fat: 8.3g
  • Saturated fat: 1.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 60g
  • Fiber: 24g
  • Sodium: 335mg
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg


  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  6. *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.
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