Florri Worthington

Florri Worthington

Published: 03 Oct 2023

Source: Riverford.co.uk

Borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, are a type of legume that has long been a staple in Italian cuisine. These creamy, pink-speckled beans are not only delicious, but they also pack a nutritional punch. In this article, we will explore 19 fascinating facts about borlotti beans, from their origin and cultivation to their health benefits and culinary versatility. Whether you are a bean lover or simply curious about this versatile ingredient, you’re in for a treat as we delve into the world of borlotti beans. So, sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed by these little wonders of the culinary world!

Table of Contents

Borlotti beans are also known as cranberry beans.

Borlotti beans, scientifically known as Phaseolus vulgaris, are a type of legume prevalent in Italy. They are nicknamed cranberry beans due to their vibrant red speckles, resembling cranberries.

Borlotti beans have a creamy texture and nutty flavor.

These beans offer a delightful combination of smooth creaminess and a subtle nutty taste, making them a popular choice for various dishes.

They are native to Central America and were introduced to Europe in the 16th century.

Borlotti beans originated in the Mesoamerican region and were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers during the 16th century. They soon became a staple in Italian cuisine.

Borlotti beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber.

These beans pack a nutritious punch, with high levels of protein and dietary fiber. They are beneficial for maintaining a healthy digestive system and promoting satiety.

They contain essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Borlotti beans are rich in essential minerals that play a vital role in various bodily functions, including muscle function, blood production, and regulating blood pressure.

Borlotti beans are a versatile ingredient in many Italian dishes.

These beans are widely used in Italian cooking, featuring prominently in classic dishes such as pasta e fagioli, minestrone soup, and casseroles.

They are commonly used in traditional Tuscan cuisine.

In the Tuscan region of Italy, borlotti beans are a key ingredient in traditional recipes like ribollita and fagioli all’uccelletto.

Borlotti beans have a significant presence in Brazilian and Portuguese cuisines.

These beans have also found their way into Brazilian and Portuguese culinary traditions, where they are used in dishes like feijoada and bean stews.

Borlotti beans are often dried and then cooked.

While fresh borlotti beans are available during the harvest season, they are commonly dried and stored for later use. This drying process enhances their flavor and texture.

They can be found in both speckled and non-speckled varieties.

Borlotti beans come in two main types: speckled and non-speckled. Both varieties offer a similar taste and nutritional profile.

Borlotti beans are an environmentally friendly crop.

These beans are known for their nitrogen-fixing abilities, meaning they can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.

They can be a helpful addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Due to their high protein content, borlotti beans are a valuable source of plant-based protein for individuals following vegetarian or vegan lifestyles.

Borlotti beans are often used in soups and stews.

Their creamy texture and earthy flavor make borlotti beans an excellent choice for hearty soups, stews, and chili recipes.

Borlotti beans can be used in dips and spreads.

Mashed borlotti beans can be transformed into delicious dips and spreads, adding a protein-rich and flavorful element to appetizers and snacks.

They are sometimes referred to as “poor man’s meat.”

Borlotti beans earned the nickname “poor man’s meat” due to their high protein content, making them an affordable alternative to animal-based proteins.

Borlotti beans are popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

These beans have made their way into the culinary traditions of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, featuring in dishes like ful medames and bean salads.

They can be cooked and enjoyed as a standalone dish.

Cooked borlotti beans, seasoned with herbs, spices, and a drizzle of olive oil, can be savored on their own as a delicious and nutritious meal.

Borlotti beans have a long shelf life when dried.

Dried borlotti beans can be stored for an extended period, making them a convenient pantry staple that can be used whenever needed.

They are cultivated in various parts of the world, including the United States and Australia.

While borlotti beans have their origins in Central America, they are now cultivated in many countries worldwide, including the United States, Australia, and parts of Europe.

These are just 19 of the fascinating facts about borlotti beans. With their versatile nature and numerous health benefits, it’s no wonder they have become a beloved ingredient in cuisines around the world.


In conclusion, Borlotti beans are a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. They are not only delicious but also offer numerous health benefits. From their high fiber content to their rich source of antioxidants, Borlotti beans are a great addition to any diet. Whether you’re looking to boost your protein intake, improve digestion, or enhance your overall health, incorporating Borlotti beans into your meals is a wise choice.Don’t be afraid to get creative with your recipes and experiment with different cooking methods. Whether you choose to use them in soups, stews, salads, or even as a standalone side dish, Borlotti beans are sure to impress your taste buds and provide you with a nutritious and satisfying meal.So next time you’re planning your menu, consider adding Borlotti beans for their delightful flavor and incredible health benefits. Your body will thank you for it!


Q: How do I cook Borlotti beans?

A: Borlotti beans can be cooked by first soaking them in water overnight and then boiling them for about 45 minutes to an hour until they are tender. You can also use a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process.

Q: Are Borlotti beans good for weight loss?

A: Yes, Borlotti beans are an excellent choice for weight loss. They are low in calories and high in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods and aids in weight management.

Q: Can I freeze cooked Borlotti beans?

A: Absolutely! Cooked Borlotti beans can be frozen for future use. Just make sure to cool them completely before transferring them to airtight containers or freezer bags.

Q: Are Borlotti beans suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

A: Yes, Borlotti beans are a popular choice among vegetarians and vegans as they are a great source of plant-based protein and offer a variety of essential nutrients.

Q: Where can I buy Borlotti beans?

A: Borlotti beans can be found in most grocery stores, health food stores, or specialty food markets. You can also purchase them online from various retailers.