Sides

Fagioli all’uccelletto – Beans in Tomato Sauce

January 5, 2021 by Emily

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Fagioli all’uccelletto (beans in tomato sauce) is a delicious Italian side dish made with cannellini beans, tomato, garlic, and sage. This quick and easy recipe takes just over 10 minutes to make and goes with almost anything!

A bowl of cannellini bean in tomato sauce with sage sitting on a wooden surface

Fagioli all’uccelletto is a typical Italian side dish from Florence made from beans, garlic and sage in simple yet delicious tomato sauce.

Uccelletto means little bird in Italian yet this recipe is entirely vegetarian/vegan. It’s not known where the name originated from although it’s thought that the flavours of sage and tomato, usually paired with game meat is the reasoning behind it.

This recipe is the perfect side dish, it’s quick and easy taking just over 10 minutes to make, made with store-cupboard ingredients and goes with almost anything!

Ingredients – what you need

These beans are made with super simple ingredients all you need is; canned cannellini beans (or make your own from dried beans), passata (crushed strained tomatoes), fresh garlic cloves, and sage leaves. You’ll also need olive oil, salt, and pepper.

See the photo below that shows you all the ingredients you need!

An overhead shot of all the ingredients you need to make fagioli all'uccelletto

Recipe instructions – step by step

Add the garlic and sage leaves to a skillet and fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic is just starting to turn a light golden brown (photo 1).

Next, add the tomatoes followed by the water and a good pinch of salt and pepper (photos 2 & 3).

Step by step photos showing how to make fagioli all'uccelletto (beans in tomato sauce)

Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes then add the cannellini beans (photo 4). Simmer the beans for a further 5-6 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and beans are warmed through, serve.

Serving suggestions

I love to serve these beans with pork or beef steaks and a simple side salad but they will go with almost anything you like.

I also often serve them on toasted slices of ciabatta for a quick lunch (why not add a poached or fried egg on top?) or double the recipe and add in Italian sausages for a hearty bean stew.

Top tips and recipe FAQs

  • Want to make them spicy? add in some red pepper flakes or fresh red chilli to taste.
  • Add herbs – You can easily add in different fresh or dried herbs to change the flavour.
  • Don’t overcook – Try not to cook canned beans for more than 5-6 minutes or they soften too much.
  • Dried or canned beans – Traditionally these beans are made from scratch using dried beans but for convenience I use canned.
How do I reheat leftovers?

The sauce will thicken when cold but they can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and reheated in a pan until warmed through. If needed add a splash of water to loosen.

Can these beans be frozen?

Yes, freeze in suitable containers or bags then thaw completely before reheating. Make sure the beans are piping hot throughout before serving.

A close up of a bowl of beans in tomato sauce with sage leaves

More Italian side dishes you might like

If you’ve tried our Fagioli all’uccelletto recipe or any other recipe on the blog please let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

This recipe was first published on the 8th of March 2017 but has since been updated.

Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!
A bowl of tomato beans in a bowl with sage leaves
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5 from 1 vote

Fagioli all’uccelletto – Beans in Tomato Sauce

Fagioli all'uccelletto (beans in tomato sauce) is a delicious Italian side dish made with cannellini beans, tomato, garlic, and sage. This quick and easy recipe takes just over 10 minutes to make and goes with almost anything!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 158kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 14 oz canned cannellini beans (400g) drained
  • 1/2 cup crushed strained tomatoes (passata) (120g)
  • 1/2 cup water (120ml)
  • 5-6 sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season

Instructions

  • Add the olive oil to a frying pan or skillet on medium heat and add the chopped garlic and sage leaves. Fry for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is just starting to turn a light golden brown.
  • Add the tomatoes followed by the water and a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, add the beans and bring back to a simmer. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and the beans are warmed through, serve.

Notes

  • Want to make them spicy? add in some red pepper flakes or fresh red chilli to taste.
  • Add herbs – You can easily add in different fresh or dried herbs to change the flavour.
  • Don’t overcook – Try not to cook canned beans for more than 5-6 minutes or they soften too much.
  • Dried or canned beans – Traditionally these beans are made from scratch using dried beans but for convenience I use canned.
  • Storage – Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days or can be frozen.
  • Servings – this recipe can easily be doubled for a larger serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 159IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 4mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan (convection) oven
  • Find out more about how nutrition is calculated here
  • Check out our must have Italian Pantry Staples here
  • You can also find all our Essential Kitchen Tools for Italian Cooking here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We’d love you see what you’re getting up to in the kitchen!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Nathan
    June 9, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I tried this and it was brilliant!5 stars

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