Cannellini beans are a variety of white beans popular in Central and Southern Italy. They are similar to white navy beans or haricots, as they are known in Britain. These large white beans are often mistaken for great northern beans, as the two are so alike in appearance.
Before cooking, cannellini beans must be thoroughly rinsed. When cooked, the cannellini bean is fluffy and creamy. They are typically known for their smooth texture and nutty flavor. In recipes that call for the beans, substitutions can be made with great northern or white navy beans.