Cannellini beans are oval, thin-skinned white beans with a mild flavor, also known as white kidney beans. They are available dried and canned. Great Northern or white (navy) beans can be substituted. Dried beans require soaking to rehydrate them.
To sort and rinse dried cannellini beans:
Spread the beans in a single layer on a platter or tray. Pick out and discard any discolored and misshapen beans and impurities such as small stones and fibers. Transfer the beans to a colander or sieve. Rinse well under cold running water.To soak and rehydrate dried cannellini beans: Place the cleaned beans in a bowl of fresh cold water to cover and soak for 3-8 hours at room temperature; drain well. Or, place the beans in a saucepan with water to cover, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and soak for 1 1/2 hours; drain well.
For other bean varieties, see adzuki, black, borlotti, cranberry, fava, flageolet, Great Northern, green, Italian green, kidney, lima, pinto, red, white (navy), and yellow wax beans and chickpeas, green lentils, and lentils.