Flageolet is a common shell bean grown in France and very popular in classic French cuisine. A pale shade of green, Flageolet beans is sometimes known as the “caviar of beans” because of their subtle flavor, and the high esteem food lovers hold them. Flageolets came from France and are most often associated with French food. These small, tender shell beans are a type of common bean that looks like a kidney.
They are picked from their pods just before they are fully ripe. So that they stay a light green color, they are dried in the shade. They are grown in California in the United States. Even though they are a common bean in terms of variety, they are not a common bean in terms of price or availability and are more expensive.
What are Flageolet Beans?
Flageolet beans are a type of legume that isn’t very well known. They are most often used in French cooking. They are small and grow on bushes in green pods about three inches long (about seven and a half centimeters). The bean pod is not something you can eat. The beans look like kidneys and are white to pale green when fresh.
People have called these beans “the caviar of beans” because they are so soft. They are smooth and creamy, and they keep their texture and taste well when they are cooked. They are hard to find, just like the best caviar, especially if you live in an area where the beans are not grown. The beans were first grown in France and some parts of California.
Even though flageolet beans and navy beans don’t taste the same, they are often used instead of flageolet beans when unavailable. Some recipes call for beans, which are often the main ingredient. They are also sometimes used to make meats like lamb, chicken, and fish taste better. Finding fresh flageolet beans to cook with is a real treat, but rehydrating dried ones can also make them taste great. These beans usually need less time to soak than other kinds before they can be cooked and eaten.
This bean is a favorite of many who like legumes, French food, or both. Even though they are hard to find outside of France, the beans can be bought and dried from several gourmet stores and mail-order companies. Rarely can you find them in grocery stores fresh, canned, or even dried. People who like flageolet beans usually have to order them because of this.
Dried flageolet beans can be more expensive than other dried beans, which are often very cheap. A 12-ounce (340-gram) bag of these beans can cost more than $10 in the United States (USD). On the other hand, the same amount of dried navy beans can cost less than USD 1. But for true gourmets and bean lovers, the price is worth it to be able to make their favorite recipes that call for flageolet beans.
How to Cook with Flageolet Beans?
Flageolets are often made in France by cooking beans with bacon, rosemary, broth, and a bay leaf. If you find fresh shell beans, you can put them right into simmering water or stock, and they will cook in less than an hour. They don’t need to be soaked first. They taste especially good when cooked in a stock with bacon and mirepoix.
Flageolets that have been dried out need to be soaked for a while, but people don’t agree on how long. Some cooks say it should sit for at least six hours or overnight. If the beans are fresh, which means they were dried within the last year, it may be enough to let them soak for an hour or two and then simmer them until they are soft. The problem is that if the beans soak for too long, they can start to ferment, which changes their delicate taste.
Flageolets are often served with lamb (or mutton) or dishes like cassoulet, but they can also be served with chicken and seafood. Like other beans, they can be used in salads, soups, stews, and dips made by blending them.
You can cook and eat flageolets on their own, with good seasoning and butter or olive oil. They also work well in recipes that call for cannellini or Great Northern beans, like borlotti bean soup with tomato and spinach.
- Herbed White Bean Soup
- Easy Vegetarian Three Bean and Grape Salad
- Classic French Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet
What is the Difference Between Flageolet, White, Navy, and Great Northern beans?
All of these beans are easy to mix up. All of them are white, mild, and creamy, but they are different in size, texture, and, to some extent, shape. Sometimes, all of them are just called “kidney beans.” Most Italian food is made with cannellini, the largest white beans. When cooked, both keep their shape well. Great Northern beans are bigger than navy beans but smaller than cannellini beans. They taste and feel firm and have a slightly nutty flavor. Navy beans are small and oval-shaped. They are sometimes called pea beans. They cook the quickest and are often used in chowders and baked bean dishes. Several of these beans can be used in place of each other.
Are Flageolet Beans Good for you?
Flageolet beans have a lot of fiber, which is important for moving your bowels regularly. Like all dry legumes, flageolet beans are small but pack a lot of energy because they are full of complex carbs. Half of your daily fiber needs can be met by eating a plate of flageolet beans, about 7 ounces.
- Flageolet beans are healthy and good for you. One hundred grams of flageolet beans have 346 calories and 19.1 grams of protein, which is 34% of the daily value.
- Flageolet beans are low in fat and cholesterol and are a good source of fiber and protein. Dietary fiber acts as a bulk laxative that binds to chemicals in the colon that can cause cancer. This helps rid these cancer-causing chemicals quickly from the gut and protects the colon mucosa from cancers.
- Raw green and semi-dried flageolet doesn’t need to be soaked or cooked first, and it’s easy to digest because it hasn’t made many of the anti-nutrients that make other dry kidney beans hard to digest yet.
- The fact that flageolets’ skin is thinner than other Phaseolus vulgaris cultivars’ skin is also easier to digest.
- Flageolet beans do not contain gluten. For the same reason, they were preferred as alternatives to gluten-based foods for people with gluten allergies or celiac disease.
- Beans are one of the best places to get B-complex vitamins like folates, pyridoxine, thiamin (vitamin B-1), pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Most of these vitamins work with enzymes to help the body break down carbs, proteins, and fats.
- Dietary fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood by stopping the re-absorption of bile acids in the colon that binds to cholesterol.
- Folate, along with vitamin B-12, is an important part of making DNA and dividing cells. Flageolet beans contain 121 g of folates, which is 30% of the daily value. Getting enough folate in your diet before you get pregnant and while pregnant may help prevent neural-tube defects in your baby.
- Also, they are great sources of several important minerals. 100 g of flageolets are made up of 90% selenium, 75% copper, 91% iron, 69% manganese, 63% phosphorus, and 23% zinc.
- There are 1185 mg or 25% potassium in 100 g of beans. It is an electrolyte that is needed by cells and body fluids and helps to counteract the effects of sodium on the heart and blood pressure.
Where to Buy Flageolet Beans?
Most flageolets sold in the United States are dried, and you may see them sold by the pound or pound and a half. Some farmers, like those in California, grow heirloom varieties of flageolets, so you may be able to find them at farmers’ markets. Fresh ones can be bought in France in August and September. Even though flageolets aren’t as common as black, cannellini, or pinto beans, you can find them online if you can’t find them in the grocery store’s specialty dried bean section.
How to Store Flageolet Beans?
Dried beans can last long if kept in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cupboard. But after six months, they start to dry out a little. Old beans take longer to cook and break apart more easily when cooked.
Once flageolets are cooked, what you don’t use in your recipe can be frozen for up to six months, just like other cooked beans. For meal prep, freeze the rest in smaller amounts (like 2 cups) in zip-close plastic bags or containers that can go in the freezer. Defrost them overnight in the fridge to keep their shape better, or add them frozen near the end of cooking something like white chicken chili or soup.
These beans have a mild, delicate flavor and firm but creamy texture. Flageolets taste like cannellini or navy beans because they are mild and delicate. People love these soft beans because their texture is so creamy for a bean that keeps its shape when cooked. Like all dry legumes, flageolet beans are small but pack a lot of energy because they are full of complex carbs. Flageolet beans have a lot of fiber, which is important for moving your bowels regularly. Half of your daily fiber needs can be met by eating a plate of flageolet beans, about 7 ounces.