Tuscan Tomato Beans (fagioli all’uccelletto) is a simple, vegan Italian side dish made with ‘from scratch’ cannellini beans (Italian white beans), cooked in a tomato sauce with onion, garlic, fresh sage and crushed tomatoes.

A black bowl full of beans in tomato sauce

All’uccelletto translates to ‘little bird’, uccelli meaning bird. Not sure of the connection to the beans, but who am I to argue with the Italians? Disclosure: There were no birds harmed in the making of this dish 🤣.

One of my favorite things about real Italian cooking is that he Italians use very few simple (yet very good) ingredients to create the most delicious dishes and this particular dish is no exception. 

Tuscan tomato beans viewed from overhead

Tuscans are most famous for their olive oil and use of fresh herbs, however, they are also famous for their bruschetta, of which I have another bean flavor variation in my Warm Tuscan Bean Crostini with Crispy Kale.

All’uccelletto varieties

Interestingly, there are many variations from different regions throughout Italy whereby they add crumbled sausage to this bean dish and sometimes different herbs like basil, thyme and mint.

This recipe is a little like the Italian version of British Baked Beans, only cooked stove top, not baked.

A closeup of Tuscan beans in a sage tomato sauce

Dried beans are best 

The Tuscans are proud of their food and you won’t catch them using canned/tinned beans in their dishes. Dried beans only, if you please!

Dried beans soaking and cooking

Dried beans are best soaked overnight. The longer they soak, the faster they cook. Cooking will vary depending on how long you soak them and it also depends on the beans. I have found that on some occasions they cook faster than other.

Cooking dried beans

It’s always best to flavor the beans while they boil. I like to add onion and garlic, but no salt at this stage as this can lengthen the cooking time.

Tuscan Tomato Beans all’uccelletto serving suggestion

They are elegantly perfect on their own with crusty bread. Or, I recently served them with Italian Sausage and Cabbage (recipe coming soon) and they all go so well together. These beans would also be a delicious side with my Slow CookerTuscan Short Ribs.

Yield: 4

Tuscan Tomato Beans all'uccelletto

Cannellini beans cooked in crushed tomatoes with toasted bread

Cannellini beans are cooked in crushed tomatoes flavored with garlic and fresh sage.

Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 50 minutes


  • 2 cups cannellini beans
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • pinch baking soda/bicarbonate


  1. Drain the soaked beans and add to a large saucepan along with the ½ onion and 2 garlic cloves. Cover with water and boil for 30-40 minutes, uncovered until tender (it may take longer depending on the beans). Drain and discard the garlic and onion.
  2. Finely chop, grate or press the remaining 2 garlic cloves.
  3. To a pan, add the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sage, cook for 1 minute, don’t burn. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper and baking soda. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the beans and taste for seasoning. Cook for a further 5 minutes and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. If the sauce gets too thick, add a small amount of water. Taste for salt, add more if needed. Serve warm.


* This is to remove the acidity from the tomatoes, you can also substitute a little sugar.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 203Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 680mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 8gSugar 6gProtein 11g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.