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Cranberry Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando and Vaness Barrington.



  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Corn Grits Polenta
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 1 Ground Pepper to taste

Tomato Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Onion medium-sized, chopped
  • 1 Fennel Bulb medium-sized, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves chopped
  • 4 tsp Oregano fresh, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Carrot small-sized, chopped
  • 1 can Whole Plum Tomatoes (28oz can)
  • 1 Salt and Pepper to taste


To make the beans: The night before let the beans soak in a large bowl with at least three inches of water covering the beans. The beans will absorb a lot of water. The next day, drain and rinse the beans. Place in a large pot, cover the beans with at least three inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer beans until tender, check after ½ hour and so on. The cooking time will depend on how old your beans are.
To make the sauce: In a small pan, over medium heat melt the butter. Add the onions, fennel, and garlic, 2 teaspoons of oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and smell good. Add the carrots and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon. Reduce to low and cook uncovered to a bare simmer, stirring occasionally, until fully reduced, 2-3 hours.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oregano, salt and pepper to taste.
To make the polenta: Bring the water into a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the salt, and whisking continuously, slowly pour the polenta into the water in a thin stream. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 – 45 minutes until polenta is soft. Stir in the butter and parmesan cheese.
To assemble: Add the cooked beans and tomato sauce and warm them together over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Spoon the polenta into a shallow bowl, making a well in the middle. Spoon the tomato sauce into the well and garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese.
Cranberry Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta


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Products Used in this Recipe

Grains Beans Seeds
Cranberry Beans

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Flours & Meals
Corn Grits Polenta

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