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Mediterranean Cannellini Bean and Tomato Bake

January 14, 2009

I’m having a hard time thinking of what to call this- I think the name bean bake makes it sound boring and like a side dish you’d bring to a picnic.  What it really is is a flavorful main dish or side that’s easy to make and very versatile.  You could serve this over pasta, or with a side of grilled meat, or add sausage to it to make it like a cassoulet, or serve it with a salad.  There’s a lot you can do with this.  The flavor is really enhanced by the oregano-parsley pesto on top and toasted bread crumbs.  To make it even faster, you can use store-bought pesto.

It’s based on a recipe from Food & Wine that involved cooking the beans and tomato sauce for a few hours each.  I didn’t see why you couldn’t dramatically reduce the cooking time with equally good results, and I think this shows you can.  This serves 4-6 as a main course or 6-8 as a side dish.


To make the beans:

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion or 2 shallots,  minced

1 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes

2 T fresh oregano, finely chopped

2 14 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed but reserving 1/2 c of the bean liquid

2 c finely chopped kale

1 c crumbled feta

To make the pesto:

2 T minced fresh parsley

2 T minced fresh oregano

3-4 T olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

To make the breadcrumbs:

2 T olive oil

1/3 c fresh or dried breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven and get out a a 9″ x9″ square casserole, or shallow oval casserole.

In a large skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and onions or shallots.  Cook, stirring, for 5-8 minutes or until softened, being careful not to burn them.  Add tomatoes (breaking them up with your spoon), 2 T oregano and 1/2 c of the bean liquid and rapidly simmer over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.  Season with salt to taste, but keep it a little under salted since the feta will be salty.  Mix kale and beans into thickened sauce and bring to a boil, then turn off heat.

Pour beans into casserole dish and sprinkle feta on top.  Bake 30-40 minutes or until the tomato sauce is bubbling and the feta is browned in spots.  Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: combine 2 T oregano, parsley, garlic clove and 3-4 T olive oil in a mini food processor and blend until smooth.  Season with salt to taste.  Set aside.

After the beans have come out of the oven, heat the remaining 2 T olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the oil and toast them, stirring constantly, until lightly browned.

To serve, place spoon bean mixture into a bowl, drizzle with pesto and sprinkly with breadcrumbs.

One Comment leave one →
  1. stephanie permalink
    June 5, 2012 11:37 am

    made this last night and added in some chicken/spinach/garlic sausage… very delicious, and very filling! boyfriend suggested it would also be delicious “after shoveling a driveway full of snow” 🙂

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