This cheesy bean bake is the perfect vegetarian crowd-pleaser! With cheesy beans, rice and a rich tomato sauce.
I’m so excited about this cheesy bean bake! You guys love my very veggie lentil bake so ridiculously much (way more than I thought you would, actually) that I thought I’d make you a bean-based alternative – and it worked even better than I was hoping!
I think I might have enjoyed this bean bake even more than I enjoyed the lentil bake? Maybe? It’s a tough one to call. But it’s a good sign when I make such a big batch of something that we have to eat it for three nights on the trot, and we don’t mind one bit.
(You could probably freeze any leftovers if you prefer… I just wanted to eat it)
What’s in this cheesy bean bake?
There are four main ingredients in this cheesy bean bake:
- beans (three kinds!)
- arborio rice
The end result is nice and rich, with a hint of creaminess from the cheese, and a crispy topping.
The arborio rice (the kind you use in risotto) also adds to the creaminess, and gives a great carby base (good stodge!). Honestly, I could happily eat this every night with some garlic bread. Just my kind of comfort food!
Can I add extra veg?
I didn’t add many extra veg to my cheesy bean bake – just some onion and tomatoes in the sauce.
You could add more though, if you like – just pre-cook them and mix them right in before baking. Peppers, mushrooms, courgette (zucchini) – that kind of thing would work well.
How to serve cheesy bean bake
I made sure this recipe makes a nice big batch – it’ll feed 6 people (or 4 or 5 if you’re extra hungry…).
It’s the perfect crowd pleaser – great to feed the whole family, or a big group of friends. Who wouldn’t love a rich, tomatoey, cheesy bean bake?
We had ours simply with some garlic bread and salad. It’s hearty and filling on its own, so it doesn’t need much to augment it, just some little sides to add interest.
I know I’ll definitely be making this cheesy bean bake again very soon!
Cheesy bean bake
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 160 g (~ 2/3 cup) arborio rice
- 600 ml (~ 2 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
- 3 x 400g tins of beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, each when drained) – I used haricot beans, cannellini beans and black beans
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes (~ 2 2/3 cups in total)
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 200 g cheddar cheese, grated (~ 2 cups when grated)
- Black pepper
- Heat a dash of oil in a large wok, and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the arborio rice, and cook for another minute or two. Next, add the vegetable stock a little at a time, stirring regularly and allowing most of the excess liquid to be absorbed by the rice before adding more – it should take around 20 minutes in total. The rice should be almost cooked.
- When you’ve added all of the stock, add the drained beans, chopped tomatoes, and tomato puree. Mix well, and allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until not too much excess liquid remains. Add about 3/4 of the grated cheese, and plenty of black pepper, and mix again to melt the cheese.
- Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish, and top with the remaining grated cheese. Bake at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 30-40 minutes, until cooked to your liking. For a slightly firmer bean bake, allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/6 of the recipe.