I am sooo happy with how this recipe turned out. I had an image in my mind of what I wanted it to look like (and taste like!), and it turned out even better than I hoped. Perhaps I just don’t have very high expectations for myself – or perhaps this rich and tomatoey white bean gratin recipe is just that good. I think it’s the latter, but I’ll let you decide. Make it and let me know what you think!
The crispy brown topping may not look like much, so perhaps a description of the ingredients in this white bean gratin will convince you. We’ve got cannellini beans, in a suuuper rich tomatoey sauce (with sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavour!), black olives, pesto, fragrant fresh basil, and a crispy, cheesy topping.
Now read that again, and imagine the smell. Flippin’ amazing. If it hadn’t been raining outside, I might almost have believed I was in the Mediterranean.
I wanted to keep this recipe really simple, so it doesn’t need any pre-cooking – just mix together a few ingredients, add the breadcrumbs, and bake. Hopefully my fellow lazy folk will appreciate that!
Usually, to get a really rich tomato sauce, you’d need to simmer it for ages and ages… but ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, to avoid needing to pre-cook anything, just make sure you use a really good quality tin of tomatoes – I used my favourite Cirio tomatoes. If you use cheapy tinned tomatoes, this recipe will be rubbish. I’m warning you now! You really need the rich flavour from great tomatoes, and in my opinion Cirio is definitely the way to go. I promise, you will notice the difference as soon as you open the tin!
This tomatoey white bean gratin could be served as a main dish or a side, depending on what else you’re serving. Personally I think it’s pretty amazing alongside just a green salad and a chunk of crusty bread (for mopping up that rich tomato sauce!), but it would make a great protein-rich side dish too. Whatever floats your boat.
By the way, sorry for the extra couple of photos in this post. I usually try to stick to 4 photos max, but I was so happy with this white bean gratin, I got a little carried away, and didn’t know which to cull. Forgive me!
Rich and tomatoey white bean gratin
- 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, per tin when drained)
- 400 g tinned tomatoes (~ 1 1/3 cups)
- 75 g sliced black olives (~ 2/3 cup)
- 100 g roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes (~ 2/3 cup)
- 1 tbsp basil pesto (I used homemade)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Black pepper
- 30 g coarse breadcrumbs (~ 3/4 cup)
- 30 g grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese (~ 1/8 cup) - omit for a vegan dish
- Spray oil
- Fresh basil, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Add the drained cannellini beans to a large mixing bowl, and add the tinned tomatoes, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and olive oil. Mix well, and season to taste.
- Trasnfer the bean mixture to a baking dish, and top with the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan. Spray lightly with oil, and bake for around 1 hour, or until the breadcrumbs are crispy and golden brown, and the bean mixture is piping hot.
- Serve topped with fresh basil.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for a quarter of the recipe.