This delicious cheesy white bean tomato bake is a comforting and simple one-pot recipe that makes the perfect vegetarian dinner. It’s ready in less than 30 minutes and is one of my absolute go-to’s when I want something easy but super wholesome and delicious!
When it’s been a long day, these easy cheesy beans are a staple in my house – and as a toddler mum, let’s face it, that means they’re on rotation fairly frequently! These beans look rather posh and fancy but in reality, are made with a handful of staple ingredients and are so easy and quick to make.
They’re relatively similar to my creamy homemade beans, and another delicious bean recipe you might like is these simple one-pot creamy butter beans. Serve your cheesy beans with a stack of garlic bread and a large glass of red wine – absolutely divine!
For full quantities and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card below. Here’s what you’ll need to make this cheesy white bean tomato bake, plus some potential substitutions that could also work:
- Cannellini beans: My preferred bean for this recipe is tinned cannellini beans. Haricot or butter beans could also work. You could also use dried cannellini, but as you’ll need to soak and cook them beforehand, this will add considerable cooking time to the recipe.
- Tinned plum tomatoes: If you can’t find tinned plum tomatoes, regular tinned chopped tomatoes or even passata will also work for this recipe. I love using tinned plum tomatoes and then using the back of my spoon to crush them apart into a sauce while cooking.
- Minced garlic: A must for adding depth and flavor to this simple recipe! Use fresh garlic for best results.
- Spinach: Fresh chopped spinach adds some more nutrients to this simple recipe, and gives it a lovely color, too!
- Seasonings: I used salt, pepper, smoked paprika, dried basil, and dried oregano for this recipe.
- Fresh basil: to top!
- Mozzarella: Use fresh mozzarella in thin slices to top your cheesy white bean tomato bake – it’s the perfect texture for going melty and golden and gooey after baking! You could also add some cheddar cheese for a sharper taste.
- Cherry tomatoes, halved OR chopped sun-dried tomatoes: while not completely essential, the addition of cherry tomatoes really elevates the flavours in this recipe.
Ideally, this recipe is prepared in a cast iron skillet, so you can take your beany creation directly from the hob to the oven. If you don’t have a pan that’s suitable for the hob and the oven, you could simply transfer the beans to an oven-proof dish before adding the cheese on top.
How To Make This Cheesy White Bean Tomato Bake
This recipe is so unbelievably simple. Saute garlic, tomato paste, your seasonings, beans, tomatoes, vinegar, and a little water in your skillet before topping with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes and you’re done! I’ve included a more detailed breakdown of the instructions below.
Step 1) Make The Sauce
To start, make your sauce by sauteing the minced garlic in oil or butter until fragrant (1 minute or so), then adding the tinned plum tomatoes, seasonings, and sun-dried tomatoes/cherry tomatoes if using. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken, using your spoon to break apart the tomatoes.
Step 2) Add the beans
Tip the beans into the sauce and stir. You could opt to mash about 1/4 of the beans for a super creamy sauce. Then, add your chopped fresh spinach and stir it into the sauce too.
Step 3) Add the cheese
If you’re transitioning to an oven-proof dish, tip the beans into that dish now. Remove the bean mixture from the heat, and layer your mozzarella slices on top. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and is golden and slightly crispy.
Top the cheesy white bean tomato bake with fresh basil and serve with lots of crusty bread. Delicious!
Serve the beans immediately (being careful of the hot pan!) with crusty garlic bread and topped with fresh basil. A fresh green salad can also complement the heavier components of this meal.
Storing Leftover Cheesy White Bean Tomato Bake
If you have leftovers, store your cheesy white bean tomato bake in an airtight container for up to 3 – 5 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or oven the hob – the cheese will mix into the beans, but it’s still delicious!
You could freeze this recipe, although keep in mind that the texture of the mozzarella might change when defrosted and reheated. Defrost fully in the fridge before heating.
Which cheese are best to use for ultra-cheesy beans?
I use a mixture of grated cheddar and mozzarella in this recipe. I think mozzarella is a must for that oozy, melty goodness – but you could also add something like smoked gouda or cheddar for more flavor.
What should I do if my tomato sauce is too saucy?
Simply allow the sauce to simmer for longer (ideally before adding the spinach) to allow the tomato sauce to reduce and thicken.
Can I use a different type of bean?
Yes, butter beans or haricot beans would also work well for this recipe!
How can I make this white bean tomato recipe suitable for a vegan diet?
To make this recipe suitable for vegans, you have a few options:
- Simply omit the mozzarella and enjoy the delicious flavor of the tomato sauce and beans as it is.
- Use a plant-based mozzarella with a good melting capability as a substitute
- You could also consider swirling some cashew cream into the beans for that creamy texture without the cheese
Can I make this recipe spicy?
Yes, I think this recipe would work great with some added spice. You could add chipotle chili paste, or even just a sprinkle over red pepper flakes.
Can I add more ingredients to this recipe?
You could add orzo to this recipe for a more nutritionally-dense meal. Just add more stock and keep stirring to ensure the orzo cooks fully. You could also add more vegetables, such as peppers or zuchhini.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 chopped sun-dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
- 1 tin (400g) plum tomatoes
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper pepper
- 1 tin (400g) of cannellini beans, drained
- 50g fresh spinach, chopped
- 20g fresh basil, chopped
- 50g mozzarella
- Preheat your oven to 200C | 395F
- In a cast iron skillet, saute the minced garlic in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and just turning golden.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, tinned plum tomatoes, and seasonings, and stir.
- Simmer the tomato mixture for 5 minutes breaking down the plum tomatoes with your wooden spoon.
- Add the cannellini beans and stir to combine. Add the chopped spinach and basil.
- Top with the mozzarella and bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Serve with crusty bread!