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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Italian Casserole with Cannellini Beans

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This vegetarian Italian casserole with Cannellini beans is incredibly appetizing and full of aromatic, Italian flavors! Made with fresh carrots, herbs, onions, and white beans mixed with cheesy coarse breadcrumbs and fresh herbs for a gratin that tastes fully authentic! You’re going to love this easy side dish or main meal that is ready in less than an hour!

italian casserole in a white baking dish

Inspired by one of my favorite dishes at one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, I just had to come up with this Italian casserole. The dish, as I remember it, was filled with enchanting flavors that were creamy and crispy all thanks to baked white beans and gooey cheese paired with golden breadcrumbs.

Latest Recipe Video!

I decided to recreate this easy dinner at home to bring the restaurant version to my own kitchen!

This simple recipe is quick, satisfying, and a great dish to make on busy nights when you’re in need of dinner inspiration. The whole family will love this Italian white bean casserole!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Healthy: It’s full of nutrient-dense beans that are known to have great benefits! Beans also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Easy to Make: In a handful of effortless steps, you can make this stress-free Italian casserole that tastes so yummy even though you didn’t put THAT much into it.
  • High in Protein: Beans are a great source of protein for those who follow plant-based diets.
  • Kid-friendly: Even the kids will love this recipe! With subtle, but delicious flavors, this bean gratin is definitely going to become a keeper.

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

You really don’t need much to make this flavorful recipe! You probably already have these items in your kitchen since they are basic staple ingredients.

Vegetables: For this Italian casserole, you will need onion, garlic, carrots, and fennel. Frozen diced onions or sliced carrots will work if you don’t have fresh veggies.

Herbs: Both fresh parsley and thyme are needed for this Italian recipe. Fresh basil would also work well.

Beans: You can use either dried or canned Cannellini beans. This replaces the italian sausage or meat mixture found in traditional Italian casseroles!

Cheese: We used freshly grated organic Parmesan for this recipe, but you can use any cheese! Mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, ricotta cheese, or even cottage cheese should work well in this recipe.

Broth: Just a little bit of vegetable broth is needed. If you want more of a tomato flavor to this casserole, you can use tomato sauce or pasta sauce / marinara sauce.

Seasoning: You’ll need Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper for optimal flavors!

Breadcrumbs: Use whole wheat Panko bread crumbs for this gratin. Breadcrumbs can usually be found in the seasoning aisle at the grocery store.

What are the health benefits of cannellini beans?

Cannellini beans are wonderfully nutritious. They’re fat free and an excellent source of fiber, folate, iron and magnesium. One 1/4 cup serving contains 11 grams of protein! They’re known to help reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease too.

Can I use other breadcrumbs?

We like to use Panko crumbs because they tend to be crispier and healthier. Panko breadcrumbs are the perfect way to get a crispy crust without a ton of calories in this recipe!

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Step by Step Instructions

Preheat Oven: First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, chop all of the vegetables.

Sauté Vegetables: Next, add oil to a large pot and sauté the veggies over medium to medium high heat.

veggies cooking in a pot

Add The Beans: Then, add the beans, cheese, broth, and seasoning. Cook until warmed through.

beans veggies and cheese in a pot

Mix The Breadcrumbs: Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, remaining parsley, and cheese in a bowl. Drizzle with oil.

cheese mixture

Transfer To Dish: Prepare a casserole or baking dish with spray oil. Pour the mixture into the dish.

Bake: Then, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the Italian white bean mixture. Finally, bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

beans and breadcrumbs in a baking dish

Recipe FAQs

What is a gratin?

A gratin is any dish that has a lightly golden crust that has been baked with breadcrumbs and cheese or any other crumbly savory mixture! It’s comfort food at its best!

Are gratins and casseroles the same thing?

Not really! Casseroles tend to be a bit more hearty and encompass the entirety of the meal where as gratins are typically served as side dishes.

How long can leftovers be stored?

Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days. To freeze this recipe, simply freeze the leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to four months. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through.

Recipe Variations

  • Gluten-Free: To make this gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
  • Make it Vegan: For a vegan dish, use vegan Parmesan cheese.
  • Change The Filling: Instead of cannelini beans, you can use al dente whole wheat penne pasta (or a lentil or chickpea pasta for more protein)
  • Add more veggies: Add some extra vegetables in this Italian casserole for more nutrition!

Top Tips for Making Italian Casserole

  • Any kind of neutral oil will work for this recipe.
  • This recipe is definitely freezer-friendly so store any leftovers in an airtight container and freeze!
  • Make sure to grease the dish with oil before placing the casserole in it.
italian casserole in a white baking dish

More Casserole Recipes to Try!

If you have tried this Italian Casserole recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

italian casserole in a white baking dish
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Italian Casserole with Cannellini Beans

This vegetarian Italian casserole with Cannellini beans is incredibly appetizing and full of great flavors! Made with savory Parmesan cheese mixed with coarse breadcrumbs and fresh herbs for a gratin that tastes fully authentic! You're going to love this easy side dish or main meal that is ready in less than an hour!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 204.5kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 45 oz cannellini beans 3 cans
  • tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley divided
  • 1 large red onion diced (2 cups)
  • ½ large or 1 medium fennel bulb bulb quartered and diced (2 cups)
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • cups coarsely grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried italian seasoning
  • 1½ -2 cups broth
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

  • Chop all of your veggies. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, fennel, thyme and 1 tablespoon parsley in a large pan with 1 teaspoom extra virgin olive oil.
  • Add the beans, thyme, ½ cup cheese, 1.5-2 cups broth (if needed), crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let the mixture cook for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, remaining chopped parsley, and remaining cheese in small bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil into crumb mixture, and combine to moisten breadcrumbs.
  • Spray an oven safe casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray. Pour mixture into the dish.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole and bake in a 400 degree oven, uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the breadcrumbs have browned.

Notes

Top Tips for Making Italian Casserole
  • Any kind of neutral oil will work for this recipe.
  • This recipe is definitely freezer-friendly so store any leftovers in an airtight container and freeze!
  • Make sure to grease the dish with oil before placing the casserole in it.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Nutrition

Calories: 204.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.6g | Protein: 12.8g | Fat: 4.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.2g | Sodium: 321mg | Fiber: 6.1g | Sugar: 1g

Posted In…

Italian Recipes ·

These recipes are sure to be a hit! Make a healthier pizza or a guilt-free pasta and enjoy the fresh flavors of Italy.

Many people think carbs and cheese when they think Italian, but there is so much more to appreciate: aromatic herbs, fresh ingredients, and bright flavors shine. Many of my Italian-inspired recipes are suitable for special diets, such as vegan ratatouille or gluten-free lasagna.

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