Traditional Italian ingredients such as onions, garlic, tomato, parmesan and rosemary transforms traditional baked beans into an exciting side dish or a vegetarian main. Parmesan is mixed into the beans themselves and in an ooey-gooey-good gratin layer on top, making this dish decadently cheesy. The rosemary prominently shines through. Reduce the quantity for more subtlety. The fire roasted tomatoes add some kick, as does the red pepper flakes. And unlike traditional baked beans, these have no sugar added. At a recent potluck gathering of an international group where the food was abundant and fabulous, someone asked out loud who had made the baked beans. I sheepishly revealed myself and was singled out for rave reviews. Who knew such a simple dish, mostly from pantry staples, transformed into a bold comforting dish would be such a hit? Left overs are good on toast with an egg on top for breakfast. Hope you’ll give this dish a try.
Cheesy Italian Baked Beans with Spinach
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 28-once can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes with green chili, including the juice
- 1/4 cup of fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped, more for garnish
- 1 6-once bag of baby spinach, or more if you want extra greens
- 3 14-once cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese( I used a 4 cheese blend that included fontina)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook until onion if translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add pinch of salt, tomatoes and rosemary. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and cook, uncovered, 5-10 minutes to thicken slightly.
- Stir in the beans, half of the parmesan and rosemary. Add 1/8 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Bear in mind the tomatoes may already have salt and the cheeses will also be salty. Cook 5 more minutes.
- Transfer to a 2 quart oven-proof casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake in center of oven, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the edges begin to brown. Sprinkle with additional rosemary and serve.