Dinner in 20 minutes with just a handful of ingredients? Yes, please! These Easy Cheesy beans are baked in flavourful marinara sauce and topped with a gorgeous layer of melty mozzarella. Sprinkled with fresh basil and scooped over hot toasted garlic bread, they are the grown up, oh-so-flavourful version of beans on toast, that you won’t be able to get enough of. Truth be told, these beens are far more delicious than seems even possible for such a simple meal. You’ll be looking forward to Meatless Monday all week long!
A Meatless Wonder
Like many families, we have been trying to add more plant-based proteins to our diet, starting with one vegetarian dinner a week. This little gem of a dinner is cozy, comforting and hearty. The satisfying flavours, combined with the fact that it’s on the table in 20 minutes (and uses just one pan!) makes Easy Cheesy Beans just the kind of recipe you’ll want to keep in your back pocket for busy, cold weeknights.
What you need for Easy Cheesy Beans
The ingredients list for this simple meal is blissfully short, and if you don’t have them on hand already, be sure to keep them stocked so you can whip up this dinner any time you need a quick and satisfying meal.
- Canned White Kidney Beans:. Mild and creamy, these prepared beans offer the perfect toothsome texture for this dish. Inexpensive and packed with protein, keep these easy to find grocery store staples on your shelf for when the craving for this comforting and satisfying dinner strikes!
- Marinara Sauce: Marinara sauce is the back bone of this recipe, so be sure to use a good one. Making your own marinara sauce will definitely add some time to the preparation of this meal, but if you want to go in that delicious direction here’s the recipe for my marinara sauce. It can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the fridge, or made far in advance and stored in the freezer. If making your own marinara sauce isn’t in the cards on a busy weeknight, simply buy a jar of good quality sauce. My favourite jarred sauce is the famous Rao’s Marinara, but I’ve also used Classico pasta sauce with delicious results. This recipe for Easy Cheesy Beans calls for 2 3/4 cups of marinara sauce. Most jarred pasta sauce is available in 650ml/22 oz jars (roughly 2 3/4 cups give or take a bit), so it’s no accident that this recipe allows you to just pour in a whole jar of prepared sauce.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Two cups of grated, mozzarella cheese is the right amount to cover the top in a gooey, cheesy layer. Of course, feel free to add more if you’d like – I would never fault you for adding extra cheese!
- Fresh Basil: This is optional, but adds a delicious layer of flavour and some bright green colour.
Easy Cheesy Beans on Toasted Garlic Bread can be a meat free meal all on its own. If you wish to add a side dish, I recommend a simple green salad or a Caesar salad. If you wish to make Easy Cheesy Beans the side dish, they work beautifully alongside grilled chicken.
A red wine that can stand up to the meatiness of the beans and match the acidity of the tomato sauce is what you need here. Try a fruity Chianti or a zippy Barbera.
Easy Cheesy Beans on Toasted Garlic Bread
- 2 cans White Kidney Beans (540ml/19 fl oz cans), drained and rinsed
- 2 3/4 cups Marinara Sauce, homemade or good quality store bought from a 650ml jar
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 200gr/7 oz)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (optional)
- 8-10 slices thickly cut Italian bread
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 clove garlic, minced
For the Beans
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Place the drained white kidney beans into a 2 quart (1.9 litre) baking dish. Pour the marinara sauce over the beans and stir gently to combine. Smooth the top or give the pan a gentle shake so the beans and sauce form an even layer. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the beans and sauce. Transfer to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped fresh basil, if using. Serve immediately with slices of garlic bread.
For the Garlic Bread
- In a small bowl, mash together the butter and minced garlic.
- Toast the slices of bread. Spread each slice with some of the garlic butter and serve alongside the Cheesy Beans.
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