Cannellini al Gratin

Cannellini al Gratin

Grab a spoon!

Winter has decided to wrap her icy fingers around Florida (and the rest of the country) for what I hope, is the last time. Enough with the cold already!

Cold weather means comfort foods. Hearty, stick to your ribs casseroles, flavorful soups & stews and crock pots full of all manner of tasty things. It also means I can run my oven as much as I want! When it’s 100 degrees outside, the last thing I want to do is stand in front of a blazing oven. So, I take advantage of the cold weather to fire it up and enjoy the extra heat.

Since our temperatures dipped down into the low 30’s (hush, this is sub-tropical Florida, 30 is COLD), I decided to make my favorite bean casserole. It is so easy. Minimum effort for maximum flavor. It uses cannellini beans. These beans are a good for you inclusion to your diet. They are high in magnesium, fiber, iron, folate and a good source of protein. If you can’t find cannellini bean, you can substitute great northern or any white bean.

On with the show –

cannellini fixings

cannellini ingredients

Gather all your ingredients. Get out a cutting board and knife, so you can dice up all those veggies. Did you know that the celery, onion and carrot mix is called a mirepoix? You do now! Not only do we provide good eats, you get to learn new things, too.

Do you see that? Wait, here it is –

kitchen kitty 2

kitchen kitty is watching you.

There she is. Kitchen kitty is making sure I do this right.  Anyhow, onward. Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Get out your dutch oven. Now, lets dice up some mirepoix. Do the celery

diced celery

dice the celery

The carrots – which btw – I don’t peel. I use organic, so it’s wash, dry and eat.

diced carrots

dice the carrots

Dice up some onion. You’ll need a cup of each. Oh, and dice up 3 tablespoons of parsley.

diced onion

dice the onion

Put your pot of the stove, over medium – high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump in the mirepoix.

add the mirepoix

Add the celery, carrot & onion to the pot.

Cover the pot and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft. Turn the heat off and add in the white wine vinegar, scraping up the browned bits off the bottom.

adding vinegar

add the vinegar

Now, dump in 2 cans of cannellini beans with their juices. Add in the chopped parsley, thyme and some salt & pepper. Give it a stir.

add beans parsley and other ingred

add the beans and things

Add in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I used Boars Head Gouda. You can use whatever vegetarian friendly cheese that you like or can find.

add cheese

add in some cheese

In a large measuring cup or small bowl, add 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, the remaining parsley, cheese and tablespoon of olive oil.

crumb top

making the crumb topping

And mix it well.

crumb topping mix

mixed up

Spread the crumb topping in an even layer over the top of the casserole.

Cannellini al gratin ready

Ready to bake

Place it in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. When it’s all bubbly and the crumb top is golden, you are ready to pull it out of the oven.

Finished Cannellini al gratin

All done

Let it rest for 5 minutes to let that bubbling, bean brew settle down. Serve it up with a nice crusty bread or a focaccia. We had a whole wheat focaccia. Yum!

Cannellini al Gratin dinner

Dinner is served!

Recipe below.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cannellini al Gratin
Recipe type: casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
An easy, fast, delicious cannellini bean casserole with a crunchy crumb topping.
  • 2 – 19 oz cans cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cups diced carrots
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup coarsely grated Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the diced carrots, celery and onion, and cook, covered, 6 to 8 minutes, or until onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat, and stir in the white wine vinegar, using a spatula to scrape up any browned bits stuck to bottom of pot. Add beans with juices, chopped thyme, chopped parsley, ½ cup shredded cheese, salt & pepper. Stir well to combine.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining 1 Tbs. chopped parsley, and remaining ¼ cup shredded cheese in small bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbs. oil into crumb mixture, and combine to moisten breadcrumbs. Spread breadcrumb mixture over bean mixture. Bake gratin, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and the top is browned. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.
  4. Makes six generous servings.
  5. Adapted from Vegetarian Times Jan/Feb 2011







Tomato Cheese Grits

That’s right! I said grits!

tomatoey cheese grits

Great Grits!

Coarsely ground white corn meal. You either love them or hate them. I am in the lovers group but don’t mind the haters. It just means more for me. I’m not here to make you eat grits. Nope, nuh uh. I’m just here to offer a super easy, great grits recipe to those who already love them. Now, if you are a hater and you still feel the need to give this recipe a try,  then do it!. Broaden your horizons. Live the dream. Embrace the southerner you were meant to be.

p.s. don’t tell anyone, but polenta is just yellow grits. shushhhh.

Onward! Gather the necessities.

Ingredients for tomato cheese grits

Ingredients for tomato cheese grits

Pour the 4 cups of vegetable broth into a 2 quart stock pot. Set it on the stove and bring to a boil.

veggie broth

Heat the broth

While that’s heating, grab the tomatoes, core them and chop them up.

half inch dice on tomatoes

Diced tomatoes

Once the broth reaches a boil, stir in the quick cooking grits and the diced tomatoes. Throw in some salt, too.

add grits and tomatoes

stir in the tomatoes and grits

Stir it up real good and return to a boil. Then, lower the heat to simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes. Just until the grits are tender.

While that’s happening, get out your cheese a grate it up. You’ll need 1 & 1/2 cups of it.

grated cheese

Grate up a bunch o’ cheddar.

When the grits reach the tender stage, remove the pot from the heat and add in the butter and cheese. Mix it up real good. You want that melted cheese to be in every bite.

cheesy grits

Add in the cheese and butter.

Now, comes the hard part. You need to let it rest for 5 minutes. I know, I know, it’s hard. Your patience will be rewarded.

Cheesy Tomato Grits

Tomato Cheese Grits

Now, pour it into a dish and serve!

Here’s a bonus for you! If you add in a whole, 4 oz can of diced green chiles when you add in the tomatoes & grits, you’ll have Chile Cheese Tomato Grits. Just as yummy!

Tomato Cheese Grits
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: southern American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 generously
A super easy side dish that makes great use out of grits, a southerner's pantry staple.
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quick cooking grits
  • 2 large tomatoes – ½ inch dice
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. In a 2 qt pan, bring the broth to a boil. While it's heating, dice the tomatoes.
  2. When the broth reaches a boil, mix in the diced tomatoes, the teaspoon of salt and the grits.
  3. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes. As it cooks, shred the cheese.
  4. When the grits are tender, remove from heat and add in the tablespoon of butter and the cheese. Stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes, then plate and serve.
  5. Bonus version: For chile cheese grits, when you are adding the tomatoes and grits, also add in one whole 4 oz can of diced green chiles. Finish recipe as written.


Tomato and Goat Cheese Gratin


Tomato and goat cheese gratin

Tomato and goat cheese gratin

Something simple. Something easy. Something – so delicious. A gratin. Fling a bunch of stuff in a casserole dish and top it with cheese or breadcrumbs. Bake. Now, you have a gratin. You can be extra special and use both cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake. Now,  you have a show stopping gratin. I like show stopping. You’ll like it, too.

This one uses tomatoes, basil and goat cheese. Why? Because they had been in my fridge a little too long and I needed to make room for fresh vegetables from the co-op. Saturdays are always a surprise dinner day. We never know what’s going to be left over from the week or what needs to be used up right now. I don’t know about you, but things hide in my fridge. You know it’s in there, but you can’t find it. Later, much later, dang! There it is! Harumph. Sneaky veg. Well, these tomatoes were hiding under a bag of spinach. I found them, though. Along with that little knob of ginger that I never use up. The tomatoes, I’ll use. The ginger? Well, let’s just say the chickens enjoyed it.

Our ingredients.

gratin ingred

For the tomato goat cheese gratin

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices.

sliced maters

Slice the tomatoes

You don’t have to get out the ruler. Just guess. Look! I used my ceramic Yoshi blade. That thing is great for making really thin slices of tomatoes. I use it for nothing else. I am a Yoshi blade snob.

Then, chop up the basil. You can roll it up and make a lovely chiffonade, or you can be like me and scrunch the leaves up and hack away. Whatever gets the job done.

chopped basil

chop up the basil

Get out a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish and give it a coat of spray oil. Use half the tomatoes and make a layer in the bottom, overlapping the sides if necessary.  Sprinkle half the diced garlic over them.

garlic and tomatoes

garlic and tomatoes

Use half the basil – after you save some for the garnish – and spread out that over the ‘maters.

basil and tomatoes

Add the basil over the tomatoes.

Now, do that again and make the second layer. Then, get out the olive oil and drizzle it over the top. Add some salt and pepper, cause you know you’ll want it.

tomatoes basil and oil

Top with olive oil and salt & pepper.

Now, you could go ahead and grab a fork and gobble this down right now because it;s just that good –

tomato salad

Tomato salad!

But DON’T! You’d miss the creamy goat cheese and crunch topping! Instead, plop that dish into the oven for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, get a half cup of panko bread crumbs out. Sprinkle a little salt & pepper over it and add in a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix it up real good.

panko salt pepper and olive oil

panko, salt & pepper, and olive oil

panko, salt & pepper, and olive oil combined

All mixed up  











Now that 10 minutes has passed, get the hot dish out of the oven. It’s cheese time! Pinch off little pieces of the goat cheese and drop them all over the top of the dish.

goat cheese and tomatoes

add the goat cheese

Cover it evenly. Share the cheese. I know those look like hunks of cauliflower and I imagine that would work too, but stick with the cheese. You’ll thank me later. Then, sprinkle all the seasoned panko crumbs on top.

panko topping

Really crumby.

Now, pop that dish back into the oven for another 10 minutes or until the top is all nice a browned.

Tomato Gratin

Golden Goodness!

Don’t forget to finish it off with that basil you saved!

Tomato and goat cheese gratin

All you need is a fork!

Let’s get a better look at this, shall we?

Tomato and goat cheese gratin

Extreme close up!

Oh my! Oh my, oh my, oh my! That looks wonderful! It is, really! So good. Try it! Soooonnn.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Gratin
Recipe type: casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A delicious layered tomato gratin topped off with creamy goat cheese and crunchy panko bread crumbs.
  • 3 large tomatoes or 4 smaller ones
  • 4 oz. weight - goat cheese
  • ⅔ oz. weight - basil, approx ½ cup chopped. Divided.
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, divided.
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425º. Spray a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Reserve some basil for garnish.
  3. Slice tomatoes into ¼ inch slices. You don't have to measure, just guess.
  4. Using half the tomatoes, place a layer of them in the casserole dish, overlapping the sides, if necessary. Next, evenly spread a layer, using half of the chopped basil. Sprinkle half the garlic over that. For the next layer, repeat with tomatoes, basil and the rest of the garlic. Over the top, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake casserole for 10 minutes. While it's baking, to your panko crumbs, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  6. After 10 minutes of baking time has passed, remove casserole from oven. Pinch off pieces of goat cheese and drop over the top, as evenly as possible. Top the casserole with the seasoned panko bread crumb mix. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until the crumb topping is nice and golden. Garnish with the reserved basil.
  7. Serve!

And now, the recipe.