Fiber-filled white beans, sweet tomatoes, and tangy feta make this Tomato Baked Vegetarian Beans with Tangy Feta an easy and healthy anytime dinner loved by the whole family. Serve with homemade parsley pesto and fresh, crusty bread for an unforgettable Meatless Monday dish.
I have come to learn over the past several years that beans really are a magical fruit. And, yes, they are indeed a fruit. I just Googled it. Along with cucumbers, apparently, which is totally confusing and awesome. Anyway, why have I come to hold beans in such high regard over the years? Well, for starters, you get to make delicious and healthy dinners like these tomato baked vegetarian beans. But there are more reasons than that-
- Protein, protein, protein. These babies are packed full of it and make a fantastic, non-methane producing alternative to meat (such as beef).
- All the fiber.
- Beans are CHEAP (aka inexpensive). Compared to what you would spend on chicken or fish for comparable protein amounts, beans are a clear winner when it comes to saving your wallet.
- You can literally put them in ANYTHING from sandwiches, soup, stew, pasta, casseroles, pizza, tacos…anything.
- Nutrient dense.
The list could go on. I mean, it is believed that beans help prevent cancer and heart disease, but until that is proven a fact, I’m not going to give it a bullet point. Bullet points are too final. And the last thing I want to deliver is fake news.
Speaking of news- have you heard, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan have split!? I’m not usually one for celebrity gossip, especially not on my blog, but it seemed appropriate. Again, beans and Channing Tatum, I’m not seeing the parallel, but somewhere in my subconscious.
These tomato baked vegetarian beans with easy parsley pesto could not be easier to make.
The most time-consuming part, I suppose, would be preparing the beans. That said, if you’re running short on time or you just don’t want to deal with soaking and boiling, don’t stress. Grab 2-3 cans of white cannellini beans, drain them, rinse them, and voila! BEANS!
In fact, this is one of those meals that is perfect for those occasions when you have nothing in the refrigerator except some cheese that is about to be moldy and some leftover pesto sauce.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As soon as the beans have been prepped (or drained), the rest is easy. Make your tomato sauce, mix with the beans, crumble with LOTS of big feta chunks and bake!
I served these tomato baked vegetarian beans for family friends who are all vegetarian and it was loved by all. Paired with fresh, crusty, buttered bread, it is a new easy vegetarian favorite.
Tomato Baked Vegetarian Beans with Tangy Feta
For the Beans
- 1.5 cups dry large white beans - soaked in cold water 4 hours to overnight
- 2 cloves garlic - peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Tomato Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 (28 ounce) jar whole, peeled tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) jar diced tomatoes
- salt + pepper - to taste
- 6 ounces feta cheese - crumbled into large chunks
- 1 bunch parsley - leave only
- 1 lemon - zested
- ½ lemon - zested
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt - to taste
Prepare the Beans
- Transfer the pre-soaked, drained beans to a large saucepan and cover with 4 inches of clean water. Add the bay leaf, garlic cloves, and salt. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and partially cover the pot. Simmer the beans until they are nearly tender, but not mushy. This may take between 30-60 minutes depending on the bean used and how long they were pre-soaked. Remove from heat and allow beans to cool in their own liquid before draining. Set aside.
For the Tomato Sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and position oven rack in the upper third position. You will need a ceramic or glass baking dish measuring approximately 9- to 10- inches or equivalent.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the onion to the skillet and sauté for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute more before adding the tomatoes, and their juices, to the skillet. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, and continue to simmer until thick chunky sauce is formed, stir frequently to prevent burning. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer sauce to baking dish. Add the drained, cooked beans, gently tossing them to coat in sauce. Crumble big chunks of feta over the top of the beans and sauce and gently press into the sauce. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is beginning to brown on the top.
For the Parsley Pesto
- Place the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. Top on prepared beans at serving.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
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