The other day I was scrolling through Pinterest and an image of some cheesy, tomatoey gnocchi made me stop in my tracks and drool a little. But the funny part is that at first I thought the gnocchi were white beans. Long story short, I eventually realized that they were gnocchi, but was still stuck on this idea of white beans baked with marinara and cheese. I loved the idea of swapping gnocchi with high fiber beans, so I had to give it a shot. These White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara lived up to everything I would hoping they would be, and this recipe has quite a bit of potential for customization, so I can’t wait to share it with you!
Cheesy White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara
What Kind of White Beans Should I Use?
I used large butter beans for this recipe because they’re huge and look similar to gnocchi. If you don’t like butter beans or can’t find them, cannellini beans are a good second choice because they are creamy in flavor, still slightly larger, and they hold their shape well. And while you can use navy beans, they’re my last choice for this dish because they’re small and they tend to break down easily, so you won’t get as good of a texture in the final dish.
Can I Add Meat?
Sure! I designed this one to be a filling vegetarian dish, but this recipe easily accommodates the addition of meat. My first choice would be Italian sausage (browned in the skillet before the mushrooms), but pepperoni would also be pretty amazing. You can either crisp up the pepperoni in the skillet before adding the mushrooms, or chop up the pepperoni and stir them in with the sauce.
What Other Vegetables can I Add?
If you’re not into mushrooms or are just looking for other vegetables to add in addition to the mushrooms, there are definitely some great options. Zucchini would match really well with these flavors, as would spinach. For zucchini, I suggest slicing and sautéing after the mushrooms. For spinach, stir it in after the sauce has heated through, just until it is wilted. Eggplant would also be amazing, just dice and sauté after the mushrooms.
How to Serve White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara
You’ll want to sop up every drop of that marinara, so I suggest serving this dish with a side of Garlic Bread. Also, because garlic bread is always a good idea. You can also spoon this mixture over something like zoodles, a halved roasted eggplant, or, if you’re not trying to avoid pasta, just serve it over a bed of good ol’ pasta.
White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara
- 8 oz. mushrooms $2.29
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- 1 pinch salt and pepper $0.05
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 2 cups marinara (or more to your liking) $1.00
- 2 15oz. cans butter beans $2.00
- 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02
- 4 oz. mozzarella $0.65
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and slice the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a deep skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they have wilted and all the moisture in the skillet has evaporated.
While the mushrooms are sautéing, mince the garlic, drain and rinse the butter beans. Add the garlic to the skillet with the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes more.
Add the rinsed butter beans, marinara, basil, and red pepper to the skillet. Stir everything to combine, then allow it to heat through, stirring occasionally.
While the skillet is heating through, shred the mozzarella. Top the skillet with the mozzarella, then cover the skillet with foil. Transfer the skillet to the oven* and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Once the cheese has melted, remove the foil, switch the oven to broil, and broil the skillet for a few minutes more to brown the cheese (watch closely, as browning can happen quickly with the broiler). Serve hot, with garlic bread for dipping!
Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to make White Beans with Mushrooms and Marinara – Step by Step Photos
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and slice 8oz. mushrooms.
Add the sliced mushrooms to a deep skillet with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté over medium until the mushrooms are wilted and the moisture has evaporated out of the skillet. While the mushrooms are sautéing, mince 2 cloves of garlic, then add them to the skillet and sauté for about 2 minutes more.
Rinse and drain two cans of butter beans, then add them to the skillet with 2 cups marinara (or more if you want it to be slightly saucier). Stir to combine.
I like to amp up my jarred marinara a bit, so also add 1/2 tsp dried basil and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Stir them into the sauce, then allow the skillet to heat through, stirring occasionally (5 minutes).
Shred 4 oz. of mozzarella, then sprinkle it on top of the skillet. (If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, transfer the beans and marinara to a casserole dish first.)
Cover the skillet with foil, then transfer to the preheated oven, and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Remove the foil from the skillet, switch the oven from bake to broil, then broil a few minutes more to brown the cheese. Watch the skillet closely, as broiling can brown the cheese very quickly. (I also topped with a little chopped parsley for color, but it’s not needed for flavor).
Serve hot with garlic bread for dipping, over roasted vegetables, or over pasta.
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