Saucy White Bean and Sausage Bake

Cozy up with a hearty yet fresher take on casserole packed with bean protein, colorful kale, and peppers
Saucy White Bean and Sausage Bake

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

We are in prime comfort food season yet looking to lighten things up a little after the holidays—and perhaps eat less meat. While this easy recipe does include chicken sausage, the hearty bake is a fresher take on the casserole as comfort food, turning to beans as its main protein and folding in a colorful mix of red pepper and kale, says Faith Durand editor-in-chief of Kitchn, who created this recipe for Real Food. Its zingy flavors and crispy top make this great to eat on its own, as a sort of oven stew, she says, or you can serve it over pasta, rice or a bowl of steamed greens.

Saucy White Bean and Sausage Bake

Makes 6 Servings

3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained
12 ounces chicken andouille sausage, sliced into diagonal half-moons
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small onion (8 ounces), roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and roughly chopped
3 ounces baby kale, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce
1-1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons coarse cornmeal
⅔ cup breadcrumbs

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with baking spray or olive oil. Spread the drained beans in the baking dish.
  2. Sear the chicken sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned, then turn down the heat and stir in the olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the red peppers and the chopped kale and cook for about 1 minute or until wilted. Stir in the lemon juice and salt, and a generous amount of fresh pepper.
  3. Stir the contents of the skillet into the dish of beans. Stir in the marinara sauce. Add ⅔ cup Parmesan and the cornmeal.
  4. In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs and the remaining ⅔ cup Parmesan with a generous glug of olive oil. Mix with fingers until the texture of wet sand. Strew over top of the beans and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling.

Nutrition Info Saucy White Bean & Sausage Bake (Per Serving): Calories 599 (229 From Fat); Fat 26g (Sat. 8g); Chol 50mg; Sodium 2299mg; Carb 62g; Fiber 12g; Protein 33g

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.