White Bean-Tomato Gratin

I love to use tomatoes when they’re perfectly red and ripe during the summer months when my garden is behaving properly. I probably overuse them, in fact, because I love tomatoes so much. Sometimes they’re good just sliced, with a little salt. They are also perfect for fresh sauces and salsas, and I’ll certainly cook them when necessary. None go to waste.

But then there are the winter months. Sometimes, “vine-ripened” tomatoes are available at my local grocery store, but these really fall flat in quality. Which isn’t surprising, of course. They sell them even attached to the vine, but they’re never the same.

Fortunately for all of us, there is such a thing as canned tomatoes. The kind you purchase. I haven’t gotten to the point where I’ve canned my own before, because my garden produces just enough for some nibbling and a little cooking, when, like I said, it’s behaving.

But I really love canned tomatoes. They serve a purpose. I think it’s important to buy the best, highest quality you can find, no matter the price. Because it does make a gigantic difference.

And while we’re on canned ingredients, let’s discuss canned beans. Specifically, white beans. From all of my white bean dip posts you know that I happen to respect canned beans. Certainly there’s nothing quite like home-made beans, from scratch, but white beans, like tomatoes in cans, are wonderful when necessary. (And for pureeing purposes, canned white beans process smoother than home-made, I’ve found.)

So today I’m simply making a gratin using canned white beans and tomatoes. The rest you should have on hand. Within an hour, this gratin was done. And it’s good. Please don’t tell me you don’t have time to cook.

White Bean and Tomato Gratin

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
Salt, pepper

2 – 15.8 ounce cans white beans, rinsed and well drained

1/2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan

1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
Fresh rosemary leaves, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and give them a good stir.


Add the tomatoes, and cook for just a few minutes. There should be no significant liquid in the bottom of the saucepan. Stir in some salt and pepper to taste.


Stir in the white beans and remove from the saucepan from the heat. Lightly grease a baking dish. The size of the baking dish depends if you want a thin white bean and tomato layer, topped with a significantly larger amount of breadcrumbs and cheese, or a deeper dish, which is what I chose.


Place the bean and tomato mixture into the baking dish. Cover with the cheese.


And then cover with the breadcrumbs.


Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top, if desired.


And then sprinkle a few rosemary leaves over the top, if you like rosemary. This is completely optional. Honestly, there’s not much rosemary flavor in just those few leaves, but I happened to have them on hand, and like the looks of rosemary.


Bake until the top browns, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Today I served the gratin with some sous vide flank steak, which was a really nice combination.


But the gratin would be delicious with just about any protein.


Even fish, because it’s not strongly flavored in any way.


note: If you don’t like rosemary, other options would be to add dried thyme to the white bean and tomato mixture while it’s cooking, or even dried basil or fresh basil. It’s just what flavor you want in the gratin. Even some fresh lemon or orange zest would be lovely. Or, just leave the basic flavors of the onion, garlic, and tomato shine on their own. There is nothing wrong with that.

28 thoughts on “White Bean-Tomato Gratin

  • I’m crazy about white beans with tomatoes, so combining them in one dish sounds divine. I can’t wait to make your recipe.

  • What an interesting dish! I definitely don’t cook with white beans often enough, and this is a nice take on them… perfect with so many main dishes…

    great post!

    • I think it stems from our “lean” years, having to subsist on beans more than any other food, except for the fresh breads I made. But I still love them!

  • Funny how the ingredients (beans, tomatoes, bread crumbs) are similar to the pisarei I just posted, although of course the dish is quite different. It seems very tasty to me.
    I don’t think it’s possible to overuse tomatoes. Unfortunately around here even in summer tomatoes are not very good. And so I have to use canned tomatoes as well. Will have to bring lots of canned san marzano from Italy this summer :-)

  • What an interesting side dish. I will def be trying this at home soon. Always looking for new and exciting side dishes to serve with protein. I had Chakalaka for the first time when I went to South Africa last year. It is a delicious spicy bean dish which can be served with any meal any time of the day. You can even eat it for breakfast with bacon or sausages. There is a recipe on my blog. Emmaxx

  • I LOVE the photo with this dish and the steak – great job! You know, for several years now I’ve had ‘a thing’ for white beans and I love how quick & easy this dish is – pinning it immediately!

    • Good luck with the re-wiring. All I can think of still is UGH. We just had all of our windows replaced in our house. But like you said, that was a means to an end, just like getting a renovated kitchen. But at least you’ll be safe!!! We live in a house built in 1927, and the people who lived here before us did all of the re-wiring and all of the plumbing, bringing everything up to date. I’m so thankful for them!

  • I ADORE white beans as a side dish. And I do still have four jars left of my homemade canned tomatoes left in the pantry from my hubby’s crazy hanging tomato plant experiment from last year. I can’t believe we have almost gone through over 2 dozen jars of them, which certainly attests to our love of canned tomatoes too. I will certainly give this recipe a try, thank you Mimi! (p.s. it’s not too late to try starting a hanging tomato plant this year!)

      • Do you have rain gutters on your house? A fence or a porch that you can attach a hook too? It can hang from nearly anything high enough above the ground outside. Or of course, you can still use the canned tomatoes – it’s rather like having a pet trying to tend a tomato plant and believe me, not all our plants survive. :)

  • The gratin looks so comforting! Saving this for our winter months, coming all too soon. And sous vide flank steak…wish I had the time and equipment to make that too.

  • The only thing I ever keep in FULL stock is canned tomatoes. Because really, what’s more versatile? These look lovely.. white beans are the second most common canned good we have all the time :)

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