These rustic baked Italian Beans are quick and easy to make and add a super comforting element to a meal. Tender cannellini beans and sautéed greens are baked in marinara sauce with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Straight out of the oven these Italian-style baked beans are saucy and bubbling with bits of sautéed greens and melted pieces of fresh mozzarella. The classic combination of white beans and dark leafy greens takes on a deliciously different flavor profile with the addition of rich marinara sauce and melty cheese.
This is what you want on your dinner table on a cool fall or winter evening.
Making use of pantry items like canned cannellini beans and jarred marinara sauce means that these beans are ready for the oven in minutes. A super delicious, super easy bean recipe that will really amp up your meal.
Table of contents
- Beans: Canned cannellini beans are the best choice for this recipe. These large white beans hold up well when baked and have a wonderfully creamy texture.
- Greens: Lacinato kale, also known as Tuscan kale, has dark blue-green leaves and a slightly sweeter taste than curly kale. You could substitute baby spinach but kale holds up better when baked and I think it adds a more rustic, Italian flavor and feel to this dish.
- Onion: Diced sweet yellow onion
- Garlic: Minced fresh garlic
- Marinara sauce: A jar of your favorite store-bought marinara. I used Rao’s Tomato Basil.
- Seasoning: Fresh or dried rosemary, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Cheese: I use pre-sliced fresh mozzarella and tear the slices into pieces to tuck into the beans. You’ll also need grated Parmesan cheese.
- Garnish: Fresh basil leaves.
How to Make Baked Italian Beans
- Onion and kale: Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion for several minutes, or until translucent, then add the kale, garlic, and rosemary. Cook, stirring constantly for a minute or two until the kale is slightly wilted.
- Cannellini beans: Add the beans and season them with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Marinara and cheese: Stir in the marinara sauce. Tear each slice of mozzarella into 2 or 3 pieces, tuck them into the bean mixture and sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.
- Bake: Transfer to a preheated 375 degree F oven and bake, uncovered, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbling and slightly caramelized around the edges. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired, and serve.
Leftovers should be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 4 days. For longer storage, place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 4 to 5 months. Thaw frozen Italian Beans safely in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, with a splash of water to loosen the sauce, if needed.
Proteins: These beans make an excellent side dish for all kinds of grilled or roasted meats. Try it with a whole Roast Chicken and Vegetables, Air Fryer London Broil, or simply grilled sausages, chicken, or pork.
Vegetarian: Spoon these beans over a serving of fluffy white rice or creamy polenta to soak up the savory sauce. This is a satisfying and complete meatless meal.
Green Salad: Create a well-balanced meal by serving the rustic beans alongside a crisp Simple Italian Salad, Lemon Parmesan Salad, or Butter Lettuce Salad with Grapes and Gorgonzola. Or, top your favorite salad ingredients with Honey Balsamic Dressing or Homemade Italian Dressing.
Crusty Bread and Cheese: For a simple yet delightful option, scoop these beans onto a thick slice of crusty bread and sprinkle some grated Parmesan on top. A quick and scrumptious open-faced sandwich.
More Bean Recipes You’ll Love
- Baked Beans from Scratch
- Spicy Baked Beans
- Instant Pot Baked Beans
- Calico Beans
- Easy Red Beans and Rice with Sausage
Baked Italian Beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup diced sweet yellow onion
- 2 cups packed torn or coarsely chopped Lacinto kale, thick stems removed
- 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 28 ounces canned cannellini beans, (2 14-ounce cans), drained
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 24 ounce jar marinara sauce, I used Rao’s Tomato Basil
- 3 to 4 slices fresh mozzarella, about 2 to 3 ounces
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves, optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add the olive oil to an 10-inch ovenproof skillet and place over MEDIUM heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until translucent. Add the kale, garlic, and rosemary and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or two until the kale is slightly wilted. Add the beans and season them with the salt, pepper and chili flakes. Add the marinara sauce and mix again. Tear each slice of mozzarella into 2 or 3 pieces, tuck them into the bean mixture and sprinkle the parmesan over the top.
- Bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbling and slightly caramelized around the edges.
- Garnish with fresh basil, if desired, and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.