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Cheesy White Bean Tomato Bake

Jun 21, 2022 | 2 comments

Need an easy weeknight meal? This cheesy white bean tomato bake ticks all the boxes. A rich tomato sauce, creamy white beans and lots of gooey cheese make for a delicious dinner the whole family will love. Serve with fresh bread or focaccia to mop all the gorgeous sauce.

Hand holding a spoon, scooping up cheesy baked white beans.

Confession time: I’ve never really been a fan of baked beans. But that’s because the only baked beans I’d had were from a can, with that kind of strange sweet taste, chalky texture and just not much flavour. Fast forward to now and I’ve discovered I actually LOVE a bean dish. Beans are high in protein, filling and cheap, so they’re a perfect staple to have in your kitchen. With a jar of beans and a can of tomatoes, you’re halfway to this delicious white bean bake.

It’s cosy, comforting, and ultra cheesy but packed with nutrients, thanks to the protein powerhouse beans.

The secret ingredient in this dish is ‘nduja paste. ‘Nduja is a spicy, smoky spreadable salami paste from Italy and it is such a go-to for me when it comes to injecting something special into a dish. It brings a smoky savoury note that you don’t get from tomatoes alone in this bake, and I’d 100% recommend trying to hunt some down.


Ingredients for cheesy white bean tomato bake laid out on a grey marble background and labelled.
  • White beans. I love using jarred butter beans for this dish but any white bean will do. If you can, go for jarred as they’re a better quality bean, but if you can’t find any, tinned will be totally fine too.
  • Tomatoes. I’m using two cans of plum tomatoes here – but you could also use crushed tomatoes or passata (puree).
  • ‘Nduja paste. A spicy, smoky spreadable salami paste from Italy, the ‘nduja gives the dish a savoury depth and smokiness that is super addictive. It’s becoming more readily available in supermarkets (you’ll find it in the section with the cured meats) and you can also find it on Amazon. A little goes a long way with ‘nduja so if you pick some up, it’ll last you a good while in the fridge. You can replace the ‘nduja with smoked paprika or harissa paste if you can’t find it.
  • Cheese. For the ultimate oozy, gooey result, I’m using two different kinds of cheese here. Parmesan brings the strong, sharp cheesy flavour, whereas the mozzarella brings the creamy and super oozy element to the bake. You can replace the cheese with whatever you have, but I recommend choosing a cheese that has a nice strong flavour.
  • Spinach. I love adding some kind of green to this bake, and spinach is my favourite. You can leave this out though if you don’t have any – or use frozen spinach.

How to make the cheesy beans

Start by getting olive oil into a small pan and cooking down the shallot, garlic and ‘nduja paste for a couple of minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and dried thyme, then stir and simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the beans. Simmer for another 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens up.

Stir in the spinach leaves (they’ll soften and wilt into the sauce). Add the parmesan and mozzarella, then finish with a good grind of black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes at 180C/360F fan, or until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

Got a question?

Can I use fresh tomatoes?

Yes! Use 400g/14oz fresh tomatoes and just 1 can, or use 800g/28oz fresh tomatoes. You’ll just need to cook them down for longer in the pan.

I don’t have butter beans, what else can I use?

Use any other bean you have – chickpeas (garbanzos), kidney beans and even black beans would work really well.

What are the best beans to use for this?

I love using good quality jarred white beans for this recipe – they’re juicy, plump and so creamy and I think beat anything from a tin. But, I know jarred beans can be tricky to find and are a lot more expensive than tinned beans, so tinned will be fine. Because we’re baking the beans no matter the brand, they’ll soften and take on the tomatoey flavour.

I don’t have parmesan or mozzarella, what can I use instead?

You could use cheddar in their place, or any other strong-flavoured cheese. A little blue cheese would be great here too.

Can I make these in advance?

You can! You can make the beans up until putting them in the oven, so add the cheese, then cover tightly with foil and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. You can do this 2 days in advance if needed.

You can also bake the beans, and then reheat them in the oven. Just cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 180C/360F Anything leftover will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I love using leftovers in shakshuka, or on toast!

Like this recipe? Here are more easy ideas for you

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.

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Hand holding a spoon, scooping up cheesy baked white beans.

Cheesy White Bean Tomato Bake

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Need an easy weeknight meal? This cheesy white bean tomato bake ticks all the boxes. A rich tomato sauce, creamy white beans and lots of gooey cheese make for a delicious dinner the whole family will love.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced (or use an onion)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ‘nduja paste (or use harissa paste)
  • 2 tins of plum tomatoes (typically 400g/14oz tins)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 450g butter beans (drained weight, use two 400g/14oz tins or one large jar)
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • Black pepper


  1. Cook the shallot, garlic and ‘nduja paste. Start by heating your oven to 180C/360F fan. Get an ovenproof pan over medium heat, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced shallot along with 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, until the shallot starts to change colour (it’ll become more transparent) and looks like it’s softening. At this point, add the 4 crushed garlic cloves and the 1 tablespoon of ‘nduja paste. Press the ‘nduja paste with your spoon and stir it around the pan so it starts to melt into the oil, then keep stirring for 2 minutes until the garlic starts becoming fragrant.
  2. Finish the sauce. Add the 2 tins of plum tomatoes (make sure you get all the tomatoey goodness out of the tins by filling them ¼ full of water and swishing it around, then pour the tomato water into the pan too). Add the dried thyme, stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the beans. Simmer for another 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens up a little. 
  3. Assemble the bean bake. Once the tomato sauce is lovely and thick, add the spinach and stir it through. The spinach will wilt with the heat of the sauce. Scatter the grated parmesan and mozzarella all over the top of the beans, then finish with a couple of grinds of black pepper.
  4. Cook the beans. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, golden and oozy. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before dishing up.


PREP AHEAD: You can prepare the beans up until putting them in the oven, then cover them tightly with foil and pop them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. You can do this up to 2 days in advance. Alternatively, you can bake the beans, then reheat the whole thing at 180C/360F fan for 15 minutes. Just make sure to cover it with foil so the top doesn’t burn.

PRO TIP: If you don’t have an oven-proof pan, just transfer the beans to an oven dish, then top with the cheese and bake.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: Leftovers keep really well and make brilliant beans on toast the next day! I’ve even used leftovers in shakshuka and it was seriously delicious. You can keep the beans in the fridge in a covered container for 5 days.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: low carb
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: italian


  • Serving Size: 350g
  • Calories: 364
  • Sugar: 14.2g
  • Sodium: 1277mg
  • Fat: 11.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.7g
  • Fiber: 13.4g
  • Protein: 23.4g
  • Cholesterol: 22mg


I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.





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  1. Rebecca

    This was so easy and tasty, we enjoyed it the next day too!

    • Kate Alexandra

      Ahhh I’m so pleased, it’s such a great one for leftovers 🙂


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