Home Cooking: Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake

Did you know that recipes are not copyrighted? Recipes, even ones published in books, fall under what’s called the “idea-expression dichotomy,” which separates ideas, which can’t be copyrighted from expression of ideas, which are covered under copyright law. So, recipes can be freely shared while any photos or drawings which accompany a recipe can’t without violating copyright.

For a variety of reasons, I refuse to subscribe to the New York Times, which is really neither here nor there other than I cannot access many of their fabulous recipes (thankfully some are made available for free). I am often sent links to recipes on Facebook or other social media, but when I click I’m told I’ll have to subscribe in order to see it. That can be frustrating, to say the least, but so far I have not succumbed to their enticements and have instead found an easy work-around: searching the name of the recipe will almost always give me a link to someone who does have a subscription to the Times, and has published the recipe in their blog.

So, after receiving several links to this delicious recipe from the Times, and after having tried their spicy, cheesy black bean bake and loving it, I searched the name for this recipe and voilà! There it was on a blog called Hip Foodie Mom. Mission accomplished.

According to Hip Foodie Mom, this is a side dish or appetizer, but we enjoyed it a few weeks ago as a main dish. The flavors are softer than the black bean bake even with the little bit of heat from the crushed red pepper, and there is a very Tuscan feel to it. We felt the recipe could be improved with the addition of some sprigs of rosemary while it cooked, but otherwise this made an easy-to-put-together and very satisfying meatless meal, and provided leftovers as well for the next couple of days.


  • 2 15-oz cans cannelli beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used half of this amount)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
  • 4-5 large peeled canned tomatoes (I used San Marzanos)
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 3-inch sprigs of rosemary (optional)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • Toasted baguette or other toasted sliced bread

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the garlic until light gold, and then carefully add the tomatoes to avoid splattering. Gently press on the tomatoes with a potato masher or the back of a spoon to crush the tomatoes into the pan; cook for about 1 minute or so, being careful the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the beans, water, spinach, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, rosemary sprigs (if using), and salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine with the tomatoes. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Make sure the tomatoes and spinach are well distributed throughout the beans, then cover everything with the shredded cheese.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned in spots. If desired, the pan can be run under the broiler for a couple of minutes for additional browning.

Serve immediately on top of baguette slices or other toasted bread.


5 thoughts on “Home Cooking: Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake

    1. Are you and C vegans now? Good for you!

      Vegan cheese is the one thing I absolutely cannot tolerate. I have tried, many times, but it just doesn’t work for me and is the reason we will probably never be 100% vegan.


  1. The last sentence was a surprise to me; I didn’t expect to see it served on toasted baguette – yum! When I share recipes I usually make some adjustments based on the way I personally cooked it – changes to either ingredients or methods. And I definitely remove any commentary that was unique to the source (e.g. often served in the Ukraine, my family’s favourite, similar to the sauce at Gio, etc.) I am sure that the first person to serve a peanut butter bacon burger wished they could copyright it, but oh well!


    1. I always try to change recipes up a bit a well before I share them. I once told a woman my recipe for making potsticker soup in the aisle at Trader Joes, and a few weeks later discovered the recipe *exactly as I told it to her* in the local paper where it won first prize in a recipe contest! That was frustrating, and it’s one of the reasons I often try to add my own twist or suggestions to someone else’s recipe.

      We loved this recipe, although finding a real baguette on the island wasn’t easy.


  2. Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


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