Mediterranean Tomatoes and White Beans - delicious rich tomatoes with peppers and white beans make this a perfect side or main.
Rich Tomatoes with Beans
Tonight for dinner, it was some delicious chicken sausages I had picked up from Costco with homemade seasoned potato slices, but I really wanted a nice saucy side to serve alongside them all.
My kids love baked beans especially where sausages are involved and so I thought why not make an easy beans dish with some ingredients I had on hand in pantry. If there is one thing I love, it's raiding my fridge and pantry for ingredients I can throw together for a meal and these turned out so well, were super quick to make and best of all can be enjoyed as a side or a main course.
Best Type of White Beans
Really you can use any kind you like for this dish. This was a pantry raid, so I was willing to us whatever beans came to hand and all that was left was a couple of cans of haricot beans, so one of those was what I grabbed.
Some other beans I think would work well for this are:
- Cannellini Beans
- Great Northerns (White Kidney Beans)
- Baby Lima Beans (small butter beans)
These are what tend to be available here in Canada, so go for what is readily available where you are, keep it simple!!
There are also other beans like pinto beans (which are not white of course) and those will work fine too if that's all you have.
I used canned beans because they are just quick and handy, but if you prefer to use dried beans, you can totally do that too, you will just need to cook them first and then follow the recipe as normal.
Can I use spray oil?
You will notice I use a little olive oil in this recipe, and yes I know I could use spray oil and save some calories. But this recipe serves at least 4 people and one tablespoon of olive oil really isn't that much.
It just adds so much more flavour to the base of the recipe, so It's worth it, but if you really really can't bear to use those extra calories, opt for a olive oil spray. It won't be quite the same result, but should be okay.
Canned versus Fresh Tomatoes
For this recipe I used canned chopped tomatoes, I try to buy brands that I know I like, as some cheaper brands can be really tasteless and very acidic.
Fresh tomatoes taste amazing in any kind of homemade sauce, they have a beautiful natural sweetness to them so you generally don't need to add anything like a little sugar or sweetener to tone down the acidity. I add a little (only a teaspoon) which just tones down the acidity, but it's totally up to you if you wish to use it or not. Try without and add it you feel it needs it.
So you can use whatever you prefer or even do a combination of both. For a quick peeling tip - I highly recommend a serrated peeler. They are perfect for soft fruits and veggies and will grip the skin making it easy to peel, which means there is no need to score and blanch to remove the skin.
Can I substitute the bell pepper?
I am often surprised by how many say they don't like peppers and if you happen to be someone who doesn't like them, you may be wondering what you can use instead?
The pepper in his recipe was really only added because I had a lonely ole one on my kitchen counter that really need to be used up, it certainly isn't vital to the recipe, but does add a beautiful fleck of colour.
If you really dislike peppers either just omit, the tomatoes alone with the onion, garlic and herbs is delicious or add in some other vegetables if you want to. Grated carrot or some finely diced courgette (zucchini) would be good.
Can I use dried herbs?
I love love fresh basil, it has a such a beautiful flavour and I find you just don't get that same taste from dried.
At the beginning of summer I always pick up a basil plant for the garden, they would never survive our harsh winters here and my cats would eat it if I brought it inside. I love having fresh basil on handy, it's such a delicious summery herb. My plant gets quite big with plenty of basil leaves, so long as I remember to water it that is. Otherwise our scorching summers will wilt it to nothing in no time.
If you can get some fresh basil then opt for that for sure, but if dried is all you have, then use it. Generally it is 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
For the parsley fresh or dried is fine in this recipe, but again use just 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of dried parsley, if not using fresh.
Turning a side into a main course
I made this with the intention of it being a side dish for some sausages and potatoes, but you could totally eat this as a main. Serve with some rice, or pasta (orzo would be great), or crispy potatoes like these garlic and herb roast potatoes. You could even take it to a whole other level by adding some mozzarella to the top and just baking in the oven until melted.
More Bean Recipes
Looking for some other bean recipes to try? Check out these
- Homemade Baked Beans
- Tuscan Chicken and White Bean Soup
- Homemade Barbecue Beans
- Chicken and Baked Bean Casserole
- Campfire Stew
or if you would like more recipe ideas - head on over to the FULL RECIPE INDEX where you will find over 900 delicious recipes and can search by ingredients, course, diet and more.
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- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
- 1 bell pepper (yellow, red or orange), chopped
- 400g (14oz) of chopped tomatoes (canned)
- 400g (14oz) of haricot beans (canned), drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 cup (240ml) of chicken or vegetable stock
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- salt and black pepper to season
- (optional: 1 tsp of sugar or sweetener)
- Add olive oil to a frying pan over a medium high heat, once hot add the onion and fry until golden and softened.
- Add in the peppers and garlic and fry for a couple more mins.
- Add the paprika and mix to coat.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes (and sugar or sweetener if using, it helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes but is optional), beans and tomato paste and stock, stir until all mixed.
- Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, sauce should all be rich and thickened.
- Taste and season as needed with salt and black pepper
- Stir in the chopped fresh parsley and basil.
Please see below for full nutritional info and additional details about recipe:
- Calories - scroll down to nutritional info box
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1 SERVING
Amount Per Serving Calories 155Total Fat 3.7gSaturated Fat 0.5gTrans Fat 0gSodium 554mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 7.6gSugar 3.3gProtein 7.5g
Nutritional information, values, points etc are an estimate and is to be used for informational purposes only. Ingredients can vary greatly from brand to brand and therefore it would be impossible to give accurate information. It is always advised that you calculate by the ingredients you use.