Cassoulet With White Beans and Garlic Breadcrumbs

A traditional French stew that's been lightened up while keeping its protein.

Cassoulet with White Beans and Garlic Breadcrumbs
Courtesy Image

A cassoulet is a French bean stew that’s typically filled with pork sausage and high-fat braised meats. This vegan version is much lighter than its traditional counterpart, providing about 530 calories, 27g of protein, and a whopping 20g of fiber.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 533; total fat: 6g; saturated fat: 1g; protein: 27g; carbohydrates: 99g; sugar: 10g; fiber: 20g; cholesterol: 0mg; sodium: 812mg

Recipe and photo courtesy Abbey Sharp, R.D. of Abbey’s Kitchen.

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Prep time

15 min.

Cook time

70 min.

  • For the garlic breadcrumbs:
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup vegan breadcrumbs
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • For the casserole:
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of thinly sliced onions
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried herbs de Provence
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 1 (14.5-oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 2 (19-oz) cans of white beans (Cannellini, Navy or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • For the polenta:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the breadcrumbs and garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir until combined and crumbly, mix with the parsley, and then set aside.

Return the pot to the low heat, add in a teaspoon of oil and then add in the onions. Sauté over low heat until caramelized and golden, about 20-25 minutes. Add in the zucchini and cook 2 minutes, until lightly golden. Add in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in the herbs, bay leaf, thyme, and the tomatoes with their juice, and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add in the white beans and balsamic, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, bring the polenta water to a boil in a small saucepot. While whisking gently, pour in the polenta in a steady stream, and whisk until thickened. Reduce the heat to low for about 30 minutes, whisking very hard every 5-10 minutes to make sure you get all the bits off the corners and bottom of the pan. Add in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir the spinach leaves into the cassoulet until wilted. Then divide the polenta between four bowls, top with the bean cassoulet and a generous sprinkling of garlic breadcrumbs.