Though often portrayed as humble food, beans can be elevated to an elegant cassoulet (French for “bean casserole”) for a winter dinner. Heart-healthy beans are high in protein and fiber yet low in fat and sodium. A crisp green salad, gluten-free French bread, and your favorite wine complete the meal. For vegetarians, omit the sausage and use vegetarian broth.
1/2 pound gluten-free sausage links (Andouille or Italian), cut in [1/4]-inch slices
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, including juice
3/4 cup dry white wine or gluten-free broth
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 small carrot, peeled and cut diagonally in 1/8-inch slices
2 teaspoons each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (see Sidebar)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease four (4) individual cassoulet bowls (1 ¼ cup capacity) or oven-proof soup bowls and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a large, heavy skillet, cook the sausage and onion over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the beans, garlic, tomatoes and juice, wine, spinach, carrot, rosemary, thyme, celery salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer just until the carrots are tender. Divide evenly in the bowls and cover with foil.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle each cassoulet with 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, coat with the crumbs with cooking spray, and bake until the bread crumbs are browned, about 10 minutes more. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
To make ½ cup of bread crumbs, whirl 1 slice of gluten-free bread in a food processor to the desired consistency. Or, make extra and freeze for a later recipe.
Carol Fenster is the author of 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes (Wiley, 2010), one ofNatural Solutions‘ Top Cookbooks of 2010. She is also the founder of Svory Palate, and author of many other gluten-free cookbooks. More information about Carol can be found at savorypalate.com