Mediterranean sausage, fennel, canellini bean and tomato gratin

by admin on July 25, 2009 · 31 comments

Post image for Mediterranean sausage, fennel, canellini bean and tomato gratin

We’ve just returned from a few days in Provence where they have near constant sunshine in which to bask and also to grow sunflowers, lavender, olives by the field load. The Great British Summer in contrast is a fickle thing. Slightly disappointing, but not entirely surprising then, to come home to find the only species flourishing in the vegetable bed were a small posse of damp-loving funghi.

This one-pot bake is a perfectly suited to the trials and tribulations of a classic British summer.  The flavours are sunny and Mediterranean (lemon, oregano, tomato, olive oil) but the finished dish is also suitably warm and cozy for an evening inside watching the rain.  It is a “one-pot” supper in the nutritional sense too, combining summer vegetables (fennel, cherry tomatoes, onions), high protein, high fibre dried beans, monounsaturated olive oil and a wholegrain breadcrumb topping. One serving provides at least 3 of your five serves of fruit and vegetable per day with minimal effort.

Veggie sausages are typically lower in fat and more environmentally sustainable to produce than the meaty sort.  For a dish like this where the sausages are a bit player rather than the true star of the show, I tend to use veggie sausages (for the aforementioned reasons).  The recipe as it stands produces a dry style of dish with a crispy top; if you fancy something a little more cassoulet in style then just add a slosh of stock or white wine to the pan before topping with the breadcrumb.

sausage bean bakeRelated musings and recipes on Mostly Eating
Heart Healthy Macaroni Cheese (with a very similar breadcrumb topping)
The perfect convenience food? Why a humble tin of beans is good for you and the planet
Fennel and Tomato Lasagne
Aubergine, courgette and tomato stew with quinoa and feta
What to eat now – a Mediterranean or Nordic style diet?

Recipe for Mediterranean sausage, fennel, canellini bean and tomato gratin

If you have one, use a casserole that can go straight from hob to oven.

Serves two very hungry people, or four as a light lunch

4 herby, veggie sausages, thickly sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
400g can canellini beans, drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper

For the breadcrumb topping
1 slice bread, crumbed (I use wholegrain granary)
1 tbsp olive oil
Zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 180 C, 350 F.

Saute the sausages in a tablespoon of olive oil until lightly browned.  Lift the sausage slices from the pan and put to one side.  Add the fennel, onion and garlic to the pan and cook on a medium heat for another five minutes. 

Add the sausages back into the pan with the fennel, onion and garlic.  Next add the canellini beans, tomatoes and oregano and stir.  Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt.

Lightly flatten the contents of the pan with the back of a spatula. 

In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the lemon zest, olive oil and some more black pepper.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the sausage/bean mixture and bake for 30 minutes.


Johanna July 26, 2009 at 23:01

sounds delicious and great to see recipes using vegetarian sausages because I substitute them for meat ones quite a bit but find they are different in that they are not as fatty so don’t give out so much oil when they cook.
I’d like to try this as it looks like a simpler version of my cassoulet recipe which is one of the few recipes I’ve really loved fennel in

Anh July 27, 2009 at 04:43

Just lovely.. I still wonder how veg sausages taste like. I should really check this out after reading your post.

kathryn July 27, 2009 at 06:59

Love the recipe Sophie. Good veggie sausages are quite hard to find here. Fennel is a winter crop over here, in peak season at the moment – so it’s a good one for us to be cooking as well.

joey July 27, 2009 at 07:52

This sounds totally heart warming and tummy warming! I love the combination of sausage and fennel…

Wendy July 27, 2009 at 08:49

We eat varying versions of this in the winter. Love the fennel idea though. Haven’t tried that before.
Gotta say, I’ve never had a decent veggie sausage! They always just taste like rubbery-faux-meat. Recommendations?

Arwen from Hoglet K July 27, 2009 at 10:11

That looks lovely with the herby flavours and the beans. I have trouble finding veggie sausages that are also gluten free, but they’d certainly add flavour so it would be sad to leave them out. I’ll have to see what I can find.

Maya July 27, 2009 at 11:21

Hopefully you were having a nice time in Provence!
I love everything with canellini beans and if I manage to find veggie sausages (sounds yummy!), I’ll be making this hearty cassoulet pretty soon!

Elaine July 27, 2009 at 18:41

Lovely recipe, Sophie. You are so good with your one-pot creations.
We are in the middle of a heat wave (30 plus degrees Celsius) in my part of the world so I’ll reserve this for a cooler day, which will be welcome when it comes. By then, my cherry tomatoes should be ripe, too.
Provence sounds heavenly. Lavender, sunflowers and olivers by the field-load — must have been quite the sight. Were you constantly taking photos?

Sophie July 27, 2009 at 19:17

Johanna – you’re right of course, veggies sausages just don’t give out the same amount of fat. Which works out fine for this recipe but sometimes you want the oil. I’ve been looking for a decent veggie cassoulet recipe – is yours on your blog?
Anh – veggie sausages are really variable (as you’ll guess from the later comments). Definitely try a few brands and see which you like best.
Kathryn – I’ll have to ask my sister-in-law who lives in Oz if she has any veggie sausage recommendation as I know she buys such things. Funny that fennel is a winter crop with you and summer/autumn over here. It must like the warmth, but not too much of it
Joey – thank you :-) The sausage and fennel are really good together
Wendy – the best veggie sausage I have found in UK are Cauldron’s Lincolnshire sausages. They’re really well seasoned, and not too rubbery. Definitely passable in recipes, butties and the like, but not quite the same as a good butchers sausage for eating unadorned.
Arwen – I bet veggie and gluten free sausages are a tricky one to find. Maybe you could try a different entirely flavour entirely, maybe some feta cheese and/or olives
Maya – Provence was beautiful! If you’re a meat eater then do feel free to use meat sausages – they work just as well
Elaine – I hope you’re enjoying your heatwave. It sounds wonderful (if you could send some over here to ripen my cherry tomatoes that would be fabulous). Would you believe it – I didn’t take my dSLR to Provence! The trip was for my other half to cycle a stage of the Tour de France. I had to pack light as we had a multi-stage journey with lots of bike kit to take. I did regret the decision when I first saw those sunflower fields from the TGV, but in the end we didn’t have much time for pottering about taking photos.

Sophie July 28, 2009 at 16:41

What a delightful & fabulous yummie dish!!
I so love flavours like these,…

Meighan August 3, 2009 at 17:51

Found this post via Elaine – made it for dinner last night. Absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for this great recipe, I’ll be making it over and over!

Julie August 5, 2009 at 16:45

Made this dish last night. It was fantastic. Light, fresh and full of flavor. My husband, who is a bit wary of one-dish meals, loved it. This recipe is going into regular rotation. I served it with some lightly dressed baby greens, crusty olive bread and a nice zin. Perfect for a summer evening.

Carol August 11, 2009 at 16:27

What a beautiful combination of good foods.

nina August 26, 2009 at 04:30

That looks like the kinda meal I would enjoy on a Saturday might, watching my favorite movie!!!

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Lucy July 17, 2010 at 17:35

This is soooo yummy – thank you.

Cindy Lynam January 27, 2011 at 23:54

This is just sooooo good. My husband cleans up and there is no leftovers…so flavourful..even the dog begs for a bit of sausage!!

Janice Balzotti June 20, 2012 at 05:08

My Son and Daughter-in law had the caterer make this dish at their wedding. It was really good. We went to the newlyweds house for Father’s Day and Shawn made this for us again. I begged him to give me your recipe and that’s how I found this site. Thanks for posting this. I plan on making it even in sunny Scottsdale Arizona.


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How many calories in a serving?

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