This one-pot Tuscan white bean skillet bake is a simple dinner that's great any night of the week. White beans are the true star of the show, with tomatoes, pasta, spinach, and garlic playing delicious supporting roles. Serve with a salad and your favorite crusty bread. Minimal prep and ready in 40 minutes!
Vegan and made gluten-free with your choice of pasta.
Lately we just can't get enough of comforting, tomato-y, Italian-inspired dishes like this white bean skillet bake. If you're also a fan, be sure to check out these other recently posted recipes: crockpot lasagna and pepperoni pizza pasta bake.
You'll love how simple and quick this 1-pan meal is to pull together. In fact, not only are there minimal dishes to wash, but mincing the garlic is the ONLY chopping involved.
I told you it was simple!
It's just saucy enough to call for some really great toasted bread for scooping and dipping. Welcome to vegan comfort food heaven! Toss in a side salad and you're all set.
- cannellini beans - navy or Great Northern white beans also work.
- canned tomatoes - either fire-roasted or regular crushed tomatoes.
- oil - I used avocado oil, but any other high-heat cooking oil is fine. I haven't tested an oil-free version of this recipe yet, but sautéing the garlic in broth is always an option. Or try a tahini-broth mixture as shown in this Oil-Free Alfredo.
- pasta - I used orecchiette; any small pasta you like is great, including gluten-free.
- spinach - I used fresh baby spinach, but in a pinch frozen will work, too. Thaw it first, and drain away the water before adding to the skillet. Chopped kale is also great in this dish.
- cheese - I chose Violife's shredded vegan mozzarella; homemade vegan mozz is another option.
If you feel like experimenting with an oil-free take on this recipe, this tofu cottage cheese (hint: it's basically tofu ricotta), almond ricotta, or oil-free cashew mozzarella would all work very well here.
See recipe card below for quantities and full instructions.
- Preheat the skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Cook the garlic for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan, and stir well.
- Add the water and a heaping teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the pasta. Return to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta isn't quite al dente.
- Add the spinach and about ½ cup shredded cheese. Stir well and cook until the spinach is wilted down, just a minute or two.
- Stir in the beans, and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Transfer the skillet to a preheated 450 degree oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
The skillet bake will be bubbly and piping hot. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
One of my favorite things about this dish is that there's just enough sauciness left in the skillet to encourage scooping with gorgeous, crusty, toasted bread. Take a loaf of Italian bread or baguette, slice on the diagonal, drizzle with olive oil if desired, and toast until golden.
Check out this list of healthy vegan salad dressings for other ideas.
- Beans - any variety of white bean works here, like cannellini, navy, or Great Northern.
- Pasta - feel free to substitute orzo, shells, rotini, or any other small size pasta. You can also reduce the amount of pasta slightly if you prefer a bit more sauciness in the final dish.
- Oil-free - refer to the options mentioned in the Ingredients section above. Only the oil and cheese need to be replaced. All other ingredients are naturally oil-free.
- Gluten-free - make sure the cheese you select is gluten-free, and use your favorite GF pasta.
If you love cheesy baked Italian dishes, check out this Vegan Pizza Pasta Bake!
You'll need a large (12-inch) oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron. If you don't have a pan that's appropriate for the oven, simply transfer the food to a baking dish, then sprinkle with cheese and bake.
Since the baking dish won't be hot, bake time may be extended by a few minutes.
How To Store
This vegan skillet bake reheats beautifully throughout the week. Allow to cool completely, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Leftovers can also be frozen.
I hope you enjoy this Tuscan White Bean Skillet Bake. If you try the recipe be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Tuscan White Bean Skillet Bake Recipe
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral cooking oil
- 8 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning blend - See Notes for sub.
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, regular or fire roasted
- 2 cups water
- 8 ounces small, dry pasta such as orecchiette or shells
- 2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well - Or 3 ¼ cups cooked white beans.
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 1 ½ to 2 cups shredded vegan mozzarella - about 5 ounces
- fine sea salt
- black pepper
- homemade vegan parmesan - or store-bought
- fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, and arrange a rack in center of oven. Preheat a large (12-inch) oven-proof skillet over medium heat.
- Add the oil and garlic to the pan. Stirring frequently cook the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for another minute.
- Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan, and stir well.
- Add 2 cups water and 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt, and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is not quite al dente. Stir occasionally to make sure the pasta isn't sticking.
- Add the spinach and ½ to 1 cup shredded cheese (depending on how cheesy you're feeling). Stir well and cook until the spinach is wilted down, just a minute or two.
- Stir in the beans, and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top. Transfer skillet to the oven, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Let stand for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with basil and vegan Parmesan, and serve with hearty toasted bread.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.