This chipotle white bean casserole is a delicious and inexpensive dish that is chock full of color and flavor. The spice of the chipotle helps disguise the kale (for those who are skiddish about leafy greens) and adds a whole other dimension to this already flavorful and textural dish.
It is a dish with a few components, but the can all be prepared ahead, even the night before, and the use of canned beans instead of dried really speeds up the process. If you make all the components beforehand this can be a forty-five minute meal with very little prep time! Serve with a crunchy green salad and you have an amazing weeknight meal!
Chipotle White Bean Casserole
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
For the Chipotle-Tomato Sauce
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
2 big pinches of red pepper flakes
2 pinches of salt
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 1/2 TBS adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
For the Cilantro Pesto
1 medium clove of garlic
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
big pinch of salt
1 19oz can white/cannellini beans
1 19oz can garbanzo beans
heaping 2/3 cup chopped and de-stemmed kale or chard
1 1/2 cups cotija or other salty, hard, crumbly cheese (like feta)
1 slice wheat bread, crumbled and dried out in the toaster or regular oven
For the Chipotle-Tomato Sauce:
Place the 2 tablespoons olive oil, red pepper flakes, couple pinches of salt, and chopped garlic into a cold medium saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and the oregano and heat to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the adobo sauce. Taste the sauce (careful not to burn yourself!). Adjust seasoning to make it as spicy/smoky/garlicky/etc as you like.
For the Cilantro Pesto:
Combine the clove of garlic and cilantro in a food processor or blender. Pulse while you drizzle in the olive oil (you could also do this by hand in a mortar and pestle). Season with a bit of salt and set aside.
For the Bread Crumbs:
Tear the piece of wheat bread into small pieces and then rub those between your fingers in order to turn it into crumbs. Place on a baking sheet in either a toaster oven or the regular oven, baked at 250 until dry (about 10 minutes).
To assemble and bake:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a 9×13 baking pan (metal or glass) toss the drained beans with the tomato sauce and the kale. Sprinkle with the crumbled cheese and bake in the top-third of the oven for twenty-five to forty minutes, the key is for the cheese to start browning and any visible beans to get crusty (especially at the edges). Remove from oven and let sit for about ten minutes. Top the beans with the breadcrumbs and just before serving drizzle with the cilantro pesto.