A simple recipe for Italian Baked Beans, with kale, cannellini beans, and your favorite homemade (or store-bought) Marinara sauce,  baked in the oven until golden and bubbling. A delicious vegetarian main! Vegan adaptable and Gluten-free. Video

Italian Baked Beans, made with cannellini beans, kale, and your favorite homemade (or store-bought) Marinara sauce, and baked in the oven until golden and bubbling. A delicious vegetarian main!In a world that entices us to browse the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to, in turn, feel the need to be constantly visible — for visibility, these days, seems to somehow equate to success — do not be afraid to disappear. From it, from us, for a while. And see what comes to you in the silence. ~ Micheala Coel

This recipe for Italian Baked Beans will make good use of your Homemade Marinara Sauce or or Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce. Fold in lacinato kale and fresh mozzarella to create a cozy vegetarian meal perfect for cooler fall nights. And yes, you can absolutely use vegan cheese.  Or serve it as a tasty hearty side dish, keeping it simple with pecorino and basil. Take this recipe and use it as a base for your own creations! It’s super yummy and EASY.

Italian Baked Beans | 60-sec Video

Italian Baked Beans & Greens w/ cannellini beans, lacinato kale & marinara sauce, baked until golden and bubbling. Vegetarinan, Vegan-adaptable.

What you’ll need:

  • Cannelini Beans- cooked or canned
  • Marinara sauce
  • olive oil
  • Mozzerella or Pecorino cheese (or both!)
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes
  • fresh basil
  • Optional additions: kale or spinach, sauteed mushrooms, browned Italian sausage (or vegan sausage!)

How to Make Italian Baked Beans

cannellini beans in a strainer

Step one

Using either cooked cannellini beans or canned cannellini beans, strain, and place in a baking dish.

Toss with olive oil, salt pepper and optional chili flakes.

drained cannellini beans in a baking dish

Step two

Add your favorite marinara sauce. Feel free to use store-bought or make your own Marinara sauce or Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce .

adding marinara sauce to the cannellini beans

Step three

Stir this together and feel free to add chopped baby spinach or kale.

mixing in cannellini beans with the marinara sauce

You can also incorporate fresh kale or spinach.

kale and white beans with marinara sauce

Step four

Top with grated pecorino cheese. For a richer meal- feel free to add fresh mozzarella or even burrata cheese.

add optional fresh mozzarella

Step five

Bake in the oven until bubbling and golden.

When it comes out, your house will smell amazing!

Can this be made Vegan?

Yes- simply top with meltable vegan cheese or try this Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle.

More recipes you may enjoy:

We’ve been serving it up with pinot noir, a leafy green salad and crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices.

Hope you enjoy!



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Italian Baked Beans and Kale

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 33 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: vegetarian main, side dish
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A simple recipe for Italian Baked Beans, with kale, cannellini beans, and your favorite homemade (or store-bought) Marinara sauce,  baked in the oven until golden and bubbling. A delicious vegetarian main! Vegan adaptable and Gluten-free.


Units Scale
  • 4 cups cannellini beans or white beans (cooked, or 2 x 14-ounce cans, drained)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • pinch chili flakes- optional
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • optional: big handful lacinato kale, torn, thick stems removed (or sub baby spinach)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • optional 45 slices fresh mozzarella ( or sub grated, or burrata cheese)


Preheat oven to 375F

In a 9-inch ovenproof or skillet or medium-sized baking dish, add the white beans and stir them with the olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Add the marinara sauce and water and mix again. Stir in the kale if adding. Shake the pan to level it and sprinkle with the pecorino or parmesan and nestle in the optional mozzarella.

Bake uncovered in a 375 F oven until bubbling and golden, 25-35 minutes.  Feel free to broil for a couple of minutes to get the top extra golden.

Garnish with fresh basil and serve with crusty bread and a leafy green salad.


Leftovers will keep up to 4 days in the fridge.

You can embellish this even further by adding browned Italian sausage (or vegan sausage,) or sauteed mushrooms, or topping it with pesto.


  • Serving Size: 1 ¼ cup (made w/ both Pecorino and Mozzarella)
  • Calories: 353
  • Sugar: 6.6 g
  • Sodium: 679.3 mg
  • Fat: 10.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.6 g
  • Fiber: 12.8 g
  • Protein: 23.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 5.1 mg

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  1. I made this recipe for the first time with dried beans instead of canned. I adjusted the portion to roughly half (I had a little less than half of the amount of beans required for a 1/2 batch) and used at least two cups of marinara. I also added vegetable stock and water throughout the lengthy cooking process (almost two hours) because every time I was checking the beans they were still quite hard.

    I’m new to cooking with dried/rehydrated beans so it was a great learning experience, although the dinner I hoped to be done in 30 minutes turned into more of a research and development initiative.

    When it finally finished it was delicious and I will absolutely make it again, just with more realistic expectations and knowledge than I had this time. That’s part of the fun of trying something new.

    For next time, if using dried beans again, I would: add spinach, mozzarella and parm only in the last 20 minutes of cooking, add vegetable stock and/or water (I like a mix of both because I find veggie stock can be quite salty) every 15-20 minutes and stir, and use even more marinara sauce (I free styled mine with roasted garlic paste, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, onion powder, thyme, oregano and S&P and it turned out great and took five minutes).

    1. Thanks so much for your notes Gillian. I always pre cook dry beans on the stove top, but glad you gave this a go and glad it turned out!

    2. I pressure-cook my dry beans … 11 mins. once it’s up to pressure & you need to allow for de-pressure time, too. Good luck next time.

  2. Perfect tummy-filling meal for those days I’m too tired to cook. I served it over polenta and layered the raw baby spinach between the polenta and beans, letting it wilt slightly to retain nutrients. My hubby added some Kalamata olives to his. Thanks for an easy meal, Sylvia!

  3. I am wondering what pushes the sodium up so high, must be the cheese? The other ingredients could contribute but 1800 mg seems so high. Sounds wonderful, nontheless

  4. I used my roasted marinara sauce, made from Summer tomatoes, and it was delicious. A perfect meal to share with my parents. They loved the pesto and mushrooms topping. I loved that I could throw it in the oven and help them with the project while it baked. Thank you.

  5. I have made this multiple times – some as written and others with what I had one hand. Tonight was a “sub” night since I didn’t have any cheese except goat cheese and I have to say, that may be the winner for me! as sweet Italian sausage, beans, a full jar of Raos, kale, and goat cheese broiled a bit on top. I love so many of your recipes and also love how they can still taste amazing with minor substitutions. Another keeper for me!

  6. Love this simple but delicious recipe! I can make it with pantry ingredients at the drop of a hat but feel like I’m at a cozy Italian restaurant. Pecorino is key! It’s a “go to” for us.

  7. I love what you do! Just wanted to let you know that parmesan and pecorino are not vegetarian. Both are made with animal rennet – enzymes from a calf’s stomach. Mozzarella is made with vegetable rennet.

    1. Thanks Deb- many cheese producers use vegetable rennet now, so it not is always from cow. Sometimes they say this on on the label, sometimes not, hence the challenge. 🙂 But you can usually always find vegan parmesan these days.

  8. This is delicious, and it only takes me 15 minutes to make it. Chop some kale and add a few ingredients. Just my style.

  9. I love this recipe. Super easy, delicious and satisfying – on it’s own or paired with a salad or bread. So many ways you can adapt it for what you have in your pantry or fridge.

  10. Love these! a favoite, just used fresh parmesan, and did make your quick marinara sauce, which is peefect. used about 3 ounces fresh kale. Will be a go to baked bean recipe. Nice for vegetarians too. Had some grilled veggies ( zucchini red onion red bell pepper, and corn on cob with this.

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