I Can’t Stop Eating This High-Fiber, Plant-Based Italian Meal

Photo: Stocksy/Nataša Mandić
When I go to an Italian restaurant, my mind is always on the main course. I mean, it's nearly impossible not to drool when you're minutes away from getting a plate of spaghetti or lasagna set in front of you. One thing I often overlook, however, is the appetizers—and nope, not just the breadsticks. I'm talking about Tuscan white bean toast.

The super garlicky Tuscan white beans that are served with the bread are almost better than the pasta. The plant-based mix isn't just healthy, as it contains high amounts of fiber and plant-based protein, but it's loaded with flavor. Instead of something only to enjoy before your main course, it can easily stand on its own for a healthy meal—just ask Erin Clarke, creator of Well Plated and author of The Well Plated Cookbook, who created a simple recipe that can be put together in record time.

"For me, my Tuscan-inspired toasts exemplify what I most adore about Italian cooking: straightforward, uncomplicated, and beautiful ingredients uniting to become greater than their individual parts," she says. "This recipe is budget-friendly, healthy, and you can have it on the table in about 20 minutes. What more can I ask for in a weeknight dinner?"

If you're ready to ditch the avos for a minute and try topping your toast with beans instead, try Clarke's tasty recipe below.

Tuscan white bean toasts with garlic and tomatoes

4 slices of thick, good quality whole wheat bread
3 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small shallot (finely chopped)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (2 cups, left whole)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 15-ounce can reduced sodium white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan (can use dairy-free or nutritional yeast)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1. Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush each side with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes, then flip the slices and return to the oven. Continue baking until the bread is nicely toasted, about 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and their juice begins to caramelize in the skillet, about 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Stir in the garlic, red wine vinegar, and honey. Let cook 30 seconds, or until just fragrant, then stir in the white beans. Let cook 1 to 2 minutes, until the beans are warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
4. To serve, arrange the toasted bread slices on plates. Top with generous spoonfuls of the tomato bean mixture, then sprinkle with Parmesan or nutritional yeast and thyme. Enjoy immediately.

Now that you've made bean toast, try making bean brownies:

We're calling it: Lupini beans are the gut-healthy superfood of 2020. Then find out how to reap the nutritional rewards of black beans—without the digestive discomfort.

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