Tomato & Bean Gratin

Cooking time
Serves4 people
Vegetarians Vegans Gluten-free diets
Tomato & Bean Gratin

A duo of creamy beans – cannellini and borlotti – are simmered in a veg-packed tomato sauce then topped with hazelnuts to make this hearty vegan gratin. You'll bake it till golden and bubbling and serve it with a peppery mixed salad on the side. The gratin can be frozen so you can have beans today, tomorrow and next week, if you like.


  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 x 400g tins of cannellini beans
  • 2 x 400g tins of borlotti beans
  • A handful of basil
  • 1 tbsp Italian herb blend
  • 690g passata
  • 25g hazelnuts, chopped

Prep: 20 mins | Cook: 25 mins

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1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Peel and finely chop the onion. Trim the carrots and finely chop them too (no need to peel unless you prefer to). Trim and dice the celery sticks to match. Trim the dry base from the fennel bulb and pick off any feathery fronds (save them for later). Finely chop the fennel bulb. Peel and crush or finely chop the garlic.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large ovenproof pan – if your pan isn’t ovenproof, start the cooking in a pan or frying pan and then transfer to an ovenproof dish. When it’s hot add the onion, carrots, celery and fennel (don’t season them yet, as the Italian herb blend contains salt). Reduce the heat to medium and cook gently for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, till the veg have softened and started to brown.
3. While the veg cook, drain the cannellini and borlotti beans. Rinse them under cold water. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces.
4. Add the garlic and Italian herb blend to the veg and cook for another 1 min, stirring. Add half the basil leaves. Pour in the passata and tip in the drained beans. Rinse the passata jar with 100ml cold water and add this to the pan. Bring up to a simmer, then take off the heat. Taste and add a pinch of salt and pepper or a pinch of sugar, if you think it needs it.
5. Either leave in the pan or transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the chopped hazelnuts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 mins till the nuts are brown and the beans are bubbling.
6. Serve the gratin scooped into warm bowls or on warm plates, garnished with the remaining basil and the feathery fennel fronds.
7. A Spoonful of Sugar
Seasoning tomato-based sauces with a pinch of sugar can help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, giving you a smoother tasting sauce. You can use any sugar, or even a dash of maple or agave syrup – just add it at the end, stir to mix, then wait 30 secs before tasting to check the sauce has a balanced mix of flavours.
8. Love Your Leftovers
The gratin will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge in airtight tubs. Divide between tubs, seal and store. Reheat in the microwave till piping hot. The gratin can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight before reheating.
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