Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons

Croutons epitomize my every at-bat in middle school softball: high potential, terrible execution. While my athleticism has only declined, I am happy to report that croutons have been redeemed by Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan CroutonsIn theory, croutons should be one of the best things in life: lightly crunchy bread that adds texture, soaks up flavor, and express delivers them both to my taste buds in carb form. In practice, most are dry little bread rocks that scrape the roof of my mouth and are too solid to spear with a fork. At best, I eat them with my fingers when no one is watching. At worst, a failed fork-to-crouton harpoon session sends one flying out of my Caesar salad and into my neighboring diner’s wine glass. This is no proper way for food to behave.

Croutons, I believe in your potential, and I have found it in Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. A gorgeous one-pan vegetarian meal! #vegetarian #tomato

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. An easy, healthy one-pan meal your whole family will loveForget the hockey-puck bread scraps too brittle to be stabbed with a fork. The croutons in Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons are lightly toasted little sponges, drenched in the fresh juices of vibrant summer tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic. When combined with creamy white beans, spinach, fresh basil, and a smother of Parmesan cheese, humble croutons are elevated from forgettable topping to one-skillet-dinner star.

Let’s ignore that tooth-cracking bag of store-bought croutons that has been aging on your shelf since last Thanksgiving. Grab a loaf of hearty bakery bread, and let’s make our own! Loaf becomes slice; slice becomes cubes. We are on our way to killer croutons.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. One of our family's favorite dinners!The croutons are the vehicle, and fresh summer tomatoes are the flavor special. Any size, color, and shape of tomato will be absolutely lovely. Go on a spree for heirlooms at the farmers market; raid your (or your neighbor’s) garden; grab the brightest jewels you can find at the grocery store.  Bring them home and admire them. This is what late summer is all about.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. Perfect recipe for summer tomatoesNow that we’ve appreciated the tomatoes, it’s onto chopping and toasting. Bread cubes are lightly sautéed in olive oil to become croutons. Tomatoes are chopped. White beans and basil stand ready. Parmesan is on hand for the ooey-gooey.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. Easy, healthy, one-pan mealOnce the croutons are toasted, we add the tomatoes, white beans, spinach and basil to the same skillet. As the tomatoes cook, their juices break down and the croutons drink them up, creating a summer-soaked tomato bake that is a bit like a savory bread pudding. With the addition of the white beans and spinach, we have a satisfying and balanced main dish, all in one skillet. This is my favorite kind of meal.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. Easy, healthy, and only needs one pan!Dear croutons, you have been redeemed, thanks to Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons.

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons. A family favorite and you only need one pan!Now…anyone have tips to save my softball swing?

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons

A tomato "casserole" of croutons baked with juicy tomatoes, spinach, white beans, and Parmesan cheese. Your entire family will love this healthy one-pan meal!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups, 1/2-inch-diced bread (use a good, crusty whole grain bakery loaf or sourdough)
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed with excess moisture pressed out
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Place rack in the upper third of oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large and deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.
  3. To the skillet, add the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes break down.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the beans, spinach, and basil until well mixed. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Enjoy hot or warm.

More marvelous skillet meals:

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

98 comments

  1. This is my kinda dinner! YUM!

  2. Sadly, I’m not the one to give any tips on saving a baseball swing…but I can definitely get to know this tomato casserole as my MIL just gave me like 5 pounds of tomatoes. You solved my worries on what to make with them!

  3. Paul would totally agree with you on the croutons thing. LOVING them in this dish. Such good flavors!

  4. Lovin’ everything I can do with tomatoes these days. This looks so perfect for me!
    Perfect Meatless Monday meal. :)
    Happy Monday Erin!

  5. Erin, yes!! make your own croutons. . for sure! loved your whole intro on this! and I love this Skillet Tomato Casserole . . oh my gawd, looks so good! love that you added white beans and spinach. . fabulous and looks so delicious!

  6. This looks divine! I bought so many tomatoes yesterday at the farmer’s market and I cannot wait to use them in this. Your assessment of croutons is spot on! Pinning this for dinner this week! :)

  7. Yum! What a perfect dish to highlight those summer tomatoes :)

  8. MMMM!!! You could put an egg on it and have it for brunch, too!!

  9. [email protected] Reply

    This sounds wonderful! Do you think I could use fresh spinach? This is definitely on the menu this week!

  10. This reminds me of a summer cassoulet! I love it!

  11. This is totally the perfect end of summer dinner! Love Lauren’s idea of adding an egg! Yum!

  12. Mmm…this looks fantastic!! It looks like total summer comfort food, but healthy! I agree with your assessment that most croutons are pretty lackluster and disappointing. I’ve never made my own, but now that I see how simple they are, I’m not sure why I haven’t!

  13. Umm hello gorgeous tomato skillet.

  14. Such a great way to use the great summer tomatoes!

  15. This looks very yummy and love the idea of an egg or 2 on top.

    As for your softball swing–I will offer the sage advice of hunky Mulder to his beloved Scully in one of my fave X-Files eps, as he was teaching her how to hit a baseball: “KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL, SCULLY. AND HIPS BEFORE HANDS, HIPS BEFORE HANDS!” ;)

  16. This is the perfect casserole to end the summer break with, love it!

  17. Emma's Little Kitchen Reply

    I can not wait to try this Erin! All the best things- cheese, beans, tomatoes AND crunchy croutons. Yum!

  18. This looks so good Erin! All my favorite things in one skillet! Can’t wait to try it!

  19. I can make up some tips on how you can save your softball swing if I can eat this whole casserole – deal? :)

  20. This casserole looks absolutely delicious! I must try this!

  21. Wow, I love croutons and casseroles, can’t wait to try this one.

  22. Simply gorgeous. Thanks for making dinner planning so easy for me ;). Can’t wait to make this and dig in!!!

  23. Adding this to our menu for next week. I love cozy dishes like this that span the gap between summer and fall!

  24. HI Erin, what a great dish, love everything about it, tried to pin, but for some reason not able to, thought I would let you know.

    • Hi Cheri, Thanks so so much for letting me know! Were you trying to use one of the buttons on the images, at the top of the post or at the bottom? The buttons are working for me, so maybe try refreshing the page? Sorry for the hassle!

  25. This looks FAN-tastic! Will definitely be trying this out with the tomatoes growing in my garden! Thanks Erin!

  26. My husband would love love love this casserole! He adores croutons (as do I!).

  27. Ha! I can so relate about the softball thing. Pretty sure I’m hopeless. Maybe I’ll just work on my croutons? I think yes.

  28. Yuuum! This is my kind of dish. I need to make this for dinner this week and eat the leftovers (which I know will only taste better) the next morning with an egg.

  29. The story you have crafted here about this dish has me drooling. I need to have this in my life soon!

  30. Yum! What a healthy and tasty looking dinner!

  31. I wish I could say I was better at softball too. But girlfriend – you hit a homerun with these!

  32. I was picturing Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman with the snails while reading your tale of flying croutons! I’m a huge fan of toasted bread, tomatoes, and any white beans, so I’m getting hungry all over again looking at these photos!

    And as for softball…I was hit in the head with a routine grounder when I tried out for the team in high school, so I’m probably the last person you should ask for advice!

    • SUCH a funny image in Pretty Woman, and yes that’s exactly how I feel about eating croutons! Also, getting hit with a grounder?? That’s rough Luci. I vote we chill in the dugout and paint our nails ;-)

  33. Yes! I totally agree with you on the mouth-scraping croutons. But I still somehow always hold out hope that they will be something like yours…this dish looks like the most amazingly perfect dinner ever.

  34. This sounds divine… oh how I miss eating beans (can’t eat them while breast feeding)! Pinned this for next year when beans can be back in my diet again! :)

  35. I’m totally with you on the crouton thing. I think the key is making them from fresh bread and not buying them in a bag at the grocery store. I have no doubt that this casserole is weaseling it’s way into my heart and dinner rotation…this week.

  36. This looks just delicious! Such a great flavor combo!

  37. White beans, tomatoes, bread, and cheese are some of my favorite comfort foods. I will definitely be making this dish this fall. And I agree–hard croutons are the worst. These homemade whole grain croutons are a dream though!

  38. Now this is what I call dinner!!! Dying for a plate, with an egg on top!!!

  39. You had me at savory bread pudding, well actually, you had me at crouton.:) Regardless, I totally agree, store-bought, hockey-like croutons should be abolished from all diets. Homemade is the only way to go, and homemade in a tomato casserole, well, that’s just about as close to crouton heaven as you can get!

  40. Oh yes, Erin! This looks like my next dinner! I am so excited to find this What a fresh way to eat all of your veggies and nutrients! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  41. Too funny, it never fails that I’ll have a salad with croutons and one will go flying They just don’t being stabbed with a fork :D
    I love this dish. It is one delicious looking meal. Pinning

  42. looks delicious! i love cooking in skillets too.. definitely inspired to make a skiller casserole now.

  43. Erin, this dish looks wicked delicious. Hand over that wooden spoon.

  44. Oh man, this looks just awesome! A good crouton (or a bad one..) can really make all the difference. But one thing is certain, fresh is best! : )

  45. Awhhhh Yeah!!! :) I cant wait for summer, the tomatoes avail at the moment are not fabulous. This dish on the other hand… yeasss please!!! I could sustitute the spinach for kale for extra delish. :)

  46. Finally made this for dinner tonight — total win for the fam!
    I was afraid that my guys wouldn’t be satisfied without more carbs so I boiled 1 lb of spaghetti and served this on top of it. They LOVED it! They asked for seconds of JUST THE TOMATO dish!!
    I had to make a few substitutions for: no basil, used parsley; no spinach, used, well, gulp, something that added sweetness and crunch and zero vitamin a/wasn’t leafy or green — fresh corn scraped off the cob (languishing in the crisper, I HAD to do it!).
    All in all, seasoning was right on. Cheese was perfect amount. Croutons: life-changing!

    • Marina! I’m so happy that your family loved this recipe and that you took inspiration to make it your own too. I cracked up at the comment about “more carbs” (your boys sound like gentlemen after my own heart), and I love that you used right-from-the-cob sweet corn. It’s one of my favorite summer treats and deserves to be celebrated. Wishing you all the best. Thanks for taking time to share your review!

  47. Think it could be done without the cheese?

    • Hi Pam! Definitely! Just taste it once it’s ready to see if you need a bit more salt, since the Parmesan itself is pretty salty, so you might need to make up for its absence. Hope you enjoy :)

  48. This sounds fabulous – pinning!

  49. It’s like a baked panzanella. Digging the fresh flavors with crouton bites.

  50. Hi Erin, As you can probably tell we are totally digging your taste over here! Made this dish this week as well and oh my goodness, with the cheese, basil, tomato, creamy beans, it’s such a wonderful, flavorful, comforting summer dish. The leftovers are just as good, if not better… I used fresh spinach as it’s what I had on hand, but next time will probably go with frozen because mixing in 10oz of leaves was kind of a challenge. I laughed to myself as everything was overflowing, “there’s a good reason Erin used frozen…!” haha.
    For sure we will make this one again too! Thanks again!

    • Ana, hooray! I feel like I’m in your kitchen, and I totally love it. (That was supposed to be friendly not creepy, lol.) As always, thank you so much for trying my recipes and taking time to leave your review here. You’re the best!

  51. Love this recipe. It is the best thing I’ve made in months. Using fresh basil makes a huge difference. Thank you Erin

    • Hi Gerard! I’m so happy to hear that you tried and enjoyed this recipe! It’s one of our new favorites. Thanks for taking time to let me know how it turned out for you. Have a great day!

  52. I made this, added some bacon and eggs on top like someone else suggested. It was delicious. Thank you for a great recipe to use up the summer tomatoes

    • Hi Breanne! I’m so happy you tried and enjoy these recipe, and I bet the bacon and eggs were amazing. Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out for you!

      • I would love to try this but do you know the calorie intake?

        • Hi Sarah! I don’t actually calculate the calorie intake for any of my recipes, for a variety of reasons (details on my FAQ page, if you like: http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/faqs/). I do know that many free online calorie calculators are available, and while I don’t recommend one particular, I have heard good things about My Fitness Pal. I know that’s not the answer you were hoping for, but I hope that at least gets you started in the right direction, if calorie count is important to you.

  53. Laura Strickland Reply

    Hi Erin!  This dish looks amazing- I’m wondering what kind of skillet you recommend using-would the 
    Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 11-3/4-Inch Skillet that you recommend in your “store” be deep enough?  Loving your recipes- thank you!

    • Hi Laura! Great question. I honestly feel like that might be a little small. You could do it, but I would be worried about things flipping out. I try to pick something a little bit bigger if you can, just to make it easier on yourself. I hope you love the recipe! It’s one of my favorites :-)

  54. Oh man, I loved this recipe! It wasn’t a ton of work but it sure seemed fancy. I wished I had company over to help me eat it! I recommended this on my blog today: http://healthylittlechanges.com/2015/05/28/recipes-whole-foods-italian-three-ways/. I’ve linked to you for the recipe and given you full credit. Do you mind if I use one of your beautiful photos? Again, I’m fully crediting your excellent work :)

  55. This dish looks awesome but I have the same question as Laura Strickland; what type of pan/skillet do you use? I have a 5.5 quart Le Creuset French Oven as well as some T-Fal non-stick cookware that is oven safe to 350.

  56. Amazing. The boyfriend wants this into the weekly rotation

  57. This recipe was so easy and so delicious. 

  58. This was delicious, easy and looked impressive – thank you!  I will make it again!

  59. Do you have any recommendations for substituting the croutons with quinoa. We aren’t really bread people (we are freaks of nature, I know), but this recipe looks so tasty and I want to try it. Would we cook the quinoa separate and add it before baking? 

  60. If you don’t want to use Northern beans, is there another type you think will work?

    • Hi Lauri! Any kind of white beans will work well here. White kidney and cannellini are two other great options. You could do chickpeas, though they will be much chewier and have a less neutral flavor. Personally, I prefer the softer texture of the northern, kidney or cannellini, but the choice is yours.

  61. Can I use canned diced tomatoes?

    • Hi Lindsay! I honestly would recommend fresh tomatoes. Since there are not very many ingredients in the dish, the flavor and texture of each is really important, and fresh will give you the best results.

  62. What a wonderful recipe. My wife and I just got two and a half pounds of tomatoes from our CSA and I needed to do something with them (I didn’t want to make any more sauce. I converted eleven pounds into sauce last week!) So I searched and found your recipe. Yummy! I added twice as much Parmesan, used canelli beans instead of Northerns, cubed up a high quality white bread (heresy) which I sautéed in ample olive oil. This recipe is going into the regular rotation of meals on our table. 

    • Bill, I am so happy to hear how much you and your wife enjoyed this recipe! I bet it tasted absolutely stellar with the CSA tomatoes. Thanks so much for sharing this kind review!

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