I've had this recipe from Cooking Light saved for almost a year now. I never got around to making it last winter, and once it turned warm I was waiting for a nice fall day to give it a try. When I put this on the menu for tonight, I was anticipating a nice fall day. Instead I got temperatures in the 80s. Oh well. I went ahead and made it anyway and it was worth heating up the kitchen for. This casserole is super easy to toss together and it hearty and delicious. I stirred in about 2 cups of spinach for a little extra nutrition and added some shredded pecorino romano to the breadcrumb topping. It was a perfect fall meal, even in Indian summer.
Sausage and Bean Casserole
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (16-ounce) package light smoked turkey sausage (such as Hillshire Farm), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf (I omitted)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
3 (1-ounce) slices white bread (I used breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I omitted)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and turkey sausage to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until browned. Add garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar, tomato paste, dried thyme, freshly ground black pepper, cannellini beans, and bay leaf. Add ground red pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 1/2 cups.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over bean mixture, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until browned. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.