Navy Bean Gratin with Pesto and Tomatoes

I had a lovely evening with dear friends and my folks last night. We met for dinner at a new Mexican restaurant that was so cheery and colorful I couldn't stop craning my neck to look at everything. The pico de gallo was fresh as can be, and everything was savory and piping hot.

Afterward we gather at my parent's house and got cozy in the living room with steaming cups of tea and quilts to chuckle our way through a witty episode of Nero Wolfe. :-) It was a grand way to spend a winter's eve. :-)

I've been experimenting with beans and grains a lot lately, wanting to make hearty yet nutritious things that taste good and stick to my ribs. I also wanted to use this marvy blue pot I found at a thrift store a while back. :-)

I found such a dish by combining earthy navy beans with springy pesto, perky tomatoes and ricotta cheese. It is nothing to look at, I'll admit, but the flavor is quite splendid, reminiscent of a rich lasagna.

 Navy Bean Gratin with Pesto and Tomatoes


1 bag dried navy beans, soaked (quick method or overnight)
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
6+ cups vegetable or chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/2-1 cup pesto
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup ricotta cheese

  1. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in soup pot over medium-high heat, then add onion, bay leaves and thyme. Cook 3-5 minutes until onions are soft and beginning to brown.
  2. Add beans and 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth and simmer about 30 minutes until beans are nearly tender. Season with 1 tsp salt and cook for 15 minutes more. Let cool in broth.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil a 2 quart baking dish. 
  4. Combine remaining ingredients, stirring gently until well incorporated. 
  5. Pour into baking dish and bake about 35 minutes.


  1. It's looks very good in your lovely blue bowls. :)

  2. Aw, thanks, Amuse. :-) I do so love my blue bowls. :-)

  3. That sounds delicious! I can see serving it over a brown and wild rice mix. I need to see if I have some Navy beans.

    That is a neat looking blue bean pot.

    Enjoy the rest of your week and I hope you are feeling better.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  4. It's really yummy, Flower Lady! :-) Yes, it would taste grand over rice!

    Last night was bad but today is a new day and I'm feeling better. :-) Thanks muchly for the hugs. :-)

  5. What a lovely night you had with your family!

    This dish sounds delicious...although how could it not be if YOU made it?

  6. that looks fantastic and cozy. a wonderful bowl of goodness!
    ps. do try the PB cookie recipe and let me know what you think. :)

  7. It sure was, Joanne! :-) And I liked this dish very much. :-)

  8. Thank you, Tia! I will definitely try those cookies! I can't wait to sink my teeth into them. :-)

  9. So muc of super delicious and beautiful pics......i always walk away hungry from ur blog.....:-))))and love it!!!!

  10. I love beans and these sound delicious. I have a bunch of basil rapidly aging in my fridge that will now go to good use. Yum!

  11. I'm SO glad you love it, Vanilla! :-) So glad we can bring such joy to each other. :-)

  12. Oh, I'm so glad you have the ingredients on hand, Deanna! I hope you like the bean dish. :-)

  13. What a beautiful gratin Krista! I've never seen a bean gratin but I can totally see how brilliant it is! :D

  14. This looks wonderfully warm and comforting. And I love your beautiful blue pot. So cute and cozy. The right dishes make everything so much more fun! I bet this would be great with some yummy egg noodles, or even just a hunk of crusty bread.