Vegetarian Tuscan Beans

Beans, greens, and pork have a natural affinity for each other and combine to make several yummy dishes. But what if you are a vegetarian? Or trying to cut back on saturated fat for health reasons? When I first became a vegetarian (about 20 years ago) I just left out the meat. Needless to say, that left the dish tasting a little flat. So, putting my Home Economist hat on I created this “better than the original” version of Tuscan Beans. This recipe can also be found in my new book, Homestyle Favorites Made Meatless (available soon!).

Tuscan Beans

Saute one clove of minced garlic and one stalk of minced celery in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until soft (about 5 minutes).

In a large bowl, gently stir together 2 (15 oz) cans of drained cannellini beans, 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp dried sage, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 cup of vegetarian ham, 3 cups of fresh baby spinach leaves, and the garlic/celery mixture.

Spoon into a greased, 2 quart casserole dish, cover, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through. Voila! Done and ready to eat. Makes 4 hearty servings.


  • It will seem impossible to stir in the spinach leaves at first. That’s ok. Just stir the dish after about 15 minutes of baking when the spinach has started to wilt.
  • One reason I love this dish is that the spinach stays nice and bright green and doesn’t get slimy. It’s a good dish if you want to eat more greens but aren’t really crazy over greens.
  • You can use a variety of products for the vegetarian ham. You could use ham flavored TVP (but beware of the trans-fats in this product), or chop sliced deli-style vegetarian ham, or use chopped tempeh. I made my own Tofu Ham. It was delicious.

Tofu Ham Recipe

Press one pound of extra firm tofu until most of the water has been removed. Cut into small dices. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and spread the tofu dices in the dish. Combine 1/4 cup tamari, 1 Tbsp liquid smoke, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp dijon mustard. Pour over the tofu. Bake at 300 degrees for two hours or until all the sauce is absorbed, turning tofu at least once. Cool and use in any  dish that calls for vegetarian ham.

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

Comments (1)

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  1. This is a awesome write-up, im happy I came across this. Ill be back again later on to check out other posts that you have on your blog.

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