Back in late August, I took a trip to San Francisco and the wine country with three of my very good friends. Naturally, we bought a good bit of wine while we were there. Since most parts of the country were still sweltering, we didn’t really want to have it shipped back to us immediately for fear that it would end up spending too much time on a hot truck during transport. Lucky for us, we were able to make a local connection that was happy to hold on to our purchases and ship them to Nashville once the temperature dropped.

As soon as November arrived, so did our wine. This called for a little reunion party to divvy up the goods!

We each planned to bring some sort of small bite to nibble on while we looked at photos from the trip and uncorked a few bottles of our wine. About an hour before the party, my friend Lisa called me to tell me she’d had an unexpectedly busy day and wasn’t going to have time to make anything for the party. Instead, she’d grabbed a couple of  jars of Trader Joe’s giant white beans from her pantry and was heading to my house. Her idea was to try to recreate a dish we’d adored on our trip, Nopa’s Wood Baked Giant White Beans appetizer, and she was hoping that perhaps I had the other ingredients we’d need.

The Nopa version is baked with tomatoes, feta cheese and oregano, then topped with breadcrumbs. Since the Trader Joe’s giant beans come in a sauce of chopped tomatoes, carrots, onions, and spices, I opted not to add any more tomatoes or spices. We didn’t want the dish to be too saucy, so we drained much of the liquid without losing any of the little bits of veggies. One ingredient I was missing was the feta cheese, but had plenty of goat cheese on hand, so we used it instead. While our version didn’t turn out exactly like Nopa’s, we all thought it was just as delicious!

Since that wine country reunion party in November I’ve made this dish several times. It’s great as an appetizer, a side dish, or even a main dish, which is the way I’ve eaten it most. A simple preparation, quick to bake, and a short list of ingredients make it an easy weeknight meal when paired with a side salad….a perfect Meatless Monday meal!


Giant White Beans with Goat Cheese and Pesto

Serves 3-6, depending on if served as an appetizer, side dish, or main dish.


2 - 12 oz jars Trader Joe's Giant White Beans (Fasolia Gingantes)
5 tsp pesto, divided
2.5 oz goat cheese
1/3 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain liquid off of giant beans. Empty 1 jar of drained beans into a 1 quart oven-proof serving dish. Break up goat cheese into small chunks. Drop half of the goat cheese chunks on layer of beans. Spread 2 teaspoons of pesto on top of this goat cheese/bean layer. Empty second jar of drained beans on top of that layer. Drop remaining chunks of goat cheese on top of beans, then spread 2 more teaspoons of pesto on top of that layer of beans and cheese. Sprinkle panko crumbs on top of mixture. Add last teaspoon of pesto to center of top layer of panko.

Bake for 20 minutes, then turn oven on broil and broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and serve!

17 Responses to “Meatless Monday: Giant White Beans with Goat Cheese and Pesto”

  1. 1

    Tweets that mention Eat. Drink. Smile. » Meatless Monday: Giant White Beans with Goat Cheese and Pesto -- — February 14, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Beth Sachan, Susan Rice. Susan Rice said: Meatless Monday: Giant White Beans with Goat Cheese and Pesto: Back in early September, I took a trip to San Fr… […]

  2. 2

    Katie @ The Well-Fed Newlyweds — February 14, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, I love every one of those ingredients. I am so happy that I was already planning to go to Trader Joe’s today. I’m adding those ingredients to my list. Thanks for the great recipe idea!

    • Beth replied: — February 14th, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

      Can’t wait to see what you think! Such an easy way to fancy up a dish :-)

  3. 3

    Melanie Flinn — February 14, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

    Those look yummy! I wonder if I can find the beans somewhere else since we don’t have a TJ’s nearby. I love anything with goat cheese!!

    • Beth replied: — February 14th, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

      I would think that you’d be able to find a similar version in another grocery. Maybe a Greek market or specialty store? If you can’t find them in a jar or can, then you should be able to at least find some sort of giant dried bean that would work. Of course, then you’d need to add some tomato and seasonings…. Good luck hunting!

  4. 4

    ricejen — February 15, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    Can’t wait to make these! I always love getting the big beans from the Whole Foods olive bar but will have to try the TJ version too. Thanks!

  5. 5

    Ally Garner — February 15, 2011 @ 11:09 am

    I’m a Trader Joe’s addict, but have never seen the giant white beans. Will be getting some pronto tho. This looks delicious! I made a ton of pesto over the summer & haven’t touched a drop of it this Fall & Winter. Such a perfect excuse to dig it outta my freezer. Fantastic versatile recipe Beth-many thanks!

    • Beth replied: — February 15th, 2011 @ 11:16 am

      You should be able to find them on the same aisle as the canned beans, but they’ll be next to the chutneys, etc. Enjoy~

  6. 6

    Heather @Gluten-Free Cat — February 15, 2011 @ 11:24 am

    I’ve never even heard of giant white beans! I’m glad you showed them on a spood for perspective. They’re truly gigantic! Yay for TJ’s! I need to try this with gf breadcrumbs, because I love all of the ingredients. Must taste amazing.

  7. 7

    Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking — February 15, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    This is such a great looking recipe. I am really looking forward to trying this because we really like meatless meals. Reading your post reminded me of when we lived in California. We loved going to the Bay area to eat and enjoy all the great things San Francisco has to offer. We always enjoyed going to Napa also and when you go back there if you haven’t eaten at Taylor’s Refresher you are in for a real treat. I am having my first giveaway and I would love for you to check it out.

  8. 8

    ashleynashville3 — February 15, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

    i am definitely making this for my parents when they are in town next weekend!

  9. 9

    Erin — February 15, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

    About to throw the ingredients together right now! Thanks Beth!

    • Beth replied: — February 15th, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

      Bon appetit’!

  10. 10

    val — February 16, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

    This looks amazing!!

  11. 11

    Friday links « Whitbull — March 9, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

    […] easy and delicious meatless dish recipe. And you can get all the ingredients at Trader […]

  12. 12

    Amy — March 13, 2012 @ 7:16 pm

    I made this tonight – it was so good! Instead of draining the beans I just added 1/4 cup almost cooked lentils to help absorb the extra liquid. I’m already planning for the next time I make it!

    • Beth replied: — March 13th, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

      What a great idea. Thanks for the feedback…I’ll try that the next time I make it!

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