Vegetarian Italian Butter Bean Bake

Vegetarian Italian Butter Bean Bake

This Italian Butter Bean Bake is warm, comforting and creamy while being entirely gluten free with an option for dairy free as well. I love this dish as a hearty side, or you could even serve it as a vegetarian main!

Keep the cheesy marinara, but swap out the pasta for butter beans. This makes for a much friendlier macronutrient profile. By making this trade, you’ll be upping the dish’s protein and fiber while cutting the carbs nearly in half.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the ingredients and how they come together to make something that’s not just delicious, but nourishing and healthy.

Garlic and onions are in the allium family, which have traditionally been used as medicinals for healing. Flavonols from alliums have been demonstrated to have antioxidant, anticancer, hypolipidemic, anti-diabetic, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, and antimicrobial activities.

Extra virgin olive oil is a rich source of polyphenols. Research surrounding the benefits of EVOO is well-established, showing it to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, insulin-sensitizing, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, and anticancer properties.

Basil provides a punch of greens, packed with antioxidants and polyphenols. Just ensure when you’re buying a pesto that the ingredients include extra virgin olive oil as opposed to a highly processed vegetable or seed oil.

You’ll also want to check out the marinara ingredients. A surprising amount of red sauces on the market contain hidden and added sugars. Go with a no sugar added (and organic, if possible!) marinara sauce. I love getting mine from Thrive Market

Food really is medicine. Every time I make a dish for my family, I’m aiming to balance blood sugar and optimize nutrition. If you’d like to learn more about my fuss free approach to eating for well being, check out my video course The Fab Four Fundamentals!

  • Prep Time

    5 minutes

  • Total Time

    20 minutes

  • Servings


  • Freezer Friendly



  • 2 cans organic butter beans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (code KELLYSFAVORITES for 15% off your order of $40 or more)
  • ½ cup vegan pesto
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (vegan option: Daiya cheese)


  1. Rinse and drain butter beans.
  2. In a pan on medium high heat, sweat minced garlic cloves and sauté onions in olive oil. Stir continuously until onions are translucent and the garlic is aromatic.
  3. Pour baked beans into sautéed pan and stir to warm. Allow onion, garlic, and olive oil to mix thoroughly with beans for 2-5 minutes.
  4. Transfer beans to bottom of baking dish.
  5. Cover with your favorite marinara sauce.
  6. Place spoonful sized toppings of pesto over the beans.
  7. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and place in broiler or oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.