This vegetarian cannellini bean cassoulet is a tasty meat-free version of the traditional French cassoulet. Made with white beans, asparagus, and mushrooms, included below are vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free modifications to this hearty vegetarian stew.
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What Is A French Cassoulet
Having spent three years living in Spain, just 45 minutes from the French border, I find myself cooking French-inspired cuisine more often. I used to be intimidated by French cooking. I now find it isn’t so scary.
A traditional cassoulet is a rich, French stew made with meat and beans. Meats include sausages, goose, and even duck – that’s very French.
It’s hearty and heavy, like much French cuisine. By eliminating the meat and meat broth, this vegetarian version is a great alternative. It’s a lot quicker to make, and of course, eliminates the meat.
Check out our other French-inspired recipes:
Or, check out this grilled asparagus recipe for something easy and classic.
What Is A Vegetarian White Bean Cassoulet
Typically, recipes call for any variety of white beans for cassoulet. This can include cannellini beans, northern beans, or local French varieties. This means there is plenty of protein in the dish without adding the typical meats.
It’s easy to make a bean cassoulet vegetarian, although Eric did want me to throw in some pork sausages we had lying around. Instead, I used big beefy mushrooms to add some heft to the dish, olive oil for fat, and vegetable broth instead of meat stock.
What Mushrooms To Pair With Cassoulet With White Beans
Any typical white button mushrooms will work with this dish. Chanterelle mushrooms could also work. For this version, I used a local mushroom, gírgoles, which probably is most similar to a chubby version of a chanterelle, but white in color.
If using button mushrooms, I prefer to cook them whole or just cut in half. This gives some bulk to the recipe. If they are sliced too small, they tend to almost disintegrate in the stew.
The important thing about cooking most mushrooms is to let them sit and sweat without too much movement.
Ingredients For This Vegetarian White Bean Cassoulet Recipe
Cannellini beans, or white beans, form the base of this stew and are the primary protein. By using canned or jarred beans, this recipe becomes super quick to make.
Instead of all of the meat normally used in a cassoulet, the vegetarian version uses mushrooms and asparagus. Cut the ends off of the asparagus and then cut them into bite-sized pieces. The liquid includes any dry white wine as well as a bit of vegetable broth.
Seasoning And Spices
The dish starts with a base of olive oil, along with garlic and shallots. The shallots should be diced thin. The garlic should be pressed or minced. I like to use a garlic press so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the stew. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
In addition to salt and pepper, the only other seasoning comes from herbs de Provence. You can find herbs de Provence in the spice aisle at most grocery stores. It’s a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram. If you don’t have herbs de Provence at home, using any combination of the above is fine, including dried oregano and dried thyme.
A typical cassoulet includes a bit of breadcrumb on the top. The breadcrumbs eventually blend into the broth and make it super tasty. Here, any dried breadcrumbs you have in the house are sufficient. Mixed with a little black pepper, olive oil, and shredded or grated parmesan cheese it makes a perfect topping for the stew.
How To Make This Cannellini Bean Cassoulet Recipe
Cooking The Asparagus
Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a dutch oven or another oven-safe dish. Add the asparagus, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of salt, which will tenderize the asparagus and bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables.
There is no need to cook the asparagus all the way through because it will have more time to cook later. It’s just to give it a head start so it’s not too crunchy in the final product. After about 5 minutes, remove the asparagus and set it aside.
Cooking The Cassoulet
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the dutch oven. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots start to soften.
Add the mushrooms and white wine. Stir well and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. There’s no need to constantly stir the mushrooms. Allow them to settle and sweat. While cooking the mushrooms, set the oven to broil.
Making The Breadcrumbs
While the mushrooms cook, prepare the breadcrumb topping. In a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs, cheese, olive oil, and black pepper. Stir with a fork until the bread crumbs absorb the oil. They don’t need to be wet or damp.
Finishing The Cannellini Bean Cassoulet
Returning to the dutch oven, the mushrooms are ready when you no longer smell a strong wine aroma. Add the vegetable broth, herbs de Provence, and white beans. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the beans are warmed through.
If you want to thicken the sauce, remove two tablespoons of white beans and mash them with a fork. Return the mashed beans to the pot and stir well.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Using oven mitts, carefully place the dutch oven in the oven to broil uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts and the breadcrumbs start to brown. Watch the oven carefully, because this can happen pretty darn quick.
Serve the cassoulet with crusty bread to dip into the broth.
- 1 bunch (about one pound) asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 10-16 ounces of mushrooms, whole or sliced in half
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence or 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 15 ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Black pepper
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a dutch oven or another oven-safe dish. Add the asparagus, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. After about 5 minutes, remove the asparagus and set it aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the dutch oven. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots start to soften.
- Add the mushrooms and white wine. Stir well and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
- Set the oven to broil.
- In a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs, cheese, olive oil, and black pepper. Stir with a fork until the bread crumbs absorb the oil.
- Returning to the dutch oven, the mushrooms are ready when you no longer smell a strong wine aroma. Add the vegetable broth, herbs de Provence, and white beans. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the beans are warmed through.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Using oven mitts, carefully place the dutch oven in the oven to broil uncovered 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts and the breadcrumbs start to brown.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 675Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 778mgCarbohydrates: 103gFiber: 34gSugar: 29gProtein: 39g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Modifications And Variations
Making this vegetarian cassoulet is already making some pretty significant modifications and variations from the original, authentic French recipe. But, there are a few more modifications that can be made for dietary restrictions.
To make this a vegan bean cassoulet, just skip the parmesan cheese. Double the amount of olive oil to mix into the breadcrumbs so that they are a little more moist.
To make this vegetarian cassoulet beans recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs. Or, just sprinkle the stew with cheese and skip the bread all together.
To make this a more traditional cassoulet, add some pork sausage links. Cut the sausage into bite-sized pieces. Cook them in the dutch oven first, before the asparagus. Once you cook the sausage, place the sausage to the side. Add the sausage back into the stew at the same time as the white beans.