I want to be able to rock leopard-print leggings when I’m in my 60s.

There.  I said it.

You now know my deep dark secrets.


You see, on Monday, I mysteriously absented myself from class in order to go on a field trip to Whole Foods.  I had absolutely nothing to eat in my apartment and it was imperative that I go.  Right then.  That second.

Plus, all of our lectures are taped and put online so that I can watch them. In bed.  While snuggled up under five layers of blankets.

I learn better that way,


There are some crazy characters out during midday on 2nd Avenue.  Let me tell you.

One of whom was yours truly.  Who spotted a 60-ish year old woman walking down the street.  Wearing leopard-print leggings.  Without a care in the world.

And I thought.  That woman is a rock star.  I want to be her.  Not now. But in 36 years.

You should know that I just about live in leggings. But not patterned ones.  I’m not cool enough for patterned ones.  Maybe in 36 years.

Until then, it’s solid colors all the way.

I have this hot pink pair that I’ve told you about before and that my friend Andrew thinks are the most ridiculous things on this earth.  I try to wear them sparingly.  But some days call for hot pink and there’s really nothing you can do about it.  And that is that.

If you thought I was going to make some profound tie-in to this cannellini dish then you were wrong.  Oh so very wrong.  Other than that I was going to Whole Foods that day to purchase said cannellini beans (would you believe that not a single store on the Upper East Side had them?  And that I had to meander all the way down to Whole Foods on 14th street?  Sheesh).  And so without them, I would have never realized who I want to be when I grow up.

In other words, this dish was serendipitous.  In so many ways.  And delicious. In so many ways.  Comfort food that sticks to your soul and not to your thighs.  So that you can totally rock those leopard-print leggings.  At just about any age.


(I know some of you must have come here expecting something St. Patrick’s Day themed but I am the most disorganized person on this earth these days who barely knows what day of the week it is.  So here are some awesome recipes from last year!  Irish Beef and Guinness Stew, Bailey’s Irish Creme and Vanilla Tiramisu, and Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (chocolate stout cupcakes filled with a whiskey-infused ganache and topped with a Bailey’s buttercream frosting…yeah.  Awesome.)  Just, you know. Excuse the bad pictures.

Cannellini al Gratin
Serves 6, adapted from Vegetarian Times January 2011

1 1/2 lb dried cannellini beans
6 sprigs plus 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, divided
3 sprigs plus 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 medium onion, unpeeled, plus 1 large onion, diced
2 bulbs fennel, stalks and fronds removed and reserved, bulbs quartered and diced
12 cloves garlic, 6 halved and 6 minced
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 cups diced carrots
1 tsp white wine vinegar
3/4 cup coarsely grated grana padano or parmesan cheese (I used parm)
1/4-1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1. Soak beans in a large bowl of cold water, overnight.  Drain.

2. Put beans in a 6 qt Dutch oven or pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Tie together the thyme and parsley sprigs and add them to the pot.  Add the 1/2 onion, fennel stalks and fronds, and 6 halved cloves garlic.  Add a tbsp salt.  Partially cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until beans are just tender.  Drain beans, reserving the cooking liquid.  Discard herb bundle, fennel fronds and stalks, onion, and garlic cloves.  If using Dutch oven, clean it and wipe it out.

3. Preheat oven to 400.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add fennel and carrots and season with salt if desired.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add diced onion and cook, covered, for 6-8 minutes or until onion is soft and the bottom of pan is brown, stirring frequently.  Add minced garlic for 1 minute.  Remove pot from heat, stir in vinegar and use a spatula to scrape any browned bits from the bottom.  Add the beans, chopped thyme, chopped parsley, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and enough bean cooking liquid so that it reaches 1 1/2 inches below the top of the beans (for me this was 3/4 cup although VT recommends 1 1/2-2 cups).  Stir well to combine.

4. Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp olive oil into crumbs and combine to moisten breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle over the top of the Dutch oven.  Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes or until top is browned and juices have bubbled down below surface, leaving brown rim around edge of crust.  Cool at least 20-25 minutes to allow beans to absorb moisture.  Serve warm.

I am submitting this to My Legume Love Affair which is being hosted at Ammalu’s Kitchen.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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114 Responses to Cannellini al Gratin

  1. sofia says:

    i like that so many of these bizarro women exist in nyc. they serve as inspiration to us on-our-way-to-crazy folk. and i wish my classes were posted online – being a student while laying in bed sounds lovely. truly.

  2. Simply Life says:

    ha this is too fun and definitely something to strive for!

  3. Mmm, I heart grana padano! You will totally rock those leggings, girl!! if for no other reason than schlepping around NYC looking for cannellini beans!

  4. Tasha says:

    Yummy comfort food without all the guilt- I love it! Whatever it took to track down the cannellini beans, I think it was well worth it for a dish like this.

  5. This looks incredibly delicious. How did no one have cannelini beans?!

  6. So delicious. Comforting and easy! I love gratins but never thought of doing it with beans as the star. Oh and I bet if you toasted those beans in a little garlic oil before baking it would add another dimension of flavor! XO

  7. I love anything with beans, I have yet to try fennel though. It looks really good!

  8. Big Dude says:

    Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be going into your 80’s – you manage to make heathly food look and sound delicious.

  9. Dimah says:

    This sounds so good! Fantastic combination!

  10. I would take your delicious canneloni bean gratin over just about anuthing right now including cupcakes for St. Paddy’s Day. I think you would rock leopard tights but for now maybe just wear them under the blankets while watching video of class!!!!

  11. jenna laughs says:

    Can I just say – I hope you don’t wear leopard print leggings when you’re 60. Big hair and cigarettes are okay though.

    Also – holy 12 cloves of garlic!!

    This looks great 🙂

  12. A bean eating leopard?:)

    I see the big dutch oven is almost full, it should keep you happy for a few days

  13. Jo, I think you saw my mom on 2nd Ave, no lie.
    She is in her 60’s and wear leopard everything, way better than me!

    Loving this recipe and promise to try it.

  14. brandi says:

    um…could you come make this for me for lunch tomorrow? Thanks 🙂

  15. Oh yum and healthy all at the same time! Going to class is for the weak. Going to Whole Foods and seeing that woman in her leggings, now that’s an accomplishment!

  16. Lyndsey says:

    You crack me up! Living here in Sarasota it’s a resort town, so we get to see a lot of what you want to be when you grow up. 😀 I like the randomness of the intro, you didn’t have to tie it in to the recipe…I need to try that sometime The dish looks like an awesome confort meal, the trip to whole foods was worth it.

  17. MM says:

    My radar goes off when I see “gratin.” Never had a bean version!

  18. Its a very filling and protein packed food.

  19. Mo says:

    Your food speaks to my heart. Or, rather, my stomach. Which is totally more important than the heart, right?

    I looooooove cannellini beans. They are the best things on the planet and I will eat them in anything. This looks so good! 🙂

    PS – When I’m 60 I want to be the cool grandma who still wears jeans and can run as fast as her grandchildren. That’s my ultimate life goal, which is secretly the only reason I treat myself and my body so well. 😉

  20. daphne says:

    LOL…ah… isnt it a pity that sometimes ppl wait till they are older before embracing self?
    this dish certainly rock my world! esp with the goodness of beans!

  21. Katerina says:

    Believe me in 36 years you will dare to wear such leopard leggings. As years go by you just get rid of all the insecurities of youth and you dare many things forbitten in the past! Your cannellini beans are superb!

  22. Cannellini beans are among my favourite beans and this gratin sound yummy! I would never have thought of making gratin with legume and totally love the idea!

  23. Victoria says:

    Everything happens for a reason, and the lack of cannellini beans on the ues was definitely a way for you to run into your future self. And now you know. I set that whole thing up. You’re welcome.


    PS I’m sending Victoria directly to Hell for impersonating me.

  24. Ugh this looks SO delicious!! But what else is new with your blog? I need to try this 🙂

  25. I love to cook beans for my family because they are great source of protein. Your version sounds interesting and delicious! I’m sure my son will devour it!

  26. Dawn says:

    Mmm….I was thinking white beans and sauteed collards for dinner! And I’m sure you would look great in the leopard leggings even now!

  27. Leopard print leggings in your 60s! Yes please! Am I a total copycat if I decide to rock them as well? Do you mind??

  28. You have no idea how lousy the supermarkets are here in Rio. I struggle to find all the good stuff. I would kill for a Whole Foods near my house (or, at least, in my city)!

    Camila F.

  29. ASHLEA says:

    Lighter comfort foods are my favorite! This looks like it would just warm you right up. Yum!

  30. You’ll be much cooler than me when we’re in our 60’s. I plan on rocking sweat pants or stirrups. Leggings will cramp my style at the many buffets I plan on visiting 🙂

  31. That Girl says:

    If this story took place in brooklyn and not manhattan, and added 20 years, I would have informed you that you just saw my grandmother. And trust me, you don’t want to be wearing those outfits at that age. Or have your grandchildren worry you might show up to their wedding in a bathing suit.

  32. Kim says:

    I’m on my way right now to come raid your refrigerator for this cannellini gratin! You know how I love my beans and this looks unbelievably good.

    I live in leggings and yoga pants too.

  33. Amy says:

    Nope. Sorry. I have two rules (1) nobody over the age of 8 should be caught in leopard-striped pants or (2) overalls…unless it’s for Halloween.

    This recipe sort of reminds me of pasta fagioli, but without the pasta. You know how much I love cannellini beans – they are worth that extra walk.

  34. Christy says:

    It is good to have goals – and rockin’ leopardskin leggings seems worthwhile to me! What a yummy gratin – I think it was worth the schlepping you did!

  35. Megan says:

    So seredipitous! I wish you all the best in that venture. Maybe I’ll go for zebra-print leggings.

  36. Maria says:

    This looks like such a welcoming and warming dish! Beautiful!

  37. Karen says:

    12 cloves of garlic and beans! This is *my* kind of recipe 🙂

  38. Shannon says:

    i can’t believe no one had cannellini’s!! this looks amazing, totally up my alley (although, isn’t everything you make?). what happens in 36 years? I think you should rock hot pink or leopard print any day of all your years 🙂

  39. I have on classic black ones right now! I live in them but now think I need to add hot pink and and some prints to my collection! LOL!

    I’ll take beans and garlic any day!!!!

    Also – Did you like my cryptic comment on your last post? I am still having computer issues so sorry if I miss a post or two (hopefully I wont have to) I am hoping to get a new one soon – right now I am on a temp for just a bit UGH!!!!

  40. Great pictures, your dish looks fantastic! LOL, leopard prints! Gotta love the city! I love people watching in the city, it’s a great hobby!

  41. Tracy says:

    Mmm, looks delicious! Perfect comfort food!

  42. Candace says:

    I have some cannellini beans that have been waiting for this recipe, Joanne. You’re my hero!

    Did Jessica mention toasting beans in garlic oil first?! I’ve got to try that. I’ve never toasted my beans before cooking. Have you?

  43. Eden says:

    Your “bad” pictures look better than my best ones. So zip it!
    And I’m personally a little sick of seeing the same corned beef and guiness cupcakes of foodgawker, so these beans are refreshing. I’m considering just posting a bowl of lucky charms.

  44. Joanne says:

    If you’re starting a Leopard Print Leggings In Your 60s club, please sign me up. I’d like to rock them too 🙂

  45. I have leopard-print PJ’s that I have worn into Starbucks before 🙂 Probably doesn’t count…Another beautiful dish, just look at all of those goodies…gorgeous!

  46. Swathi says:

    I can imagine the print of leggings , this protein packed gratin is delicious. One to my do list.

  47. Kristin says:

    I hope when I get that old that I get that adventurous without a care. I am to timid to rock anything but plain leggings too. As for the food, package some up and send some my way. You food always looks so good, it is killing me. After every post I rummage through my kitchen starved.

  48. *drools* I wish I have the legs to wear animal print leggings!

  49. I have never, ever been able to rock leggings in any way, shape or form. My hips are just begging and pleading never to be seen in leggings I’m afraid. Listening to a lecture under the covers sounds much better than on a hard chair in a institutional type room with a million or so other people. Good idea and oh, the cannellini bean gratin looks FAB!

  50. Delicious baked pasta, it’s hard to resist something like this.

  51. Raina says:

    Leopard leggings…lol I used to love to wear leggins, but now that I am getting older, my kids let me know that it is not a good idea:)

    This is a great recipe. It does sound so comforting and delicious without all of the guilt and butt-enlarging ingredients:)

  52. Pam says:

    Woman if you keep running 18 miles in a day you will be able to wear striped or spotted leggings when you are 60!

    I’ll forgo the leggings and just have a big bowl of this fantastic creation… please?

  53. Shari says:

    I love this creation and I absolutely LOVE leggings! We are dipping our toes into Autumn in Australia and it marks the beginning of yet another seasonal love affair with leggings!

    Congratulations on all your traffic, and all of your comments – over 50 comments on this post is quiet the achievement… you’ll have to share your secret with me…*please?*


  54. janet says:

    Yeah for beans!!! I can totally believe you had difficulties finding cannellini beans (unless you head to Kalustyan’s!). I am on the look-out for flageolet beans and I can’t find them anywhere in Toronto… I have one store I still have to try, though. Then I’m giving up.

  55. Kalyn says:

    Oh that looks good!

    And I just have to say this, I *am* in my sixties and would not be caught dead in leopard print leggings. Not even if they looked good on me, which I can’t imagine that they would!

  56. polwig says:

    Oh man you need to try some print legging in the before 30 at least 🙂 Maybe do it while camping in the wilderness this summer. Dish looks great and I am really surprised of the lack of canellini beans other then maybe there is a lot of irish stew or chili going on today, not that irish eat canellini but still. Weird, more weird the the rockstar grandma, it is NY after all

  57. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Cannellini is one of my favorite beans. This sounds absolutely fabulous..Blessings, Catherine

  58. Reeni says:

    A bean gratin? Don’t think I’ve ever seen such a thing! My most favorite bean cooked in the most comforting way I’ve ever seen and there’s fennel thrown in to boot – I think I’m in love!

  59. When you’re in your 60’s it’ll be the new 40’s and I hope you go for the leopard leggings 🙂 Cannelini beans have to me my favorite bean of all time – this looks like the key to the fountain of youth to me!

  60. Suman Singh says:

    What a great combination of ingredients..looks really healthy and yummy!

  61. This is the perfect dish for pink leggings. Ignore your silly friend. Oh and YUM!

  62. I love beans any which way.This gratin is a super duper idea.Any cheesy thing hardly escapes my attention.So I gotta make these.

  63. SassyAgapi says:

    i had to laugh at that, that woman IS a rockstar xD

  64. Lori says:

    This looks so good! Thank you for helping me fulfill my leopard-legging dreams. And that whole classes while laying in bed thing is awesome!

  65. Ada says:

    Mmm that dish screams comfort food! That woman sounds like quite the character (which there are obviously a few of in NYC. . .). You should totally rock the patterned leggings at one of your med school gatherings, I’m sure you’d be the hit of the party!

    Thank you so much for recommending V-Note, it was amazing!!! We should go there together sometime:)

  66. Im sitting in the back seat , jus got my pink streaks braided (yeah i jus got 2 pink streaks in my hair , the height of pinkiness i say ), and am hungry ,very hungry.
    We are driving to somewhere now and i have no food box and ur making things more difficult for me.
    Very infact.
    By talking about ue deep dark secrets and then going on to serve up some v yummy looking Cannellini al Gratin , while still telling us about the walk @whole foods and the lectures in bed under 5 blankets.
    Oh how i love the last part , with a bowl full of Cannellini al Gratin please , please ,please.
    U r one amazing gal and i loveee that !

  67. girlichef says:

    Ha! Well, I would love to see a sassy granny rockin’ the leopard print. To each their own and flaunt it if ya got it! This is a delicious dish, sure to keep those legs in great shape 😉

  68. Johanna GGG says:

    ha! I think you will be doing well if you are still wearing hot pink leggings when you are 60

  69. Jessie says:

    Sound like your life’s ambition is achievable! Although, I think you need not wait 36 years to rock dems leopard print. Maybe start small with baby kitten print and work your way up to the greater cats family, until you have achieved your goal. Baby steps! Besides, I can SO see you rocking any pattern tight you want!

    Love the cannellini au gratin! I would be the one eating the crispy bits off the top 😉

  70. Megan says:

    This sounds awesome! I have tried a few recipes with Cannellini beans and always been on the fence about these particular legumes. This Au Gratin sounds like the deal maker for these beans and me. Sounds delicious. As for leggings, I call mine my everyday pants and am proud to wear them for life!

  71. marla says:

    Just cam e dashing over from Tastespotting as quickly as possible – the word “gratin” had me at hello. I would eat this for breakie right now. Really 🙂

  72. this gratin looks so yummy

  73. Okay well pasta is good as it is…but in gratin form? I’m impressed! Your images make me hungry, as always.

  74. This gratin looks so darn good with beans!

  75. Sara says:

    Yum, this looks fantastic! I’m totally obsessed with fennel right now. 🙂

  76. Mary says:

    It’s good to have something to look forward to – in 36 years :-). The beans look and sound delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  77. I live in leggings, too. Black ones, and maybe a grey pair throw in here or there. I don’t know that I’ll ever have the verve to wear leopard ones, but it’s a good goal LOL.

    This dish looks absolutely fantastic! I’m glad you found the beans… and your 60 year old inspiration!

  78. great dish and its good you eat well as a student 🙂

  79. Dana says:

    Now this is a great idea. I love white beans but am always a little stumped as to what to do with them besides put them in soup. Why did I never think of this? And I know you could rock any kind of legging at any age!

  80. Fimère says:

    un gratin appétissant je n’ai jamais pensé gratiner les haricots ça doit être délicieux
    bonne soirée

  81. Tammy says:

    Joanne, I absolutely love, love, love your reading your posts! Someday, I too would love to grow brave enough to wear leooard print ANYTHING! My mom’s brave enough, but I’m not. I’m like you- I go for solids- I like to keep it simple.
    Anyway- this dish looks awesome and healthy. Though I may not be a Vegetarian- far from it actually- I love Vegetarian Times! You did such a wonderful job! (and my mom & I love cannellini beans)!
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  82. sweetlife says:

    15 mile runs on the weekend and wonderful food, your so gonna rock those thights, me on the other hand ned to get my caboose moving or i’ll the the old lady in sweats.


  83. YUMS! I need to go run before I can eat anything like this, or I will never be seen in leggings ever again =P

  84. I’m thinking a big batch of this dished out for lunch next week sounds like a great idea.

  85. Lizzy says:

    You could totally rock those tights- especially during a race : )
    It so looks like there is pasta in there! No pasta? Really, just beans. It looks awesome.

  86. i definitely learn better that way as well 🙂


    xo Alison

  87. I say good for you for not adding green food coloring to force the St. Patty’s day thing 🙂

  88. Nadji says:

    Un gratin original : les haricots préparés de cette façon doivent être délicieux.
    A très bientôt.

  89. Ah yes, this is just the sort of comfort I need!
    I must be getting close to the patterned leggings time of life, better get working on my bootie!

  90. Definitely a new way to have your beans!

  91. These cannelinnis are made just perfectly! Love the herbs and spice that you used, you are making me crave some!

  92. Kristen says:

    I am still trying to figure out by cannelini beans are more expensive than kidney or northern beans…aren’t they all just beans? Just because we foodies love cannelinis more than any other kind doesn’t mean that we should be penalized!

  93. Astra Libris says:

    Oh my goodness, AMAZING!! So amazing, in fact, that all my plans for what I wanted to cook this weekend have now flown out the window because I must fix this immediately it looks so life changing perfect! Can you tell I’m excited? 🙂

  94. Julie says:

    dudeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee this dish looks EPIC.

    also i think your friend that you saw on the way to WF borrowed my leggings…


  95. teresa says:

    rock out them leggins girl! i love it!

    this looks wonderful, i’ve never thought to make beans like this.

  96. OohLookBel says:

    There’s something kind of ‘cougar-ish’ about leopard print. Like, it’s not wearable till you hit 60+, then bam! you’re prowling the streets in head-to-toe feral cat! I think I’ll start eating these delicous beans now, so that my thighs are in shape when I’m 60. Those leopards had better look out!

  97. tigerfish says:

    Leopard prints in your 60s? *printing that out as a reminder for you saying that* LOL! But I mark your words. With you eating well, living well, I’m sure you are “eligible” and fit for anything!

  98. yum, and me too (the leopard print leggings) heheheh

  99. This looks awesome – I love the fennel! And I always thought I wanted to wear funky hats in my retirement years, but crazy leggings sound great too!

  100. Miriam says:

    Awesome aspiration about the leggings! Excellent dish too :), [email protected]Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  101. sophia says:

    Snuggling up under five layers of blankets will put me to sleep! How do you study that way? I would love to be able to rock crazy leggings at 60, too, but hopefully not actually wearing them. 😉

  102. grace says:

    heck, i want to be able to rock leopard-print anything NOW! it’s too bad i was too young to appreciate fashion in the 80s. 🙂
    tasty work, joanne!

  103. Little Inbox says:

    Hmm…such a nice vegan food.

  104. Marisa says:

    Okay firstly – lectures on tape? Lucky duck.
    Secondly – leopard print tights? I’d so wear that. And I won’t even wait ’till I’m 60. I already have a pair of light grey flowered ones that I LOVE so leopard print would be a nice addition.
    Thirdly – this gratin? Perfection. Love how healthy it is.

  105. Chris says:

    I’m wearing leopard print leggings right now. Woohoo!

    Great looking dish, Joanne! I have canned cannellini beans….is that sacrilege?

  106. I loves me some cannellini beans–this looks delicious. Cheesy, creamy beans–what could be better. 😉

  107. Cara says:

    Seeing the word “gratin”, I felt the need to scan this recipe about 17 times looking for cream, butter, and copious amounts of cheese. Seeing none of those means I could actually eat this gratin. Incredible!

  108. Mo 'Betta says:

    You’re a culinary rock star! I wish I could pull off leopard print anything…but it’s just not me. Totally NOT rock star 🙁 Plus my kids would probably be mortified.

  109. Kerstin says:

    Yum, this sounds so tasty AND healthy! You’ll totally be able to pull off the tights 🙂

  110. Yet find a tie-in you did =p. I say rock what you want whether it be hot pink or leopard print hehe. Now if only I could convince my boyfriend that beans aren’t the devil and won’t make him terribly ill…no matter, I’ll make this delicious gratin and more for me if he won’t partake!

  111. I’ve never thought of eating beans this way! I wish I could be as happy and carefree now as I know I will be in 30-40 years.

  112. […] For more comfort food recipes, check out these: Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers Thai Sweet Potato and Winter Squash Pot Pie Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash with Five-Spice Marshmallows Beef and Beer Chili Cannellini al Gratin […]

  113. Sierra Foodie says:

    As always, just a little late to the party but we loved this! My first time ever cooking with fennel (so only used one) it was interesting and no complaints from the family so I’ll use it again. I added extra garlic and a bunch of wilted kale (chopped) and next time I think I’ll add some mushrooms. Oh, I also used Gluten Free Panko for the Au Gratin so it was Gluten Free. Great tasting, a big hit!

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