Cauliflower Bean Bake with Cheese, Dill, and Olive

I had one of those lightbulb moments over the holidays.

What would happen, I asked myself, if I altered my faux cheesecake recipe, made with white beans, into a savoury instead of a sweet? As a savoury, it would be perfect for most people with food sensitivities except those who can’t handle eggs. It has no flour (gluten-free), no milk (dairy-free), and no sugar (good for dieters).

The question now was: What could I add to give it nutrition and flavour?  For my second experiment, my choices were cauliflower, cheese, fresh dill, and olives.  The result? A delicious and completely new eating experience!

Although not a bread, this bean bake has bread-like qualities. It has some of the flavour of a specialty bread such as an olive loaf, some of the heaviness of a potato bread, and something like the texture of a baked flour product that rises. Perhaps, and most importantly, it does not taste like beans.

My first experiment (a slice is pictured below) wasn’t a failure. I had added cauliflower, cheese, and thyme, and the taste wasn’t nearly as good or interesting as the second go-around.  But the spouse and I ate it as a main dish for lunch and as a replacement for potatoes or rice in our main meal—much fewer carbs and much more protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

In addition to its versatility, a bean bake has another great quality.  It’s a cinch to make.  Just throw everything into the food processor, mix, and then cook!

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 8 slices

Cooking tip: Unlike the sweet bean bake, its savoury cousin tastes better warm than cold. Store in the refrigerator and then microwave a piece for 30 seconds at high in the microwave.

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups white navy beans (19 oz. can), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cooked
  • 3 eggs (don’t use liquid egg substitute; I tried for the sweet version and the texture was terrible)
  • ½ cup of a non-cow’s milk parmesan or romano (I use a sheep’s milk romano)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • 12 small olives or 6 large olives, pitted (I had the colossal variety and used 4)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Cooking spray

Directions 

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Spray an 8″ or 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.  (The original recipe called for the springform pan to make it look like a cake. I haven’t yet ventured to bake this in a square pan, but I’m sure it would work.)
  3. Bake in 350° F oven for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Serve warm.

For Weight Watchers: A 1/8 slice is 2.5 points in the PowerPoints program.

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