About the only thing traditional about this cassoulet is the inclusion of white beans. Where a classic cassoulet contains meat and is generally baked in the oven for an hour or two, this tasty vegetarian version can be on the table in 30 minutes. It begs to be served with hot garlic bread and a crisp green salad.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (8-ounce) package vegetarian sausage
links, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced baby carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other
white beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup vegetable broth (page 15)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry bread crumbs
Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Put the same skillet back on the heat and add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the beans, tomatoes, broth, and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir the cooked sausage into the vegetable and bean mixture.
While the cassoulet is cooking, toast the bread crumbs in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to toast evenly. Be careful not to burn. Set aside. When the cassoulet is ready to serve, top it with the reserved crumbs.