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A plate of white bean and orzo gratin topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and herbs and flavored with mediterranean inspired flavorings for a delicious, plant-based dinner idea

Mediterranean White Bean and Orzo Gratin

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Yield: 8 people


This recipe easily halves and if you do, cook it in one of two ways—simply follow the recipe here and bake it in a 9-inch square baking dish. Or, cook it in a soup kettle until the liquid has absorbed and grains are tender, sprinkle it with the Crunchy Topping, and carefully broil it until the topping has browned.
*For a little extra richness and flavor, sprinkle a cup of crumbled feta—dairy- or plant-based—over the beans before adding the panko topping. For a little extra color, add a little extra chopped fresh parsley to the panko.


  • 1 recipe Pot of Beans or 4 cans (15 to 16 ounces) white beans (cannellini or great Northern)
  • 2 cups (or more) broth, your choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into small dice
  • 4 large garlic cloves for gratin and 1 large garlic clove for panko topping, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon each: dried oregano and ground or minced fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. If using a Pot of Beans, soak and cook them, reserving bean cooking liquid in a 1 quart measuring cup. If using canned beans, drain them, reserving bean liquid in a 1 quart liquid measuring cup. Add enough broth to equal 1 quart.
  • Heat oil in a large pot; add onions and sauté until nearly tender, about 4 minutes. Add 4 cloves minced garlic, basil, oregano, fennel and pepper flakes; continue to cook another minute or so. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, and orzo; bring to a simmer.
  • While mixture heats, mix panko, 1 clove minced garlic, oil, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.
  • When bean mixture starts to simmer, stir in parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste. Turn mixture into a 13- by 19-inch pan. (*If using feta, sprinkle it now.) Sprinkle with panko and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest a few minutes, and then serve.