Lighter cassoulet

On this page you will find a delicious recipe for a lighter version of the classic cassoulet. While it does contain pork, it is important to note that the dish is aimed at non-Muslims. Still, this French casserole remains a wonderful choice for anyone looking for a comforting and hearty meal. The recipe has been carefully revised to improve its healthiness by using lean ham steak and pork shoulder. This combination makes for a flavorful and filling experience, perfect for anyone looking to enjoy a lighter twist on a traditional favorite.


  • 500g dried white beans
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 200g smoked ham steak, rind and fat removed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot (200g total weight), cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 500g pork shoulder, diced into 4-5cm pieces, excess fat removed
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 230 g can of plum tomatoes
  • 3 sausages from Toulouse
  • 25g panko or coarse dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil


Hot handles

If you cook the cassoulet in a sauté pan with a metal handle, wrap the handle in foil to remember that it will be very hot in the oven!

Move forward

The cassoulet can be made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated. Since the beans absorb more liquid in the refrigerator, also cool the excess bean cooking liquid (you should have about 250ml) and then use it to keep the cassoulet moist while it reheats.

Preparation steps

  1. Place the beans in a very large bowl.
  2. Pour three times the amount of water over them to cover them well, otherwise they will absorb a lot.
  3. Cover with cling film and let soak overnight.
  4. Place the beans in a large colander to drain and collect the water.
  5. Place them in a large, deep pot and cover with fresh, cold water (about 2 liters) so that it is about 3 cm above the beans.
  6. Add 3 garlic cloves, 2 thyme sprigs and 1 rosemary sprig.
  7. Bring to the boil, partially cover the pan with the lid and simmer very gently for 1 ½ hours, checking the water level occasionally.
  8. Cut the ham into lard-sized pieces.
  9. Add the bacon to the beans, making sure there is enough water to cover everything.
  10. Let simmer for another 30 minutes.
  11. Wrap the remaining thyme and rosemary sprigs in the bay leaf and tie with string to create a bouquet garni.
  12. Heat the oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet or ovenproof casserole dish.
  13. Add the onion and carrot to the pan and fry gently over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  14. Finely chop the remaining 4 cloves of garlic.
  15. Melt butter in the pan, add garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
  16. Increase the heat, add the pork shoulder and cook until no longer pink, 2-3 minutes.
  17. Pour in the wine and let it bubble until slightly reduced, 1 minute.
  18. Stir in the tomatoes, add the bouquet garni and simmer for 3 minutes until spicy.
  19. Season generously with pepper and 2 pinches of salt.
  20. Remove and set aside.
  21. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
  22. Drain the beans in a large colander set over a large bowl to catch the cooking liquid (you should have about 850ml left).
  23. Remove the herb stems and discard them.
  24. Crush the soft garlic cloves with a spoon and then stir in the beans and bacon.
  25. Add this mixture to the pan along with the pork shoulder, then pour in 600ml of the reserved cooking liquid.
  26. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes until a moist, soupy consistency is formed.
  27. Meanwhile, place the sausages on a small nonstick baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway through, until browned.
  28. Remove, cut into 1cm thick diagonal slices and lower the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
  29. Put the sausage slices in the beans, put the cassoulet in the oven and bake uncovered for 1.5 hours.
  30. In the meantime, mix together the panko crumbs, garlic, lemon zest, oil and some pepper.
  31. The meat should be almost tender by now and the cassoulet should be moist and juicy, not dry.
  32. (Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if necessary.)
  33. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Nutritional Information

Equipment and tools

  • Sauté pan with metal handle
  • Thwart

Allergen information

This recipe contains the following allergens:

  • Garlic

Storage and leftovers

The cassoulet can be made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated. Since the beans absorb more liquid in the refrigerator, also cool the excess bean cooking liquid (you should have about 250ml) and then use it to keep the cassoulet moist while it reheats.

Health Benefits of “Lighter Cassoulet”

Cassoulet is a classic French dish known for its hearty and rich flavor. Traditionally it is made from different types of meat such as pork and lamb and cooked over a long period of time. However, if you are looking for a lighter version of this popular dish, we have a recipe for you.

Less fat and calories

The Lighter Cassoulet recipe removes the rind and fat from the ham steak and trims excess fat from the pork shoulder. This significantly reduces the overall fat content of the dish without sacrificing flavor. This makes it a healthier option for those watching their fat and calorie intake.

Rich in protein

This cassoulet recipe contains white beans, which are a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Beans are also rich in fiber, which promotes satiety and aids digestion. By incorporating these beans into the dish, you add a nutritious source of protein to your meal.

A good source of vitamins and minerals

The addition of vegetables such as garlic, thyme, rosemary, onions and carrots not only enhances the flavor of the cassoulet but also provides a number of important vitamins and minerals. Garlic, for example, contains compounds that may have positive effects on heart health, while carrots are rich in vitamin A and antioxidants. Including these vegetables in your cassoulet adds both flavor and nutritional value.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Using canola oil in this recipe provides a source of omega-3 fatty acids, known for their positive effects on cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve overall heart health. By using canola oil instead of more traditional oils, you’re adding a healthier fat to your dish.

Easy to make in advance

If you like to meal prep or have leftovers, the Lighter Cassoulet is a great option. It can be made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated so the flavors meld even better. Additionally, the additional bean cooking liquid can be used to keep the cassoulet moist while reheating. This make ahead feature makes this already delicious and nutritious dish even more convenient.

You might also like