Sort and rinse beans and put in a 5 quart saucepan with enough water to let stand 1 hour.
Chop onion, mince garlic, chop tomatoes, chop spinach, and grate lemon rind.
Bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for one hour until beans are tender. Drain beans, reserving 1 cup bean liquid (freeze the remainder to add to your next batch of vegetable soup).
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion a nd saute 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl; add tomatoes, spinach, lemon rind, vinegar, salt, pepper, and half the beans.
Put fresh bread and cheese (cut in chunks) in food processor and process until small crumbs. Set aside.
In food processor fitted with chopping blade, combine remaining half of beans and reserved cooking liquid. Process until mixture is a smooth puree. Stir puree into vegetable mixture in bowl, mixing until well combined.
Heat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with butter-flavored spray. Spread vegetable-bean mixture in pan and top with bread crumb/cheese mixture. Cut better into small bits and dot top of mixture. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with crusty bread.
Using canned white beans and canned S&W Redi-cut tomatoes (drained) would make this much faster to prepare, or this would be a good candidate for multiple-recipe cooking and freezing. If freezing, package crumb mixture seperately for adding after dish has thawed but before baking.
Your White Bean and Vegetable Gratin is ready. Bon appetit!
Related recipes: Entree, Vegetarian, Casseroles, Bean, Low-fat
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