It’s a classic for chilly weather when all you want is a hearty dish that's warm and easy to make.
Credit: Photo: Oxmoor House

Seasons have a funny way of transitioning – one day you’re outside grilling lighter meals, and the next you’re reaching for comforting bowls of hearty warm dishes that help you ease into cooler temperatures.

One of the hallmarks of French cuisine is a rich and simple dish made in its own crock called the cassoulet. This slow-cooked casserole is probably what started our obsession of throwing something into a pot on low-heat and letting the ingredients work their magic for a couple of hours.

Traditionally, a cassoulet is roasted with a slew of tender meats – including both poultry and pork – alongside savory beans in a Dutch oven or a specialty crock known as a cassole. What’s wonderful about a cassoulet is that prep time is often drastically reduced compared to other dishes you might consider for a hearty, warm meal. Regardless of whether you use a Dutch oven, cassole, or a Crock-Pot, a cassoulet is an absolutely delicious set-it-and-forget-it fall dinner.

Here are five of our favorite time-honored cassoulet dishes that will provide substantial comfort with the help of wholesome ingredients:

Credit: Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Lindsey Lower

1) Slow Cooker Sausage Cassoulet 

This modern adaptation of a traditional cassoulet is made even easier with stew-ready sausage, while root vegetables and beans add great flavor. It's perfectly paired with a whole-grain loaf or leafy winter salad for a nutritious and filling meal.

2) Veggie Cassoulet 

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While traditional cassoulet often relies on the heartiness of two types of stewed meat, this veggie-only variation is rich in umami flavor and develops a wonderful restorative broth.

3) Traditional Cassoulet 

Credit: Photo: Oxmoor House

While it's not the end of the world if you don't own a Dutch oven, this traditional duck-and-chicken bean stew simmers for more than eight hours in its own glorious broth and makes for amazing leftovers all week long.

4) Thyme-Scented White Bean Cassoulet 

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If you're looking for a vegetarian option that doesn't forego substance, this white-bean iteration calls for the use of meatless Italian sausage as a protein substitute. 

5) Cassoulet in a Flash

Credit: Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl

The only investment in a traditional cassoulet is a good old-fashioned roast. For those who are feeling stressed on time, our time-hacked cassoulet does wonders in just 30 minutes.