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Heat the oil in a large casserole or heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, and fry the sausages for 4-6 mins, in batches if needed, until golden brown all over. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the oil left in the pan (add a splash more if you need to), and fry for 10 mins, until very tender and starting to turn lightly golden. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, half fill each can with water and add to the pan. Stir in the sugar, oregano, paprika, cayenne, vinegar and half the thyme. Season well and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 mins uncovered until the tomatoes start to break down, then stir in the cannellini beans and simmer for 10 mins until the casserole has thickened and the sauce coats the beans. Stir the sausages back into the pan. Season well. Add a pinch more sugar or smoked paprika if you like.
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mash the vegan spread with the remaining thyme leaves, chopped parsley and crushed garlic. Season with black pepper and mash well with a fork until combined. Lightly toast the sourdough in a toaster or under the grill. Smother the garlic mixture over the bread slices, and arrange over the top of the casserole. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 mins until the garlic breads are golden brown, the garlic mixture melts into the toasts and edges are toasted.