This Tomato + White Bean Stew checks all of the boxes for me. It’s flavorful, healthy, simple, and endlessly riffable. Pantry staples and a few fresh ingredients add a quick punch of flavor to this stew, which means it comes together in thirty minutes. Save this comforting recipe for when you’re cozied up on a crisp night! It has such a nice balance of hearty and fresh flavors, and as soon as the temperature drops you’ll make it on repeat.
Aromatic onions and garlic, tomatoes, broth, parmesan, and lemon add layers of flavor here. White beans and kale add heartiness. While this recipe is delicious as is, it’s flexible, so make this your own! Have leftover pesto sitting in the fridge? Spoon it on top of bowls when serving. Add ground Italian sausage, chorizo, or crispy bacon for added richness. Make this work for you. See my notes below the recipe on preparations to make this vegan, vegetarian, and dairy free, as well as my tips on incorporating protein. I serve this with lots of freshly grated parm, red chili flakes, more lemon, and buttery toast. Toasted breadcrumbs, pictured here, are also a delicious addition.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
- Kosher salt
- ½ Large yellow onion, diced
- 3 Cloves garlic, finely diced
- 2 Heaping tablespoons tomato paste
- 32 Oz can of whole peeled tomatoes or 32oz can of crushed tomatoes (If using whole peeled tomatoes, break them up with your hands before incorporating in recipe)
- 1 Bunch kale, roughly chopped into about 1" pieces (stems included)
- 1 and ½ Cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock, or water if needed
- ½ Cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
- 2 15-Ounce cans of white beans, drained (butter beans preferred, cannellini beans work well)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Optional: lemon wedges for serving, toasted breadcrumbs, crispy bacon.
- Add olive oil or butter to a heavy bottomed stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add diced onion to pot, stir to coat in olive oil or butter, and season very generously with kosher salt.
- Saute diced onion over medium heat for several minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.
- Add diced garlic, stir, cook until garlic is fragrant, about a minute or so.
- Add tomato paste, stir to evenly distribute, and cook for several minutes to caramelize the onion, garlic, and tomato paste mixture. The mixture will have a bricky red color when it's caramelized.
- Add canned tomatoes, chopped kale, broth (or stock or water), lemon zest, parmesan, and drained white beans. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently crush some of the beans - this will help thicken the stew.
- With the lid off the stock pot, let the stew simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes - you should see steam coming out of the pot, and the liquid should reduce slightly, which concentrates the flavor. Stir occasionally. Taste as the stew simmers and add more salt as needed. Stir occasionally to submerge kale. You'll finish this recipe with the lid on the stockpot.
- Cover your pot with lid and let simmer on low heat for at least 10 more minutes.
- Serve with freshly cracked black pepper, lots of grated parm, and lemon wedges from the zested lemon. Add crushed red chili flakes for a bit of heat, and enjoy with buttery toast slices.
A Few Notes on Riffs:
- To add ground sausage or chorizo: Cook it in the stockpot as the first step, when done remove it but reserve some of the fat, and add the cooked sausage back to the stew before serving.
- To garnish with crispy bacon: Render bacon bits in the stockpot as the first step. When done, remove it but reserve some of the fat in the pot, and then cook the recipe following the rest of the steps. Top bowls with crispy bacon.
- To thin out the stew for a brothier consistency: Simply add more broth, or even water. This stew will thicken when saved for leftovers, add more broth or water when reheating on the stovetop. Be sure to generously season with more kosher salt here.
- To garnish with toasted breadcrumbs: Use leftover crusty bread that’s pulsed in a food processor, or storebought panko breadcrumbs. To make, heat olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat while the stew is simmering. Add breadcrumbs, season generously with salt and pepper, and stir occasionally until they are golden brown. When done, remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve.
- To make this vegan: Use a vegetarian broth or stock, such as mushroom stock, and omit the parmesan cheese.
- To make this vegetarian: Use a vegetarian broth or stock, such as mushroom stock.
- To make this dairy-free: Omit the parmesan.
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