Try this one-pot recipe that’s low in fat and rich in flavor.
Black and pinto are two of the most commonly-used beans in recipes, but did you know that there are actually more than 400 varieties of this nutritious legume? In this white bean stew recipe, lesser-known cannellini beans, also called white kidney beans, take center stage. These beans are larger and meatier than other white beans, and when cooked properly, melt in your mouth and turn into creamy goodness as you eat.
Like other legumes, white beans are an ample source of fiber, keeping you full and fueling you with slow-burning energy. They are also a good source of plant protein that aids in muscle recovery, says John Christie, registered dietitian and Tonal’s Director of Applied Training Science.
If that isn’t enough, studies show that eating these low-fat legumes regularly can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and control weight.
“Something I really like about both the beans and the kale in this white bean stew recipe is the polyphenol content,” Christie adds. “Polyphenols have potent antioxidant properties, which help reduce the prevalence of a number of health conditions and diseases caused by oxidative stress to the body’s systems. In beans, the polyphenol Phaseolus vulgaris L. has antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties.” Translation: the combo of ingredients in this dish are great for your overall health now and can keep you healthy in the future.
This white bean stew recipe calls for lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, which has long been used in Tuscan cuisine. You can sub in curly or red kale if desired, but note that lacinato kale has a milder, less bitter flavor than other varieties so may be more appealing to those who aren’t totally sold on kale. Any variety of the dark leafy green is chock full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, which aids in the production of proteins needed for bone-building and blood clotting.
While kale has its lovers and haters, the detractors often cite that it’s tough to eat. With the right preparation though, that isn’t an issue. Just like a tight muscle, kale needs a little love to be loosened up. When eating it raw in a salad, massage it with a dash of olive oil, and you’ll meet its softer side. In this white bean stew recipe, kale is cooked into submission (without being overcooked), retaining its dark green color while being easy to chew.
Store the leftovers per the instructions below and turn them into whole new meals for later in the week with the suggested recipe remixes.
This stew is like a warm hug for your insides, especially after a challenging workout, so make a big batch and get cozy.
Tuscan White Bean and Kale Stew
- Prep Time
- 20 min
- Cook Time
- 40 min
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- Kosher salt
- 3 to 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (6-ounce) bag chopped lacinato kale or 1 large bunch lacinato kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Juice from ½ lemon
- Finely shredded Pecorino or Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Whole wheat bread, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large (5- to 7-quart) Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot at medium-low heat.
Add the onion, celery, garlic, rosemary, and about ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Be careful not to oversalt at this step, because the flavor will intensify as the stew cooks. Stir occasionally, for 6 to 7 minutes, until the onions are softened and translucent.
Stir in 3 cups of broth. Cover with a lid and increase the heat to medium.
When the liquid comes to a simmer (about 3 minutes), stir in the kale and cover again. Cook for 15 minutes to let the kale soften.
Add the beans and up to 1 cup additional broth as desired to bring it to your preferred stew consistency.
Return to a simmer and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the beans are cooked through.
Optional step: If you want a creamier stew, ladle off some of the broth and beans (without the kale) into a blender. Blend until smooth and add it back to the stew. This will thicken the stew and give it a velvety mouthfeel.
Remove from heat and add a squeeze or two of lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt if desired and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle stew into bowls. Sprinkle Pecorino or Parmesan cheese over each one and serve with a slice of crusty whole wheat bread, if desired.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. This stew will also freeze well. Put individual servings in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags and keep in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, move it to the fridge overnight. If it’s in a vacuum-sealed bag, you can quick thaw it by running it under cold water for 5 to 7 minutes.
Stew-Stuffed Bell peppers with Ground Turkey
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the stem end from orange bell peppers and scoop out any large ribs and seeds inside the peppers. Add cooked ground turkey to the leftover stew for more bulk and protein, if desired, and scoop it into the peppers. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the peppers are tender and the stew inside is bubbling.
Stew-Topped Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Greek Yogurt
Bake sweet potatoes in a 450-degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until very soft. While the potatoes bake, reheat leftover stew. Make spiced Greek yogurt by stirring in cumin, coriander, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper into plain Greek yogurt. To serve, split the baked sweet potatoes in half and ladle the stew into the potato. Top with a spoonful of spiced yogurt.