An easy, warming dish, this naturally vegan Greek-inspired white bean stew showcases tomato-y and herbal flavors. When you’re looking for a quick dinner that takes less time to prep and cook than most soups, this one’s for you. Filled with plenty of spinach and fresh herbs in a tomato base, it’s a satisfying meal in a bowl.
Use gigante beans or cannellini. Using gigante beans (which are, not surprisingly, the largest of white beans) makes this even more authentic, as they’re a well loved legume traditional to Greek cuisine. You’ll need to precook them, though, as they’re pretty impossible to find in cans. Cannellini (large white beans) work just as well.
Complete the meal: Serve with fresh or grilled bread on the side, or over hot cooked grain (any preferred grain works well — rice, farro, barley, quinoa, or other. A simple green salad are all you’ll need to complete the meal. Or, make it a Greek salad, with briny black olives and homemade vegan “feta” or packaged vegan feta cheese, which is pretty amazing!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (try Italian-style)
- 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked gigante beans or two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons natural granulated sugar, to taste
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or sliced basil leaves, or a combination
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Hot cooked grains (rice, farro, barley, quinoa, etc.), optional
- Heat the oil in a medium-sized soup pot, or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden.
- Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the diced and crushed tomatoes, beans, lemon juice, sugar, and paprika. Bring to a slow boil, then turn the heat down and simmer gently over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Stir the spinach into the mixture in batches and cook until just wilted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Taste to see if you need another spoonful of sugar to temper the acidity of the tomato flavors. If you’d like, serve over a small amount of hot cooked grain. Either way, serve at once in shallow bowls.
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Photos at top: Okkijan/Bigstock