Vegan Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew
Source: Cook's Illustrated, Better Vegan  Category: Vegan Soups and Stews
Prep Time: 15 min  Cook time: 2 hrs 25 min  Total Time: 2 hrs 40 min  Serves 6 to 8
Contains nightshades
Fat-Free version available (see notes)
About this recipe
This hearty stew is filling, deeply satisfying and brimming with flavor. Soaking the beans overnight not only helps get rid of the protective enzymes, which are hard for your body to digest, but also softens the skins. Cooking the beans in 250-degree oven ensures the beans don't explode and stay intact while cooking. Also, adding the beans toward the end of cooking kept them from becoming too soft. Beans are a nutrient dense food and a great source of proteins, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients. The fiber and healthy starches in beans can help prevent food cravings. People may feel fuller after consuming beans, which may prevent overeating and even help with weight loss.
Ingredients:

Pink Himalayan salt (I use Sherpa Pink Gourmet Himalayan Salt, 5 lbs Fine Grain)

1 pound dried cannellini beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over (I use Bob's Red Mill Cannellini Beans)

½ ounce dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms (try Dried Porcini Mushrooms or Mushroom House Dried Shiitake Mushroom Slices)

4 ½ cups water

1 Tbsp. avocado oil (optional) (I use La Tourangelle Avocado Oil )

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional) (I use Newman's Own Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 medium ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)

8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

3 cups vegetable broth

2 medium bay leaves

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed (try Muir Glen Canned Tomatoes, Organic Diced Tomatoes, No Sugar Added)

1 medium bunch kale or collard greens (about 1 pound), stems trimmed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces) about 8 cups loosely packed

1 sprig fresh rosemary

Ground black pepper

Vegan Parmesan Cheese, for serving

Instructions:
1. Prepare the ingredients.

 

2. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak, at room temperature, for at least 8 and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Place mushrooms in small bowl and cover with about 1/2 cup very hot water. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Lift mushrooms from liquid with fork and mince. Strain liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towels into medium bowl. Set mushrooms and liquid aside.

4. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 4 cups water, broth, bay leaves, soaked beans, and reserved mushrooms and cooking liquid. Increase heat to high and bring stew to simmer. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Remove pot from oven and stir in tomatoes and greens. Return pot to oven and continue to cook until beans and greens are fully tender, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

6. Remove pot from oven and submerge rosemary sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig; season stew with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, use back of spoon to press some beans against side of pot to thicken stew. Serve, sprinkled with Vegan Parmesan cheese and lightly drizzled with olive oil, if desired.

Notes:
If you're short on time, quick-soak them: Place the rinsed beans in a large heat-resistant bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour the water over the beans and let them sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans well before proceeding with step 3.
Fat-Free version: substitute avocado oil with 2-3 Tbsp. vegetable broth or water. You may have to add a little more if the liquid evaporates quickly. Omit olive oil and Vegan Parmesan garnish.
Equipment needed:
Serving suggestion:
Serve the stew over toasted vegan gluten-free bread, gluten-free grain or on its own.

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