Vegetarian Tuscan Bean Stew is healthy, hearty, packed with super delicious fresh flavors and great for all seasons.Using just a handful of simple ingredients, this one pot meal is so easy to put together and it bursts with flavor.
What is Tuscan Bean Stew?
- In Tuscany, Italy, this white bean stew originated in hilltop villages during the Middle Ages.
- Traditionally it was made with what was available in the garden — onions, carrots, celery, kale and tomatoes. The vegetables were cooked with white beans in a rich broth.
- The stew was often thickened with leftover bread crusts that peasants would pocket from wealthy landowners they served. It could be eaten for many days and would only get better with time.
You’ll note that this Vegetarian Tuscan Bean Stew is not very authentic, but the vibe feels close enough to call it “Tuscan.” Check this recipe out for a version that’s a bit more authentic.
What’s in this Vegetarian Tuscan Bean Stew?
- olive oil
- white beans
- white wine
- vegetable stock
- salt, pepper
This handful of simple ingredients blends together in just thirty minutes to make an incredibly tasty and comforting meal.
When to Serve it
While stews are typically thought of as comfort foods in the cooler months, this one is light enough that it’s lovely year round.
Vegetarian Tuscan Bean Stew is fantastic for a casual dinner party. Add a salad and a loaf of crusty bread, and you’re all set.
Tips and Substitutions for this Tuscan Bean Stew
- If time isn’t an issue, you can start with dry beans and follow this process for cooking them.
- The differences among white bean varieties are fairly subtle. I usually use Cannellini, but you can substitute Great Northern Beans, Navy Beans or Baby Lima Beans.
- Note that vegetable stocks will vary in richness and color, depending on the brand, or if they’re homemade.
- If the baby spinach leaves or the basil leaves are on the larger side, tear them into smaller pieces.
- Switch the spinach for kale for a slightly heartier vibe. (It will need a few extra minutes to soften.)
- This stew only gets better with time, so it’s a great idea to make enough for more than one dinner.
I hope you enjoy this Vegetarian Tuscan Bean Stew as much as I do.
More recipes using white beans:
Vegetarian Tuscan Bean Stew
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a bit more for drizzling
- 1½ cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1¼ cups vegetable stock
- ¼ cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc)
- 2 (14-ounce) cans Cannellini beans, drained
- 1 cup packed basil leaves, washed and dried
- 8 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
- salt and pepper to taste
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with the olive oil and place it over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and wine and turn the heat to medium-high. Use a flat-edged spatula to scrape any bits of stuck onion and garlic off the bottom of the pot. Add the beans, bring to a boil, and then immediately turn the heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the basil and spinach, mix and continue to cook just until all of the leaves have completely wilted.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper (here's how), mix in the Parmesan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. (Alternately, season to taste and then serve each portion, topping them with some of the cheese and a drizzle of the oil.)
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