Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meatless Monday (sorta): White Bean, Butternut and Kale Stew


Last Sunday morning, I suggested to Ben that he take control of planning dinner, and he said OK.
A little later, I walked into the kitchen and saw this:

Not my pic, (hers) but it's what I saw....Camera not handy - I'm a last-minute food post planner.

With the exception of our 4 year-old, I'm probably the snobbiest foodster in our casa, so the idea of an entire meal of white beans didn't have me doing cartwheels. Now that I think about it, I can't even recall what we DID eat that evening, but the beans soaked overnight, and I told Ben I'd "deal with them."

On Monday, I found
this recipe for White Bean, Butternut Squash and Kale Stew. I still wasn't overly excited about this impending meal, but at least it would be nutrient-dense.

Bit of Background: We live in Brazil. Brazil is very carne-centric, and we probably eat more than our fair share of beef and pork, lean though it may be. Anyway, I'm trying to make an effort to cook at least 1-2 meatless meals per week. "Meatless Monday" being a good start, and this recipe fit the bill.
....except I promptly forgot, and put bacon into the bean pot. We'll get there.....

I can't wait forever and a day to cook beans, so a pressure cooker ("PC") is THE way to go. Don't freak. Today's models are not your grandmother's PCs. They have safety mechanisms, won't explode, and are without a doubt, a staple in our kitchen. They'll cook dry beans in 30-45 minutes.
While the beans were hissing away in the PC, I prepped the other veggies: fresh kale, butternut squash, and red bell peppers. (I'm simplifying the recipe, you know)

To prepare them for the stew, I cooked them in a Dutch Oven with some onion and oil until tender, then added vegetable broth. When the beans were done, I added them in, too. The final result looked something like this:
image via WholeFoods

...which neither of our kids would touch with a ten-foot pole.
*Lightbulb* What if we puree it - disguise all that veggie goodness?

After mere moments with the blender (immersion-style rocks if you've got one) we ended up with a smooth, even more savory soup. Ben thought the puree actually tasted better than the stew version. Served up with some warm, crusty bread, and we were set. We ALL ate it like champs.
*NB: The original stew recipe called for black olives, which I omitted. If you plan to puree the stew, I think it's probably better to leave the olives for your martini. ;)

So, our lesson for the day is: Never underestimate the possibility of a bag of beans!

Nutritional Round-Up:
White Beans: Very good source of Fiber and Folate. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese

Kale: A very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

Red Bell Peppers: Very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin B6 and Folate, as well as several other vitamins, minerals, and

Info via here


  1. The site is looking great, Allison! I love white beans and use 'em in everything, but had never even considered using (or purchasing) a pressure cooker to expedite the process. Genius! You've basically combined three of my favorite ingredients in one big bowl. Delish!!

  2. MMMMM.... I make a soup similar to this one and use veggie bacon to give it that smoky flavor. I've never tried it with the bell peppers though. I think I'll do it this week! Yum. btw... your food photos are AMAZING!

  3. Oh my goodness! This sounds fantastic! Wonderful blog by the way.

  4. Beans and Kale together...can't wait. Oh, and the "nutritional round up"...genius.

  5. Hey! I love your website! If you are interested in ideas, my website is vegan, and vegetarian gourmet food!
    I am a college student journaling my way through cooking.