Last week we spoke about how the former generation were adept at turning a handful of basic ingredients into a meal fit for a king. This fennel and cannellini bean stew is testament to how a handful of pantry staples can be transformed into healthy and wholesome recipes. Beans are possibly one of the most inexpensive plant-based proteins. It’s a pantry staple I’m never without.
About this bean stew – The burnt clay-red colour speaks of tomatoey goodness with flavours that taste very Italian. Think fennel, rosemary and creamy cannellini beans. Most stews, whether meat or vegetarian, start with a soffrito – onion, carrots and celery. You can use any beans really, but I love the creaminess of cannellini beans. They’re perfect for this dish. If you’re serving the stew as a Meatfree Monday main, add some sourdough bread and a fresh garden salad. If you have any leftovers, fill gem squash with the bean stew, top with feta and pumpkin seeds. Place under a grill until golden and then scatter with a handful of spring onions and diced avocado.
Fennel cannellini bean stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 sticks celery, diced
- a large bulb of fennel, hard inner core removed and roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 stem fresh rosemary, de-stalked and finely chopped
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 400g tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and fennel until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, bay leaves, rosemary and vegetable stock.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for about 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is thickened.
- Add the beans and stir through. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Cook for another 5 minutes. Top with parsley and serve with crusty sour dough bread and a green salad.
More plant-based recipes for Meatfree Mondays that you might want to try: