Apparently I cannot get enough soups and stews this season. But what’s wrong with that? They’re filling, comforting, and many times, can be healthy. Take this stew, for example. It’s vegetarian. (Vegan, even, if you omit the Parmesan.) It’s gluten-free. It’s packed with fiber and nutrition. But that’s not even the best part. It’s cheap to make, and it’s fast and easy! If your December has been as busy as mine has, this will be a blessing! I made this the other night for dinner, which left me with plenty of time to wrap presents. It was delicious and so guilt-free that I even had seconds.
I’m a bit ahead of schedule for New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve already decided on one resolution – to incorporate more vegetarian and vegan meals into our diet. The reasons are plentiful – swapping more plant-based foods for the meats means our grocery bill will be lighter. Meals can be healthier. And our carbon footprint will be smaller. While I am not aspiring to become a vegetarian full-time, I do acknowledge and appreciate the benefits that healthy vegetarian meals can provide. (Healthy being the key word here – while french fries, ice cream, and candy can be vegetarian, I am not opting to pick up a steady diet of such things.) This will be a bit of a change of mindset for me. I am accustomed to making a grocery list and planning meals according to what proteins (aka meat) is on sale that week, or what meat I have in our freezer. I will have to make a concerted effort to plan for at least one meatless dinner every week. I’m excited about it. I hope to share with you some meatless, gluten-free meal options very soon!
For now, I hope you’ll enjoy this quick stew.
White Bean, Kale, and Tomato Stew, adapted from Serious Eats
1 ½ lbs kale, larger stems removed, and leaves chopped (can substitute swiss chard or other leafy greens)
¼ c olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ t crushed red pepper
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan (omit for vegan)
Fill a large stockpot halfway with water. Bring to a boil and then toss in the kale leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes or until leaves are tender (not mushy). Drain leaves in a colander.
Wipe out any excess water from the pot. Place back on burner and turn to medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans and broth, and bring to a boil again. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
Reduce heat to a simmer and add the kale. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Parmesan.