There’s nothing quite like a good, warm stew when winter sets in, but usually when people hear the word “stew,” they automatically think “meat.” That’s not the case with this recipe. It’s as hearty and comforting as a traditional beef stew, but it’s completely vegan.
It’s also an inexpensive alternative to traditional stew, as a medley of dried beans serves as the primary protein in this dish – and dried beans are super cheap. The beauty of the recipe is you can throw in whatever dried beans you have on hand and it’ll still taste great. My favorite combination includes lentils, kidney, lima, black, chickpeas, white beans (like Great Northern, navy or cannellini) and pinto beans. And if you don’t have any dried beans in the house, you can usually find bags of mixed dried beans at the grocery.
Super Seven Bean Stew
1 cup mixed dried beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1. Soak beans 8-12 hours in cold water, draining and rinsing several times. Alternately, use the quick-soak method of boiling the beans in two quarts of water for 2 minutes and then leave to soak for an hour or two. Discard soaking water, rinse beans and set aside until ready for use.
2. In a stock pot or Dutch oven, add olive oil, onion, garlic, celery and carrot. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent.
3. Stir in chili powder and let cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add beans, tomatoes in juice, tomato paste, broth and water.
4. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 90 minutes or until beans have softened but still retain their shape.
A note about vegetable broth: My go-to favorite is McKay’s vegan chicken-style instant broth and seasoning mix. It was originally created as part of the war effort during WWII when the U.S. government wanted something that would dissolve faster than bullion cubes for soldiers in the field. A chemist and a Toledo-based company created a powder that’s mixed into boiling water – and little about the recipe has changed since. It’s delicious, contains no MSG and negates the need for any additional salt and pepper. Best of all, it’s still family-owned and operated right here in Ohio.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: This meatless (vegan!) bean stew recipe is the perfect winter comfort food