White Bean Stew Recipe
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White Bean Stew is a hearty bowl of perfection to warm you to your toes during the cold months. Brimming with white beans, aromatic herbs, and vegetable stock, it’s a comfort dish that hits every spot. Serve with garlic bruschetta on the side for an added dash of deliciousness.
Italian White Bean Stew from Scratch!
This hearty recipe features bold flavors of fresh rosemary, sage and leeks, it only requires one pot and includes no ham hock. It’s just pure, clean protein, no tomatoes, with zero cholesterol, and as healthy as can be. When served with garlic bruschetta or Crusty Bread, it becomes a complete and satisfying meal. If desired, you could always serve it with some Ciabatta Bread or Focaccia Bread on the side as well. If you decide to add more side dishes, that’s totally up to you, but often ends up being too much food for me. This is one hearty meal!
What is Ribollita Soup?
Ribollita soup is a Tuscan bread soup made with beans and vegetables. It’s usually made with a specific flavor from a rind of Parmigiano reggiano cheese. In our case a kind alternative, dairy-free nutritional yeast baby. This specific recipe is basically a white style ribollita as no tomatoes are used in this dish. This changes with the seasons and the regions. There isn’t only one, legit version of ribollita out there. It varies from home to home and pantry to pantry.
How to Make White Bean Stew
- Prep the beans – Wash and pick the beans. Soak for a minimum of 6 hours. Drain.
- Saute – Heat a heavy bottomed pot with oil and saute the leek/onion, carrots, and celery until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for a few seconds.
- Simmer – Add the beans and water. Bring to simmer and add the bay, sage, and rosemary. Simmer for 45 minutes or until the beans are soft.
- Season – Stir in the nutritional yeast and add the desired amount of smoked sea salt.
- Make the bruschetta – Grill the bread on both sides until dark grill marks form. Rub both sides with a garlic clove, brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt.
- Serve – Ladle the stew into bowls, tear the bread into chunks and place on top. Drizzle with olive oil, serve, and enjoy!
White Bean Stew Tips + Variations
- Storage – Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheating – Reheat over the stove or in the microwave. Over the stove just seems to taste better and is always my first option.
- Add-in ideas – If you want to kick up the ingredients on this white bean stew, try some add-ins. Some of my top choices are broccoli rabe, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, basil pesto drizzle, sun dried tomato pesto, or plant-based Italian sausage, cooked separately, and added to each bowl when serving.
- Can I use canned beans? – I don’t tend to go for canned beans as they always have added junk in them. However, if you’re in a pinch or need a quicker option, canned beans will do. Just be sure to drain and rinse them. Be careful cooking them for too long as they might turn into mush. The magic of this stew has a lot to do with being cooked low and slow from scratch, truth is you can never get this out of a can.
- Use day-old bread – If you don’t want to make the garlic bruschetta, use some day-old bread to serve on the side. I personally prefer the bruschetta because it just completes the dish, but old bread will definitely do the trick as well.
- What does ribollita mean in Italian? – Well, it simply means “reboiled.” This is because it was originally a peasant food. It was often leftover minestrone soup with added, old bread, that was reheated before serving. Hence the term “reboiled.”
Can You Freeze White Bean Stew?
Yes, you can definitely freeze ribollita soup. It tastes absolutely delicious after being reheated. I never notice much of a texture difference either, just make sure you do it without the bruschetta or bread. Great for planning meals in advance in order to save some time.
Are White Beans the Same as Navy Beans?
Navy beans are just a type of white bean. There are quite a few varieties of white beans out there. For example, cannellini, pea beans, great northern beans, etc. Although many of them taste very similar and look very similar, they are definitely different varieties and not the exact same. So, for this soup, choose your favorite white bean and roll with it, the authentic Italian beans would be the cannellini.
More Vegan Dishes
- Vegan Paella
- Farro Risotto
- Vegan Sautéed Cabbage and Onions
- Vegan Frittata
- Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon
- Pinto Bean Soup
- Root Vegetable Soup
- Chickpea Stew
- Green Split Pea Soup.
White Bean Stew from Scratch
- 3 cups white beans dry
- 1 leek or yellow onion diced
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 7 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 sage sprig
- 1 bay leaves
- 8 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1.5 tsp smoked applewood sea salt
- bread + garlic for bruschetta (optional but recommended)
- 1 -2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast optional
- Rinse and pick the beans then cover them with water and soak for 6 hours or overnight. Drain.
- In a large heavy bottom pot heat up a good lug of olive oil (or veggie broth for WFPB) and saute the leek (or onion) with the carrot and celery until they begin to soften.
- Quickly stir in the chopped garlic and cook for a few seconds just until fragrant then add the soaked beans.
- Pour in the water and bring to a constant simmer. Add the bay, sage and rosemary, cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes or until the beans are soft and tender to your liking.
- Check the beans half way through cooking and see if you might need to add extra water if they are absorbing lots of liquid.
- Once your beans are perfectly cooked remove from heat, stir in the nutritional yeast and season to taste with the smoked sea salt.
- OPTIONAL but Recommended: Meanwhile grill or toast the bread on both sides until nice dark char marks form. Rub each slice on both sides with a garlic clove, lightly brush with some olive oil and finish with sea salt.
- Ladle the bean stew into bowls and tear chunks of the garlic bruschetta over the top. Finish with a light drizzle of olive oil on top and enjoy.
WFPB + Plantricious
- To make this recipe WFPB + Plantricious compliant make sure to omit the oil and saute the veggies in water or veggie broth instead.
- Storage - Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheating - Reheat over the stove or in the microwave. Over the stove just seems to taste better and is always my first option.
- Add-in ideas - If you want to kick up the ingredients on this white bean stew, try some add-ins. Some of my top choices are broccoli rabe, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, basil pesto drizzle, sun dried tomato pesto, or plant-based Italian sausage, cooked separately, and added to each bowl when serving.
- Can I use canned beans? - I don’t tend to go for canned beans as they always have added junk in them. However, if you’re in a pinch or need a quicker option, canned beans will do. Just be sure to drain and rinse them. Be careful cooking them for too long as they might turn into mush.
- Use day-old bread - If you don’t want to make the garlic bruschetta, use some day-old bread to serve on the side. I personally prefer the bruschetta because it just completes the dish, but old bread will definitely do the trick as well.
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The creamiest most delicious pot of beans I have ever had. Followed the recipe exactly including the garlic bread and it was absolutely perfect. Will be adding this to my weekly rotation from now on. Thank you for sharing this fabulous recipe Florentina! ❤️
Is there something you can use in place of the smoked salt? Perhaps liquid smoke?
Sure, the recipe suggests a tiny bit of liquid smoke if smoked salt isn’t available.
where can you find smoked applewood sea salt?
Hey Cindy, I linked to it in the recipe card but if you have a Home Goods or Whole Foods close by they often carry it, otherwise just order online.
Delicious. I added more carrots and celery. Added beet greens. Didn’t have smoked salt so added 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and a tsp of salt.
I have no idea what is the smoked salt, never heard of it b4 but even without is this dish was delicious !!! Goes in my rotation :). Thank you very much for all your wonderful recipes!!!
Hi Erika, I’m so glad you loved the stew! Smoked salt is just sea salt infused with applewood smoke, it adds a subtle smokiness to the dish just like liquid smoke would if you are after that type of flavor profile 🙂
Sounds yummy!! My favorite dry white beans are Peruano, or Mayacoba beans. They end up so rich & creamy! Costco sells 25lb bags for less than $25!! If I want a soup to be extra thick & creamy, add cauliflower, & then when all is cooked, put a portion of the soup into the Vitamix or blender and add a couple handfuls of cashews! Blend till smooth & then add back to portion that wasn’t blended. Enjoy!!