Italian Cannellini Bean Stew
with Escarole and Basil
This classic winter stew is a favorite of ours. Creamy white beans give it heft and smoked paprika adds a rich depth of flavor to the dish. If you’ve never had escarole, think of it as a halfway point between lettuce and kale — it’s a fabulous winter green, and is related to endive, chicory, and radicchio. It’s especially excellent in soups and stews, where its slight bitterness gets a chance to mellow out.
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- 4 oz carrot
- 2 oz escarole
- 1 package cannellini beans
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp vegetable powder
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- Fresh basil
- 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan
- Salt and pepper*
- 1 tbsp olive oil*
- *Not included
Rinse and dry the produce. Mince the garlic. Peel and mince the shallot. Peel and thinly slice the carrot into thin rounds. Set aside.
Rinse the escarole a second time to remove any extra grit from the leaves. Separate the leaves from the tough stems, and discard the stems. Stack the leaves, roll them up into a loose cigar shape, and roughly chop. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Set aside.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a large pot, and put the pot on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallot, carrot, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Cook for about a minute. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add 4 cups of water, the vegetable powder, and the smoked paprika to the pot. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom, and then add the cannellini beans. Bring cannellini stew to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
Rinse the basil. Remove the leaves from any tough stems. Discard the stems, and roughly chop the leaves. Set aside. Add the chopped escarole leaves to the pot with the stew. Stir in and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
Season the escarole and cannellini stew to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into shallow bowls for serving, and garnish with the “Parmesan” and chopped basil. Enjoy!