Serena Lee // Wellness & Natural Lifestyle Blog // Vegan & Sustainable Lifestyle // London, UK

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I’m Serena and here’s where I share the journey of living more healthily & mindfully. Thanks for stopping by!

Hearty Italian Bean Stew: Recipe

Hearty Italian Bean Stew: Recipe

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The last rays of summer are starting to fade and just like that, my mind is shifting from thinking about fresh summer salads to autumnal fruit & vegetable hauls. That said, there is still lots going on in the garden, and with this bumper summer the garden tomatoes are still coming in thick and fast. As you might know, Peppe & I try to grow as much garden produce as we can. We live in a small garden in East London, 24ft x 18ft, but it's still enough to grow some of our favourite fruit and vegetables - more on our garden's progress can be found here, where we've documented what we've grown and how well (or not) we've done. But what do we do with the things we grow?  I often post our homemade meals on Instagram, and often have people ask for recipes - so here’s our Hearty Italian Bean Stew. 

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The Recipe

Today I’ll be sharing with you one of my favourites, a recipe that can easily be collected from garden produce, or bought from the greengrocer/supermarket and will be loved not only by vegetarians & vegans, but anyone who likes a traditional stew. We’re keen to keep costs low, and picking the vegetables fresh from the garden adds a burst of flavour we never knew we were missing! We’ll be making a thick and flavourful Italian-inspired bean stew which is great for any time of the year and goes well with freshly baked bread. To complement the stew, I’ll show you how I make my wholegrain flatbread too.

Serves: 3 - Prep Time: 10 minutes - Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

Stew

  • 1 medium onion - finely diced

  • 2-3 garlic cloves (small)

  • 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 pinch of coarse salt

  • 4 leaves of cavolo nero kale or 2 handfuls of supermarket-bought curly kale

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 12-15 large cherry tomatoes

  • 2 tins of borlotti beans in water - or two cups of soaked garden borlotti beans

  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable stock (we like 9 Meals from Anarchy, as it doesn’t contain palm oil)

  • 3 stems of fresh basil

Flatbread

  • 400g wholegrain flour

  • 400g natural yoghurt (we used Nush Almond M*lk Yoghurt)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • White flour for dusting

  • 2 rosemary sprigs

  • 1/2 pinch of coarse salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Optional ingredients:

  • Crushed black pepper

  • Flaked chilli

  • Nutritional yeast

Method

Stew

  1. Pour the olive oil into a saucepan, and put it on a low heat. While the oil warms up, dice your onion finely (this is important as we want it to break down and release as much water as possible). Peel and chop your garlic cloves and let the onions and garlic lightly sauté in the oil. Keep an eye on the onion to make sure they don’t go brown.

  2. Strip your kale of any stems, and either cut the leaves into 1cm chunks or loosely rip the kale by hand. Add the kale to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes.

  3. Add your soaked beans or your tinned beans to the pan (water included, if using tinned beans) and turn the heat up to medium-high.

  4. Add a pinch of coarse salt and add the tinned tomatoes (juice included), or cut your cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the pan.

  5. Add a teaspoon of vegetable stock.

  6. Let everything cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. If you find that things are sticking, reduce the heat a little bit. Now is a good time to start preparing your flatbread.

  7. Add your basil 5 minutes before you finish cooking in order to add an extra dimension to the dish.

  8. Once you’ve finished cooking, remove from the heat and serve, either adding nutritional yeast, vegan cheese, chilli flakes or extra virgin olive oil.

Flatbread

  1. De-leaf your rosemary sprigs and finely chop the leaves - the smaller the better.

  2. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix everything together with your hands. Knead for a few minutes, until the dough is solid enough to work. If it’s too solid, add small amounts of water and, if your dough is too free-form, add extra flour. The dough doesn’t have to be as ‘perfect’ as other bread recipes.

  3. Put a griddle pan on the heat with a small amount of olive oil. Keep the heat high as the bread will be cooking for only a short time. If you don’t have a griddle, a normal frying pan works fine too, but your bread won’t have the pleasing textured lines from the griddle pan!

  4. Take your dough and rip it into smaller, golfball-sized chunks. Take each chunk and press it down by hand as though creating a mini pizza dough. Each chunk should now be pressed into a flat piece of dough no thicker than 3-5mm.

  5. Put your pressed dough onto the heated griddle/pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Each piece should rise and be spongey inside, but harder on the outside. They rise quickly, so keep an eye on them!

  6. Once fully cooked, place on a plate and season as desired, or have them as they are.

Serve with your Hearty Italian Bean Stew and enjoy - I love scooping the stew on the flatbread, otherwise the bread tastes great with a garlic glaze which you can create by lightly frying garlic in some extra virgin olive oil.

This is a super simple recipe that doesn't need much culinary skill. The ingredients are best garden-fresh, but supermarket-bought will fill you up just as nicely!

We’d like to say a big thank you to Denby, our favourite UK-based pottery collection, for providing us with their Studio Blue range, and Nush Foods for letting us feast on their dairy-free range of yoghurts and cheese spreads, the yoghurts are perfect for the flatbread recipe.

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Let me know if you try this recipe, and thank you for reading!

Serena

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Post supported by Denby Pottery & Nush Foods. All reviews are always honest & my own - please share your opinions too! By helping the brands who support this blog, you'll help me in turn to share more ethical products & services :) Thank you again for reading this post! 


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