Meatless Monday: Bean Stew

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One of the first things I learned to make as a kid was bean soup.  My family had it so many ways, I never realized how many soups started with a simple dry bean.  They are inexpensive, super easy to store, keep forever, and are even easier to cook.

When you go to your local supermarket, you’ll probably find lots of choices.  Split peas, kidney beans, navy beans, great northern beans, butter beans, lima beans, and garbanzo beans, just for a start.  You’ll even find premade mixes of beans.  15 and 17 bean mixes are common in the store I shop in.  I normally start with either a 17 bean mix, or a mixture of beans I make myself from whatever is available.  From there, it’s your imagination and your family’s likes that make this such a versatile soup.

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Try this simple, meatless recipe for a great, hearty dinner that will warm you up on a cool winter night!

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs of mixed dry beans

4 carrots, sliced

3 ribs celery, sliced

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

1large can diced tomatoes, with juice

1 large bottle vegetable or tomato juice

salt and pepper

bay leaf

olive oil

 

Soak the beans in a bowl of water overnight.  This will soften the beans and make them cook much faster.

The next morning, sauté the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the sauté pan.  Once the onion turns clear, add them to a large stockpot.

Drain the beans and rinse, making sure to sort for sticks or pebbles.  Add them to the pot, with the rest of the ingredients.  Add water to cover everything well.  Simmer for 6 to 7 hours, adding water to refill what simmers out.  Stir a few times an hour to keep the beans from sticking.

Adjust the seasonings once the beans are soft and form a gravy.  Serve with crusty bread.

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