By Chef Linda
Cannellini beans and winter squash were made for each other. The beautiful color combination, velvety texture and comforting taste of this Cannellini Bean and Butternut Squash Stew make it perfect for brisk afternoons and chilly nights. Cooking the beans (after soaking them overnight) along with the other ingredients, rather than separately and adding them after, creates a rich, creamy backdrop for this chunky stew. Expect the squash to soften and fall apart, adding notes of gentle sweetness to the broth. Use kale or another hearty green to add color and a boost of nutrition. Beans are a delicious and important source of protein and fiber, while sweet and nutty butternut squash delivers a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, and E. Kale and other dark leafy greens are chock full of minerals like iron and calcium, both important in a vegan diet.
Toast up slices of crusty bread, drizzle with olive oil, then rub with fresh garlic and sprinkle with salt for a perfect accompaniment.
Cannellini Bean and Butternut Squash Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
4 to 5 fresh sage leaves, minced or 1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon ground chili flakes
1 bunch of kale, thick stems trimmed, leaves chopped small
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook till onion softens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add salt, bay leaves, beans and enough water to cover by about two inches. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until beans are almost done and still have a bite to them.
Add squash, nutritional yeast, sage and chili flakes. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until beans and squash are soft. Add kale and lemon juice. Let cook for another 5 minutes, or until kale has wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.