Mixed Bean and Vegetable Stew
½ cup dried kidney beans, soaked 6 hours or overnight (or 15-ounce can, rinsed/drained)
½ cup dried chickpeas, soaked 6 hours or overnight (or 15-ounce can rinsed/drained)
½ cup onion, large-dice
1 cup tomatoes, large-dice
1 garlic clove
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (reduce to 3 to 3½ cups if using canned beans)
¾ cup potato, scrubbed and diced (one small)
1 cup green beans, fresh, trimmed and cut into half-inch pieces (or frozen green beans)
1 cup carrots, small-dice (approximately 2 large carrots)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup tomatoes, small-dice (petite, if canned)
¼ tsp. ground aji panca, ground smoked chipotle, or cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin (double if not using one of the spicy pepper choices)
½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
Sea salt, to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp. cilantro, fresh, finely chopped
Cooked rice or polenta
1½ cups cornmeal
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
For the beans:
To use dried beans: Place pre-soaked kidney beans and chickpeas in medium saucepan; add 3 cups water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40-50 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and set aside, do not drain.
To use canned beans: drain and rinse.
In a blender or food processor, combine the onion, large-dice tomatoes and garlic; blend until smooth. Transfer to a large soup pot. Stir in vegetable broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle boil; cook for 5 minutes.
Add the diced potato and fresh green beans, if using, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
If using frozen green beans, add them along with the carrots and mushrooms. Cover the pan and cook on low heat until beans are crisp tender, 5-7 minutes.
Add the cooked pinto and garbanzo beans with their liquid (or rinsed and drained canned beans) along with the small-dice tomatoes, pepper of choice, cumin, vinegar, and salt to taste, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Add water, if needed, to achieve the desired consistency.
Remove from heat. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top. Serve hot as a stew or over rice or polenta, if desired. Leftovers freeze well (sprinkle on some dried cilantro before freezing).
Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Whisk in the cornmeal, a little at a time, to prevent lumps from forming.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick and creamy; about 30 minutes. Season with salt, if using. Serve with the stew or pour the polenta into a loaf pan and refrigerate until set, approximately 1 hour.
MORE FROM THE AUTHOR:
A farm girl turns vegan, and you can too, with this filling stew recipe
I grew up on a farm, so I thought the transition away from meat would be difficult. It wasn’t!
It’s six years later, and I feel younger every day. Here’s how you can feel your best without eating animal products.
HOW I STARTED
First of all, I’m grateful for a persistent friend. After being asked by her over and over again for two years to watch the DVD “Forks Over Knives” and hearing how “it will change your life,” I watched it twice so I wouldn’t miss anything.
The benefits of observing a plant-based, whole-food lifestyle far outweigh risking the diseases associated with meat and dairy consumption. I was “all in” because I want to live until I’m 100!
I ordered the Forks Over Knives book and haven’t looked back once. It shows how to transform your pantry to be vegan, what utensils and small appliances you will use the most, how to make the transition easy by using day-by-day menus, and provides the recipes to do so.
I wanted to use up all the animal products I had on hand as soon as I could. So, within the first two weeks, I ate all of the meat in my freezer and eliminated dairy from my diet. Using the book, I put together meal plans every week so that when it’s time to buy groceries, I purchase only what I need.
Planning is very important, because produce and some ingredients don’t stay fresh for long and not all can be frozen. Each weekend I prepare everything I need for the coming week.
In fact, that was one of my goals back in 2015 — to cook more. Most entrees, soups and stews freeze easily because they have been cooked. Salads last quite a while in the fridge if they are in well-sealed containers.
Breakfast varies between preparing the meal that morning (a wrap, for example) or making it the weekend before and freezing single servings to warm up later (such as eggless scrambles).
Over the years, I have bought more and more vegan recipe books. I mark the recipes that sound good and usually get through them in about a year. I’m ready for another new one now!
If you are a busy person or cooking for a family, I suggest looking for books and recipes that use minimal ingredients and have short prep time. You would be surprised how good only five ingredients can taste.
Some of the ingredients for the recipes can be pricey, but you can minimize the cost by using substitutes — cornstarch for arrowroot powder, peanut butter for tahini (except when you make hummus, of course), etc. Google is a good friend!
RESULTS OF THE VEGAN TRANSFORMATION
What are the results of six years as a happy vegan? I feel healthy, sleep better, maintain my weight easily, and look younger. The stranger benefits are not feeling full after eating a large meal and not belching. You laugh, but it’s true!
What about eating out, you ask? More and more restaurants are providing vegan options, or you can make some vegetarian options vegan by saying “Please hold the cheese.”
I have an understanding extended family, and this allows me to bring my own meals when we celebrate family events. My friends and coworkers understand, too, especially when I make vegan dishes for them, and they cannot taste any difference.
As you can imagine, the most common question a vegan gets is, “How do you get your protein since you don’t eat meat?” Well, this recipe takes care of that because it is full of beans. It’s colorful too!
When I take this dish to work for leftovers at lunch, I hear “that looks good” from my coworkers. It is one of the first vegan recipes I made, and I still love after six years. I hope that you do, too!