This comforting Cannellini Bean and Kale Stew is a rich and hearty vegetarian dish that warms up hearts and cooler nights. Serve with crusty bread to mop up every last bit of the stew’s rich-tasting broth.
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Is there such a thing as transitional comfort food? If I had to illustrate comfort food, it would be a hearty bowl of gooey, cheesy carbs enjoyed by the fireside during winter (cacio e pepe comes to mind!) It sure is a cliché, but frankly, I’m happy the cold season provides the excuse to indulge in such delightful meals.
When spring comes around, I’m eager to switch up our menu to include fresher flavors—yet winter makes a slow stage exit in Quebec City, often offering us an April snowstorm as a parting present. This is exactly when the need for “transitional” comfort food comes in: dishes that will warm us up without making us feel like we’ve given up on spring.
This Cannellini Bean and Kale Stew fit into that category perfectly. Inspired by risotto, the dish is vegetarian, carb-free, yet hearty, thanks to the use of good-for-you cannellini beans. You’ll prepare this stew much like you would a risotto: by first frying shallots and garlic in oil, then evaporating white wine for flavor, adding kale instead of rice, then simmering it all with white beans and vegetable stock—no continuous stirring required!
The genius step comes at the end when you use a masher or a fork to mash about half of the cannellini beans straight into the pan. The beans will thicken the stew and give it a rich texture. Stirring in Parmigiano Reggiano adds delightful depth, and the sprinkling of lemon gremolata makes it super fresh and bright. If you want to keep this Cannellini Bean and Kale Stew vegan, skip the parmesan cheese and sprinkle with nutritional yeast before serving, instead.
This Cannellini Bean and Kale Stew is perfect for those in-between periods in the spring or fall, or for cooler summer nights that justify turning on the stove. Serve with fresh, crusty bread to mop up every last bit of the stew’s rich-tasting broth.
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