White bean stew with tomatoes and rosemary is ultra comforting and warming when temperatures drop. The taste gets amped up from a bouquet garni of bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and celery, while tomatoes add lushness.
Adapted from Darina Allen | How to Cook | Kyle Books, 2021
This bean stew freezes brilliantly. Serve it as a vegetarian main or as a side dish to roast lamb or pork, or roast vegetables. It’s lovely for lunch on a crispy oiled ciabatta half with some arugula and basil over the top.–Darina Allen
Why Our Testers Loved This
Our testers loved this easy white bean stew recipe for several reasons. They liked that it’s a “very easy and versatile recipe” that works well as a side or vegetarian main dish, and that it’s a “nutritious meal” requiring only a handful of pantry staples.
Kylie Sachs summed it up perfectly with her comment, “This is one of those dishes you’re happy to have tucked into your fridge. It’s a wonderful side, excellent on toasted bread, and perfect on its own.“
Notes on Ingredients
- White beans–Small white beans work best in this recipe. You may need to adjust the cooking time if you substitute larger beans. If your beans are more than a year old, we recommend buying a fresh bag.
- Bouquet garni–A bouquet garni is a small bundle of herbs tied together with kitchen string. It adds tremendous flavor to soups and stews, so we highly recommend you use it in your stew. Just remember to remove the packet before serving.
- Onions–Use any type of onions you have on hand, or choose the ones you enjoy most. Our testers had success using a variety of yellow, white, and red onions here.
How to Make This Recipe
- Soak the beans in water overnight. Strain the beans, add to a large pot, and cover with water.
- Add the bouquet garni, carrot, and halved onion and simmer until tender. Season to taste with salt, then discard the bouquet garni and strain, reserving the bean cooking liquid.
- Sauté the garlic and onion over medium-low heat. Add the tomatoes, beans, and rosemary, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add bean liquid and seasoning as needed.
How can I turn this into soup?
If you prefer something more soup-like, it can be done. Just blitz it, add some hot stock, and you’ve made a delicious soup. Purée it as smooth as you like, or hold aside some of the beans and tomatoes to add back into the smoother soup base.
Can I add other vegetables or meat to this stew?
Definitely. To add some extra protein to this dish, slice one cured chorizo sausage into rounds and add in step 5. Or, if you’d prefer more vegetables, blanch 1 pound (450g) of cauliflower or broccoli florets and add to the tomato and white bean stew 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
Can I freeze this stew?
Yes. Place any leftover stew in an airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- Start checking your beans after they have been cooking for 45 minutes. The age and size of the beans will affect the cooking time, and they may take up to 2 hours to become tender.
- Save any extra bean cooking liquid and use it as vegetable stock in this turmeric bean soup. The bean cooking liquid can be frozen for up to 4 months.
- To make a baked white bean gratin, put the mixture in a shallow ovenproof dish. Scatter a mixture of buttered crumbs and approximately 2 ounces (50g) of grated Cheddar cheese (or a mixture of Cheddar and Parmesan or another full-flavored cheese) over the top. Pop into a hot oven, or slide it under a broiler, until crisp and golden on top.
- Store leftover tomato and white bean stew in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian diets.
More great white bean stew recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Rosemary
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup) dried haricot beans or cannellini beans
- Bouquet garni made from a bay leaf parsley stalks, thyme, and a celery stalk (optional)
- 2 small (12 oz total) onions one halved and one chopped
- 1 carrot halved
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic crushed
- One (14-ounce) can chopped or diced tomatoes
- A large sprig of fresh rosemary chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water.
- The next day, strain the beans and add them to a large pot. Cover with fresh cold water, add bouquet garni, halved onion, and carrot, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
- Cover and simmer until beans are soft but not mushy, 45 minutes to 2 hours. Just before the end of cooking, add salt to taste.
- Remove the bouquet garni and vegetables and discard them. Reserve the cooking liquid for later.
- Meanwhile, in a wide saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the chopped onion and cook gently until soft but not colored, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Stir in the tomatoes, cooked beans, and rosemary. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, adding some of the bean liquid if the stew is dry.
☞TESTER TIP: Any cooked bean liquid that doesn’t get used in the stew can be frozen and used as a vegetable broth.
- Season well with salt, black pepper, and sugar, to taste. The mixture should be loose and juicy but not swimming in liquid.
- Leftover cooking liquid–Save any extra bean cooking liquid and use it as vegetable stock in this turmeric bean soup. The bean cooking liquid can be frozen for up to 4 months.
- White bean gratin variation–Put mixture in a shallow ovenproof dish. Scatter a mixture of buttered crumbs and approximately 2 ounces (50g) grated Cheddar cheese (or a mixture of Cheddar and Parmesan or other well-flavored cheeses) over the top. Pop into a hot oven, or flash under a broiler, until crisp and golden on top.
- Storage–Store leftover tomato and white bean stew in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian diets.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This white bean stew recipe is simple and delicious. You make your own vegetable stock while cooking the beans. Brilliant. The flavors married well, with just enough rosemary to be present without overwhelming the dish.
While I followed this recipe exactly to test it, normally I don’t soak my beans. That means a longer cook time, but I think they’re more flavorful.
In the future, I’d make this without soaking, and I might adapt the bean cooking to the Instant Pot if I wanted a similar cook time as with soaked beans. Another change I’d make would be to salt the beans at the beginning.
This rosemary bean stew makes a nutritious meal that doesn’t require much work. It seems like the recipe would also taste fairly good in a pinch if canned beans were used instead of dried.
I served the beans alone for a simple Sunday supper. They would be good with fish, meat, a green salad or on toast for a more complete meal.
Fabulous! A taste of Tuscany. This white bean stew with tomatoes and rosemary is a very easy and versatile recipe that can stand up next to simple grilled chicken or be transformed into a rustic side dish next to a meaty roast.
This tomato and bean stew is so flavourful and quick to come together with pantry items you would have lying around on hand and lends itself very well to customization if you want to mix it up a little bit.
Be sure not to skip the bouquet garni though! It brings so much earthiness and flavour to the beans while simmering, which adds so much the finished stew. I served this with some spicy roasted pork for a fantastic protein-packed and easy dinner.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
A good pot of beans is one of the simplest and most satisfying meals to create. This recipe is truly that.
I had a pound of Caballero beans from Rancho Gordo, so I doubled the recipe. Caballeros are large round beans that cook up lusciously creamy. Because of the size of the beans, my cook times were a bit longer, so I made this into a leisurely Sunday afternoon project.
For the onions, I used a mix of Vidalia and red onions. The perfume of the rosemary made my kitchen smell heavenly. I might just add another sprig next time.
I didn’t bother with the sugar.
The result is a delicious bowl of beans that needs nothing added. I will have good food at work all week. Even my husband was happy with a bowl of beans. This will be a regular repeat in my kitchen.