White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Rosemary

White bean stew with tomatoes and rosemary is ultra comforting and warming when the temperatures start to drop. The taste gets amped up from a bouquet garni of bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and celery, while tomatoes add lushness.

A metal saucepan filled with white bean stew with tomatoes and rosemary, with bowls, napkins, and utensils in the background.

Adapted from Darina Allen | How to Cook | Kyle Books, 2021

This bean stew freezes brilliantly. Serve as a vegetarian main or as a side dish to roast lamb or pork, or roast vegetables. 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 is a “very easy and versatile recipe” that works well as a side or vegetarian main dish and that it is 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. If you substitute a larger bean, you may need to adjust the cooking time. If your beans are more than a year old, we recommend starting with a fresh bag.
  • Bouquet garni–This is a small bundle of herbs that are tied together with kitchen string. It adds tremendous flavor to soups and stews, so we highly recommend you use it in your stew.
  • 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

  1. Soak the beans in water overnight. Strain the beans, add to a large pot, and cover with water.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Recipe FAQs

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.

Helpful tips

  • 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) 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.
  • 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

A metal saucepan filled with white bean stew with tomatoes and rosemary, with bowls, napkins, and utensils in the background.
Spicy and bursting with hints of garlic to complement the tender sausage, this richly textured bean stew is the perfect comforting winter supper.

Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 40 mins
Total 14 hrs
Mains
American
4 servings
293 kcal
5 / 7 votes
Print RecipeBuy the How to Cook cookbook

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Ingredients 

  • 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

Directions
 

  • In a large bowl, soak beans overnight in plenty of cold water.
  • The next day, strain the beans and add to a large pot. Cover with fresh cold water, add bouquet garni, halved onion, and carrot, and bring 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 bouquet garni and vegetables and discard. Reserve 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 garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • Stir in 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.
Print RecipeBuy the How to Cook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian diets.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 293kcal (15%)Carbohydrates: 37g (12%)Protein: 14g (28%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gSodium: 21mg (1%)Potassium: 1080mg (31%)Fiber: 9g (38%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 2548IU (51%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 147mg (15%)Iron: 6mg (33%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram 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

A good pot of beans is one of the simplest and most satisfying meals to create. This recipe is truly that. 

White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Rosemary--Lisa A.

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 their size, my cook times were a bit longer, so I made this into a leisurely Sunday afternoon project. 

For onions, I used a mix of Vidalia and red onion. 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.

This white bean stew recipe is simple and delicious. You make your own vegetable stock with and while cooking the beans. Brilliant. The flavors married well, with just enough rosemary to be present without overwhelming the dish.

White Bean Stew with Tomatoes and Rosemary--M. Maedgan


While I followed this recipe exactly to test it, normally I do not soak my beans. That means a longer cook time, but I think they are more flavorful.

In the future, I would 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 would 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 on the bouquet garni though! This brings so much earthiness and flavour to the beans while simmering that translates so well to the finished stew. I served this with some spicy roasted pork for a fantastic protein-packed and easy dinner.

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. It also freezes well!

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

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Comments

    1. Lou, the amount of sugar you add is up to you. It is mostly dependent on your personal preference and the type of tomatoes you are using. You may not need any sugar, or you may find that a pinch or two helps to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. Do let us know how it turns out!

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe brought back great memories and flavors of a shared meal prepared by an Italian Mama after a tour of a small olive oil processor in southern Italy. I didn’t add the sausage to keep it a meatless meal. It was delicious with Cornbread and a glass of Chianti. (It’d be wonderful with Ciabatta and a nice olive oil, too)

    1. Boy you’re on a roll, Deb L! This dish definitely is a soul-comforter. Great wine-pairing, too! Thank you for writing!

  2. 5 stars
    I love eating beans like this when visiting Italy and ate loads whilst there this summer. These beans were unexpectedly even more delicious and another level to those I ate during the summer!

    I used fresh tomatoes as I had a load to use up and a huge sprig of rosemary.

    Totally delicious and a definite keeper!

    THANK YOU!

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