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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.
Darina Allen

Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 40 mins
Total 14 hrs
4 servings
293 kcal


  • 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) onions one halved and one chopped
  • 1 carrot halved
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 can (14 ounce) chopped or diced tomatoes
  • A large sprig of fresh rosemary chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Granulated sugar


  • 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. Season well with salt, black pepper, and sugar, to taste. The mixture should be loose and juicy but not swimming in liquid.

    TESTER TIP: Any cooked bean liquid that doesn’t get used in the stew can be frozen and used as a vegetable broth.


White Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Rosemary, and Chorizo variation

To add some extra protein to this dish, slice one cured chorizo sausage into rounds and add in step 5.

White Bean Stew with Tomatoes, Rosemary, and Cauliflower variation

Blanch 1lb (450g) of cauliflower or broccoli florets and add to the main recipe, 5 minutes before the end of cooking.

Gratin of  White Beans with Tomatoes and Rosemary 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.