The Last Summer Recipe: White Bean Stew

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white-beansThe last day of this glorious summer. It’s not easy saying goodbye to peaches, zucchini, tomatoes, corn and berries… oh, and the basil, glorious basil. It has been such an abundant growing season around these parts and I’m not sure I’m ready for the squashes, kale and turnips just yet.

This recipe combines beans, tomatoes and basil to make a simple stew that still tastes like summer, but keeps you warm when the nights get cooler. My suggestion is to use all fresh ingredients. If you don’t grow them, head to your farmers’ market to take advantage of the last of this summer’s fare.

White beans like kidney beans, cannellini or navy beans are full of fiber and antioxidants, and are very low on the glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index is used to rank foods based on how they affect your blood sugar levels. Low GI foods, like white beans, metabolize slowly and provide steady energy for hours after being consumed. This in turn helps stave off cravings for sugary foods and control mood swings. But the health benefits of eating low glycemic foods such as white beans do not end there: low GI foods may also help forestall diabetes in pre-diabetic people and reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

White Bean Stew

1/2 pound dried  beans, soaked and cooked or fresh beans ready to go
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tbsps fresh chopped basil
2 tbsps fresh chopped mint

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Add the tomatoes, beans, broth, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook until tomatoes are slightly softened but still hold their shape, 3-5 minutes. Right before serving, stir in the fresh basil and mint. Place in a serving dish, garnish with more fresh herbs, and serve hot with crusty bread.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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September 2016
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