This creamy three bean stew is the ideal healthy comfort food - with fresh veg and three types of beans, in a luxurious creamy tomato sauce!
This creamy three bean stew is basically my perfect dinner. It feels like a luxurious, comforting meal, but is packed with fresh vegetables and protein-rich beans (three kinds, in case you couldn't have guessed) - all coated in a creamy, silky sauce with heaps of flavour (swoooon).
It ticks all the boxes!
Healthy comfort food
Veggie-packed comfort food has got to be my all-time favourite food category, and it doesn't get much better than this creamy three bean stew. It's absolutely full of goodness, but is about as far from rabbit food as you can get (I've never been much of a salad person).
After eating a meal like this, you feel totally satisfied, and your body thanks you too.
What's in this creamy three bean stew?
There are 3 main elements to this hearty vegetarian stew:
- the vegetables - I chose carrots, courgette (zucchini) and mushrooms
- the beans - three different types! I used black beans, kidney beans and cannellini beans
- the sauce - made with tomatoes, creamy tomato soup, and an extra dollop of cream for good measure
As long as you make sure your bean stew contains these three elements, it will be a success - even if you decide to switch things up a bit (see below for some ideas for how to adapt the recipe!).
How to make creamy three bean stew
Step 1: Fry off the vegetables
Start by dicing your veggies, and adding them to a large saucepan. Cook them for a few minutes until they're just starting to soften.
Step 2: Add most of the remaining ingredients
We're already at the 'add everything else' stage - this recipe really couldn't get much simpler.
Add the beans and sauce ingredients to the pan, and leave everything to simmer for a little while, until the sauce has thickened nicely and the vegetables and beans are totally soft.
Step 3: Make it extra creamy
As a little finishing touch, I like to add one more little dollop of something to make it extra creamy. To be honest, there are lots of ingredients you could use for this purpose, which would all have pretty much the same effect:
- sour cream
- Greek yogurt
- cream cheese
Just be careful if you're using the low fat version of any of these ingredients, as low fat dairy products can sometimes split and curdle in this kind of situation.
It's best to stick to the full fat version if you can, or if you really want to use low fat, temper the ingredient first. To do this, mix a spoonful of your hot stew into the yogurt (or whatever you're using) first, then add it all back into the pot. This helps to minimise the temperature shock, and reduces the risk of curdling.
The difference that one good dollop of sour cream had on my three bean stew was really pretty amazing:
It makes the whole thing so much more luxurious, and transforms a simple bean stew into something seriously tempting.
How to serve three bean stew
This stew already contains all the most important food groups, so there's no need to serve anything alongside it if you don't want to. Just a nice big bowl and a spoon are all you need.
Personally though, I think a bit of garlic bread or some crusty bread and butter are absolutely perfect for mopping up the bowl and adding a nice bit of crunch...
How to adapt the recipe
One of the best things about this recipe is that it's endlessly adaptable - it's such a good fridge clearer. I would be willing to bet that almost all of you could make this three bean stew entirely from ingredients you already have in the house.
Who doesn't already have a cupboard full of random tins of beans? And a fridge full of veggies that could do with being used up?
Just chuck 'em all in - the more the merrier.
You could choose different vegetables, different beans, or adjust the sauce ingredients, and you'll almost certainly still end up with a really tasty meal. In fact, it's pretty fun if it ends up slightly different each time you make it.
Creamy Three Bean Stew
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- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, sliced or diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium courgette (zucchini), diced
- ~ 5 medium mushrooms, diced
- 400 g tin cannellini beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 ¼ cups, when drained)
- 400 g tin black beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 ¼ cups, when drained)
- 400 g tin kidney beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 ¼ cups, when drained)
- 400 g (~ 1⅓ cups) tinned tomatoes
- 400 g (~ 1 ⅓ cups) tin cream of tomato soup
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
- 2 tablespoon cream, cream cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt (full fat versions)
- Small bunch fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- Heat a dash of oil in a large saucepan, and add the diced onion and carrot. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until the onion has softened slightly. Add the garlic, courgette and mushrooms, and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to soften.
- Add the three drained tins of beans, tin of tomatoes, and tin of tomato soup. Also add the oregano and black pepper, along with a crumbled stock cube (or just some salt, if you prefer).
- Bring to a simmer, and cook for around 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to produce a thick sauce.
- Add the cream, mix to combine, and serve warm, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.