Yes, we know it’s the middle of summer and currently hotter than Hades right now – so you might be wondering why we’re featuring a stew today.  Well, as you can see above, this isn’t some kind of soupy stew, but rather a bean-and-vegetable mixture that you can spoon out into a bowl but also drape across some bread.  It’s a hot meal, sure, but it’s more like a hearty mix of veggies and beans that requires no use of your oven, so it’s actually a pretty good meal for these warm months, and you can even easily make this vegan if you want.  We based this on a recipe from the New York Times and got really creative with it, going all out and serving it up in a variety of different ways, as you’ll see from our pictures.




To make this, you’ll need:

  • A cup of vegetable broth
  • Olive oil
  • Celery
  • 2 zucchini
  • Scallions
  • 2 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans
  • Mascarpone cheese (leave this out if you want a vegan recipe)
  • Bread
  • Pearled couscous
  • Pesto sauce – either use a vegan version, or make it yourself with:
    • Basil
    • Mint
    • Pine nuts
    • Parmesan cheese
    • Garlic
    • Red pepper flakes

To start, slice up 4 stalks of celery and 2-3 scallions, and cut your zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces.  Pour 1/3 cup of olive oil into a large skillet and add in these vegetables, then the broth, and cook everything over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.




Drain your beans and add those in as well, and cook for another 5 minutes.




Prepare 1 cup of couscous by bringing 1 1/2 cups of water and a teaspoon of olive oil to a boil, then stir in the couscous and let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  While that’s cooking, scoop the stew out of the skillet and cut your bread into slices, then toast them face down in the skillet.  If you’re making your own pesto sauce, follow the first three steps of this recipe.

When you’re ready, you can serve some of the stew in a bowl alongside the couscous and a few slices of bread, topped with some pesto and a dollop of mascarpone cheese.




And scoop more of it onto the rest of your toasted bread, also topped with pesto and mascarpone.




And that’s how you can eat a stew in the summer without sweating yourself to death – make something simple, using fresh vegetables and cool white beans, and serve it with some kind of grains or on bread topped with creamy cheese and sauce.  This stew cooks up quick and gives you a good and tasty blend of green veggies, protein in the beans, carbs from the bread or couscous, and some rich cheese and pesto.  We had never before thought to combine all these ingredients in this way, but we enjoyed whipping this up and finding a delicious way to get in our vegetables.