Vegan bean stew with fennel

Vegan bean stew with fennel

vegan bean stew

Greetings from beautifully sunny Poland. I’m at my parents’ house tonight, but heading back to Krakow tomorrow to catch up with friends and hang out with my brother and his girlfriend. Then back here again to spend a few more days with my mum and dad before I fly back next Friday to be reunited with my husband (still feels weird to refer to him as that), Duncan and our kitty, Tina.

When I shot this recipe two weeks ago, the weather was foul and we were crying out for some comfort food. Putting a large pot of stew on and basking in its warmth made total sense. Now that I am in sunny 25° C (77° F) Poland, it feels a touch ill-timed, but I know that as soon as I touch down in the UK, a bowl of steaming hot veggie stew will be an ideal dinner, so I hope this recipe will come in handy for those of you who aren’t lucky enough to experience an extended summer right now.

This simple vegan bean stew inspired by Spanish flavours is easy to make, filling, delicious and healthy. I love to make a big pot of it on Friday so that when we return from our weekend run or a long walk, cold and hungry, we can have a steaming hot bowl of comforting food ready in no time.

vegan bean stew ingredients

vegan bean stew ingredients chopped

vegan bean stew close

20 min
75 min
20 min
75 min
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml olive oil, plus more for grilling and roasting
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • 1 Romano or Ramiro pepper, diced finely
  • ½ fennel bulb (about 150 g / 0.5 oz), plus 1½ more for grilling (optional)
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp hot chilli flakes, adjust to taste
  • two pinches ground saffron threads (optional)
  • 2 x 400 g / 14 oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 fire roasted peppers (about 150 g / 0.5 oz), diced finely or blended*
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp salt, adjust to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 x 400 g / 14 oz tin cannellini beans (or chickpeas)
  • 12 green olives, (optional)
  • fresh parsley or thyme (optional)
  • ¼ cup pepitas / pumpkin kernels
  1. Heat up the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Add the diced onion and fry it gently (on a low heat) until almost translucent (for about 7 minutes), stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the chopped garlic. Keep on frying gently until the onion is translucent and the garlic softens completely and releases its beautiful aroma (approx. 5 minutes).
  4. Add a finely chopped Romano pepper and half a chopped fennel. Saute for a few minutes until softened.
  5. Stir all the spices into the vegetables. Fry them off gently for a minute or two (stirring the whole time) as they tend to burn easily.
  6. Add tomatoes and two cans worth of liquid (water or veggie stock and if you have an opened bottle of dry white wine handy, replace some of the water with wine).
  7. Add finely diced (or blended with some of the sauce) fire-roasted peppers and dried thyme.
  8. Add salt and simmer, covered, so that the tomatoes have a chance to break down.
  9. Once the tomatoes are sufficiently broken down (depends on how chunky you like your sauce), take the lid off and simmer for a further 20-30 minutes for the stew to thicken and for the excess moisture to evaporate. Remember to give the stew a good stir from time to time.
  10. While the sauce is simmering, grill the extra fennel (if using). To do that, cut the fennel into same size wedges. Heat up a griddle pan and brush it with a little oil. Place the fennel wedges on a hot pan, cut side down, and grill them until you get nice char marks on both sides. Set aside to add to the stew at the end.
  11. Heat up 1 tsp of olive oil in a very small pan. Once hot, add pepitas, toss them in the oil and allow them to roast (stirring the whole time). Take them off the heat once lightly browned, fragrant and crackling. Toss some salt through them – I like to use garlic salt.
  12. Once the sauce thickens, taste it and season with a generous amount of black pepper and more salt if needed. Romano / Ramiro peppers add sweetness to the sauce so you are unlikely to need sugar, but if you feel that the sauce is still too tangy, add a teaspoon of sugar or date syrup. If you find the sauce too sweet, on the other hand, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
  13. Finally, stir in the drained cannellini beans and let them warm through. Add the olives and grilled fennel just before serving.
  14. Decorate with fresh parsley (or thyme) and salt-roasted pepitas. Serve with rice, quinoa or couscous.

*If you don’t have any on hand, replace with another Romano or Ramiro pepper.

3 g
12 g
1 g
13 g
39 g
*per serving
How would you rate this recipe?
This is a test string

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

3 reviews, 7 comments
This is so good! I tossed in a small eggplant that I had and used lentils instead of the beans, but kept the spices and the rest of the original recipe, and it is so delicious. Thank you for sharing!
    Thank you Emily, I am delighted! And thank YOU for taking the time to review – I really appreciate it. x Ania
Sue Poxon:
Not vegan but like to try new things. Made this to accompany a meat dish but we all felt the meat was superfluous! Doing it again tomorrow! One tip , add a dash of Pernod or similar , it really enhances the flavor!
    Thanks so much, Sue! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed it enough to make again and you are not even vegan! That's fabulous and good thinking on adding Pernod! x Ania
Followed the recipe exactly, except roasted the Fennel instead of grilling it, either way it was delicious! The green olives were a perfect contrast in the dish - we served it over rice as suggested. We will make this one often! Delicious!!
    Thanks Shana! I am delighted to hear that! x Ania
I cooked this on the weekend as I was craving something tomatoey and tasty (and it also had fennel so even better) and it didn't disappoint. There were a few steps to follow but all worth it. Step 8 took a bit longer than anticipated and I only used 1 can of butter beans as that's what I had in the cupboard and to be honest, for us, it was enough beans, but other than that, this recipe was spot on. My partner has even discovered a love of toasted pepitas! I served it with farfalle and it worked really well. Thanks for another tasty recipe. I would definitely make this again.
    I'm so pleased to hear that, Pauline!! And don't even get me started on pepitas! I ate 2/3 cup the other day, pan-roasted and coated in spices and garlic salt, without meaning to, I simply could not leave them alone ;) x Ania
Oh my goodness, this is a work of art! I am off to the grocery store now to get the ingredients! Thank you for the inspiration!
    My pleasure, hope you'll like it! Ania
Join our mailing list and we we will let you know when we publish a new recipe. You'll receive our DELIGHTFUL DESSERTS E-BOOK as a thank you for supporting us.