As the nights become increasingly colder, I begin to crave more soups and stews. There’s nothing that will warm you up quicker than a steaming bowl of hot soup or stew. But most of the time, these kinds of dishes are high in sodium and fat because it takes a lot of oomph to season a huge pot of broth.
And if you’re anything like moi during the holiday season, then lately you’ve been eating copious amounts of peppermint bark and See’s chocolates (shout out to my Scotchmallows) so ingesting a salty bowl of chicken noodle or creamy tomato may not be the best idea. Luckily, I have a perfect and very healthy solution for you:
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (14-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
- 1 3/4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained (3 cups)
- 1 (1/2-pound) piece baked ham OR smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (5-ounce) bag baby romaine OR baby arugula OR baby spinach (10 cups loosely packed)
Cook garlic in 1/4 cup oil in a heavy stock pot (I usually use my 5 quart Le Creuset dutch oven) over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, 1-2 minutes. Coarsely cut up tomatoes in can with kitchen shears, then add (with juices) to garlic in oil. Stir in broth, beans, ham OR smoked turkey sausage, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted, 3 minutes.
This stew is not only loaded with protein, fiber, and iron but it is unbelievably delicious. It’s so rare to find a dish that’s healthy and flavorful at the same time and this white-bean stew is definitely BOTH. But I must say the best part is that it’s super easy make and takes no more than 20 minutes to prepare. I’ve made it numerous times and it does not disappoint.
I don’t eat ham so I usually substitute smoked turkey sausage (usually Hillshire Farms) and honestly, it adds so much flavor to the dish that I recommend it over plain ham. As for the greens, any will do but I tend to prefer a bag of the mixed baby greens. But if that’s not on sale (which it rarely is), then I use a bunch of baby spinach. Just as good, trust me.
After you chow down a couple bowls of this stew, you won’t have to feel guilty about finishing off that box of peppermint bark. That’s always a plus in my book. Happy eating.
[Image via Epicurious.com]