Tomato + White Bean Stew with Parmesan

Make this this Tomato + White Bean Stew on a crisp night! Pantry staples and a few fresh ingredients add a quick punch of flavor this 30-minute recipe.



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 large yellow onion diced
  • optional: few teaspoons Calabrian chili paste or few pinches crushed red chili flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic finely diced
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 32 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes or 32oz can of crushed tomatoes. If using whole peeled tomatoes, break them up with your hands before incorporating in recipe.
  • 1 bunch kale roughly chopped into about 1" pieces (stems included)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock or water if needed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan plus more for serving
  • 2 15- ounce cans of white beans drained (butter beans preferred, cannellini beans work well)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Optional: lemon wedges from zested lemon, toasted breadcrumbs, and/or crispy bacon for serving

The Riffs, Subs + Swaps!

  • The Protein: Add ground Italian sausage to round the meal out. Cook ground sausage in the stockpot as the first step, when done remove it but reserve some of the fat, and add the cooked sausage back to the stew before serving.
  • The Spice: Calabrian chile paste adds sweetness and heat, and a little goes a long way. A few pinches of crushed red chili flakes will also get the job done. Omit either if you're not into spice.
  • The Garnishes: If garnishing with bacon, render bacon bits in the stockpot as the first step.  When done, remove it but reserve some of the fat in the pot, and then cook the recipe following the rest of the steps. Cooking the bacon in the same pot as the stew adds layers of flavor. Top bowls with crispy bacon. I also love to top this with crispy breadcrumbs and a few pinches of chopped fresh parsley.
  • The Texture: To make the consistency more thin and brothy, simply add more broth, or even water. This stew will thicken when saved for leftovers, so add more broth or water when reheating on the stovetop if desired. Be sure to generously season with more kosher salt here.
  • The Vegetarian Swaps: Sub in water or vegetable stock in place of chicken stock to keep this vegetarian.
  • The Dairy-Free Swaps: Omit the Parmesan cheese to keep it dairy-free.
  • The Vegan Swaps: Omit the Parmesan cheese and sub in water or vegetable stock in place of chicken stock tp keep it vegan.


Saute the aromatics

  1. Add olive oil or butter to a heavy bottomed stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add diced onion to pot, stir to coat in olive oil or butter, and season very generously with kosher salt. If you want some spice, add the Calabrian chile paste or a few pinches crushed red chili flakes.
  3. Saute diced onion over medium heat for several minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add diced garlic, stir, cook until garlic is fragrant, about a minute or so.
  5. Add tomato paste, stir to evenly distribute, and cook for several minutes to caramelize the onion, garlic, and tomato paste mixture. The mixture will have a bricky red color when it's caramelized.

Add Remaining Ingredients + Simmer

  1. Add canned tomatoes, chopped kale, broth (or stock or water), lemon zest, parmesan, and drained white beans. Using the back of a wooden spoon, gently crush some of the beans - this will help thicken the stew.
  2. With the lid off the stock pot, let the stew simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes - you should see steam coming out of the pot, and the liquid should reduce slightly, which concentrates the flavor. Stir occasionally. Taste as the stew simmers and add more salt as needed. Stir occasionally to submerge kale. You'll finish this recipe with the lid on the stockpot.
  3. Cover your pot with lid and let simmer on low heat for at least 10 more minutes.

Finish + Serve

  1. Serve with freshly cracked black pepper, lots of grated parm, and lemon wedges from the zested lemon.  Enjoy with buttery toast slices.