January 13, 2013

Three Bean Tomato and Spinach Stew Recipe

We all can do more with less. That usually is my motto when I am cooking for chilly weeknight dinners. With ingredients readily available in my pantry or freezer, I try my best to whip up something comforting, with not much effort.

The other day as I was browsing through BBC GoodFood Magazine, I stumbled upon this super simple recipe which makes use of three kinds of beans along with tomatoes and spinach. Well, that's one hearty and nutritious combination, I thought.

Crescent Dragonwagon in her book "Passionate Vegetarian" once said - "The best part of (any) stew is the sensual part of it, coming in from out of the cold and smelling it simmering. The steaminess is enveloping. And the warm scent of food encourages you to take deeper breaths, which helps calm you."

..and this lovely quote is very apt for this recipe as once done, it leaves you very happy and satisfied!


Three Bean Tomato and Spinach Stew

The Beans!

{Recipe} Three Bean Tomato and Spinach Stew 

Serves 4-5
Adapted from BBC Good Food, January 2013 edition

Pair it with: Rice Cooker BiryaniMinty Stuffed Parathas | Simple Bread Loaf | Onion Bhakri


3 cups (in total) of any kind of dry (or canned) legumes - I used kidney beans (rajma), white soya beans and brown lentils
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp ground cumin powder
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup chopped spinach, tightly packed
salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare the beans: Wash once or twice and then soak all the legumes covered in water atleast for 8 hours or overnight. Place them in a pressure cooker and immerse them with enough water. Cook for  4-5 whistles until the beans are fork tender. I cook beans once every week, pack them in small portions in zip lock bags or microwavable boxes and freeze. Whenever I want to make any stew/soup or curry, I just thaw, microwave (when short of time) for few minutes and they are ready for use.

Tip: Drop a green tea bag while pressure cooking the beans and use the cooking liquid while preparing the stew as it renders a nice color to it.


1. Heat olive in a pan and add onion with crushed garlic. Saute until softened. Add ground cumin powder and cook for a minute. Tip in the tomato puree (or chopped tomatoes) plus a cup of cooking liquid (or water) and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened.

2. Grind into a smooth paste ~ about 1/3 cup of cooked beans using little cooking liquid.

3. Add the cooked beans and bean paste. Mix well and cook for about 5-6 miniutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with bread, roti or rice.


1. If using canned beans, make sure you adjust salt accordingly.

2. Original recipe used chopped tomatoes and I substituted them with store-bought tomato puree.

3. The consistency of the stew can be adjusted by adding more or less of the water in which the beans were pressure cooked.

4. This stew will taste good atleast for a week, when refrigerated. If it thickens, just re-heat with 1/2 cup of water. It will taste as good as new.

Sending this as an entry to My Legume Love Affair # 55 hosted by dear Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and to Healthy Vegan Friday # 26.

Also check out other legume recipes -

Easy Vegetarian Bean Chilli Recipe
Chana Dal Wadi ki Kadhi (Lentil Dumplings in Yogurt Gravy)
Broccoli Paruppu Usili - a Step by Step recipe
Kerala Style Arhar (Toor) Dal
Chana Masala
Makhani Dal (Whole Black lentils with Ginger, Garlic and Butter)

Doesn't it look delicious and comforting, for any time of the day.


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  1. I think I shall have this for dinner today. Looks so delicious.

  2. yummmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy. it looks inviting. Chala chakkaga present chesaru

  3. There is something especially inviting about a bean soup or stew. It's that pool of broth or sauce bobbing with curved or round legumes that makes you want to sink your spoon and scoop up.

    A beautiful recipe, Siri. I have been away too long. Your recipes and photos are in everlasting fine form.

    Thank you for joining in MLLA 55. : )

  4. Lovely! I love such comforting dishes.

  5. Such a bowl of comfort for this weather. I am loving it because its beans = healthy :-) Happy Sankaranti Siri!

  6. Yummm stew..looks delicious!!!


  7. delicious.. So tempting.. I would love to have a bowl

  8. Hi Siri,

    Lovely bean and spinach stew. I see you throw in the beans, cook them and THEN freeze them. i do the exact same thing as I can easily throw in beans now and then in to my cooking for my daily dose of protien!
    Lovely clicks.


  9. This looks DELICIOUS! I can't wait to give this a try. I live alone so making dishes like this that can be eaten for multiple days in a row is perfect for me!

  10. This is lovely, Siri. And I like the tip ;)


'Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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