This vegan Tuscan bean and barley stew with kale is a nutritional bomb that’s also delicious. The bean stew is packed with veggies and made extra hearty with the addition of pearl barley. It’s healthy comfort food at its best and you can enjoy it on its own or with some crusty bread.
This Tuscan bean and barley stew is inspired by ribollita, a hearty Italian soup that's usually made with tomatoes and leftover bread that goes right into the soup.
My version keeps the cornucopia of veggies that goes into ribollita, but eliminates the bread and tomatoes and adds pearl barley instead. The result is a flavourful vegan bean stew that warms you inside out.
This bean soup with kale is the perfect warming meal for winter nights. It's also super nutritious, friendly, and you'll have your 5-a-day covered. What more can you want?
How to make this vegan Tuscan bean stew
- Start by chopping all your veggies — you'll need an onion, carrots, and some celery sticks for this vegan white bean and kale soup. You can also add some leeks if you want or substitute onions for them.
- Once you have everything ready, saute the veggies in olive oil until they soften a bit. They don't need to be completely soft at this point.
- Add in the garlic and herbs and give it a good stir.
- Next, add the cannellini beans, pearl barley and stock, and simmer until the pearl barley is done.
- Add the kale and cook for a couple of minutes more until it wilts.
- Season to taste and serve on its own or with crusty bread.
Recipe tips & tricks
- You don't need to soak pearl barley before using it in this stew. If you want to use pot barley instead, you should soak it for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight, as this type of barley takes longer to cook than pearl barley.
- You can use dry cannellini beans instead of tinned ones, but you'll also have to soak them overnight.
- You can add some other veggies in the stew if you want, with examples including red or green peppers or courgettes.
- If you don't have fresh rosemary, you can use dry rosemary instead.
- You can also substitute the herbs with 1 tablespoon of Italian mixed herbs.
If you liked this vegan Tuscan bean and barley stew, you might also enjoy:
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 x 400 g (14 oz.) tins cannellini beans, drained
- 100 g (3.5 oz) pearl barley, rinsed
- 1 liter (5 cups) vegetable stock
- 100 g ( 3.5 oz) kale, stems removed, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onion over medium heat for 2 minutes until it softens slightly.
- Add the carrot and celery sticks and continue to fry for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they soften a bit.
- Next, add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the rosemary, thyme and chilli flakes and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cannellini beans and pearl barley to the pot, then pour the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes or until the pearl barley is done to your liking.
- Mix in the ale and cook for another 2-3 minutes with a lid on until the kale wilts.
- Season to taste and serve as is or with crusty bread.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 419Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 750mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 16gSugar: 5gProtein: 22g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.