I first had the opportunity to meet Leah Vanderveldt while she was the food editor at mindbodygreen. Whether I am on her instagram feed or perusing her website, Leah's beautiful food photography and inspired plant-based recipes are always standouts. I am excited to share a sweet potato and white bean stew - a dish that is perfect for fall, from Leah's gorgeous new cookbook, The New Nourishing.
by Leah Vanderveldt
When we get the first hints of that fall chill in the air I go running straight for three things: spices/herbs, root vegetables, and stews. I’ve officially exhausted the raw salads and cooling foods that got me through summer and I’m ready for some contrast! This simple stew from my book, The New Nourishing, is all about creating comfort from grounding foods and herbs that fill me up, keep me warm, and have a distinctly cold-weather vibe. To me, that vibe comes mainly from a combination of the sage and rosemary (very wintery herbs in my book) and the texture the white beans create.
White beans lend a creaminess to this stew which, when combined with sweet potato, sage, and rosemary, feels like the food version of a cozy sweater. I’m all for canned beans — especially in a pinch — but I really notice a better quality when I cook my own white beans from dried. That said, you can definitely make this stew with canned white beans, so skip steps 1 and 2 in the method below if you do.
sweet potato & white bean stew
This recipe is excerpted from The New Nourishing, written by Leah Vanderveldt and published by Ryland Peters & Small.
Photo credits: bowl of stew: Clare Winfield; raw ingredients: Leah Vanderveldt
● 170 g/1 cup dried white beans (or 270 g/2 cups cooked white beans)
● few sprigs of mixed fresh herbs (optional for cooking dried white beans)
● 1 tablespoon olive oil
● 1 onion, finely diced
● 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
● 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1.5-cm/½- inch cubes
● 2 carrots, diced
● 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves
● 3 freshly chopped sage leaves
● 950 ml/4 cups vegetable stock/ broth
● sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
● roughly chopped fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)
1. If using dried white beans, soak them overnight in cold water for at least 8 hours or longer. When you’re ready to cook, drain off the soaking liquid and discard, put the beans in a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water.
2. Bring to a boil, adding a pinch of salt and any fresh herbs you have lying around (a few thyme sprigs, sage leaves, parsley stems, etc.). Simmer for about 30–40 minutes, or until tender. The cooking time will depend on your beans, how long they
were soaked for and how old they are. Drain the beans and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, carrots, rosemary and sage. Season well with salt and cook for another 2–3 minutes until the herbs are fragrant.
4. Add the cooked and drained white beans and the vegetable stock/broth and bring everything to a boil. Simmer over a medium-low heat, covered with a lid for 20 minutes until the sweet potato has softened. Uncover, and crush a few white beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon to release their starch and thicken the stew.
5. Simmer for a final 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Spoon the stew into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper to serve.
Leah Vanderveldt is recipe developer and wellness writer based in Brooklyn. She’s the author of The New Nourishing and the upcoming cookbook, The New Porridge. Leah loves learning about everything under the wellness umbrella, from meditation, to Ayurvedic nutrition, to mastering tarot readings. She is the former food editor of mindbodygreen.com, where she wrote and developed whole food-based recipes and edited nutrition content and is certified in Culinary Nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. You can find her cooking up vegetable-centric meals over on Instagram and at The Nourish Exchange.