I realized I didn’t blog on Sunday as usual because I was busy cooking. Too busy cooking to blog about cooking? I hoped that you would forgive me. Especially because of new and delicious things to share! Like this easy-peasy vegetarian slow cooker white bean cassoulet. Usually cassoulet has a mix of meats in it, but this is a lovely guilt-free and healthy version that simmers all day, smelling delicious all the while. So put this together and then go out and live your life, and come home to something comforting and warm on a chilly spring day! That’s what we’re having in New York City, so comfort is needed.
Also, I realized I have a tendency to make vegan or vegetarian dishes slightly less virtuous by adding, say, a bit of butter or cheese, or a couple of breadcrumbs. If you’re really watching your diet and nutrition, just leave it out and it will still be delicious. Promise!
This recipe is adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker: 200 Recipes for Healthy and Hearty One-Pot Meals That Are Ready When You Are. That’s a long title, but you lack nothing in information now.
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 8 oz baby carrots, sliced into coins
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 2 15-oz cans white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini, drained and rinsed
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 T. tomato paste
- ½ c. vegetable stock
- ¼ c. white wine (have the rest with dinner while watching Downton Abbey! hee!)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- Fine sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- ½ c. dry bread crumbs (if you don't have any, you can put a few pieces of bread in the blender or food processor and pulse until it is crumb-sized)
- 1 T. butter, optional
- A few dashes garlic powder, optional
- 1-2 T. chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish, optional
- Prepare your aromatics: Heat 1 T. olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and garlic, cover, and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. I actually like them to get quite brown and starting to caramelize.
- Prepare your dish to slow cook: Transfer the onion mixture to your slow cooker. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, wine, bay leaves, and thyme. Season with salt & pepper. Cover & cook on Low for 8 hours. (I haven't tried it on High, but some books I've read say 1 hour on Low = 2 hours on High, so by that logic you could alternatively do 4 hours on High, or work out a combo to suit your schedule.)
- Prepare your topping, just before serving: The original recipe says to just pop the dry bread crumbs on top before serving, but I prefer to toast mine in a bit of butter (see: slightly less virtuous). So, melt your butter in a small skillet, then add your breadcrumbs with a few dashes of garlic powder, a bit of sea salt and ground pepper, and some chopped fresh parsley. Saute until you have a nice toasty smell and the breadcrumbs are starting to brown. If you really don't want to do butter, use olive oil or toast them dry. But please, toast them! You'll thank me later.
- Assemble for serving: Taste your dish and add seasoning as needed. Spoon your cassoulet into cute bowls or ramekins, top with crumbs and parsley, and enjoy!