Vegan and Vibrant and VERY Delicious

Welcome to cooler weather and warming dishes like soups and stews! Where I live, we are still transitioning from tomatoes to root vegetables. In my Greek Heritage Kitchen, there's never been a soup or stew made from root vegetables, but there's always been a tradition of cooking whatever is growing nearby (or in your own yard or foraging) for the highest nutritional value and best flavor.

With the presoaked beans, this stew took only one hour to cook and five minutes to eat.

This stew covers all of the Greek Heritage Kitchen requirements, but it also has a story. It's about friendship. If you're in a hurry, here's a link to the printable recipe.

My friend Phyllis subscribes to a CSA bag from Golden Forest Farm, a local pesticide-free and organically-fertilized vegetable farm. This week's bag included dry Great Northern beans, fresh thyme, a large handful of baby yellow potatoes, huge carrots, a head of garlic and one bunch of mature (large) radish greens. Phyllis had so much on her schedule that there wasn't (and won't be) enough time for prepping and cooking out of her produce bag, so she passed everything on to me. Cooking and improvising with whatever each season provides is an art. Fortunately for me and my Dewey, it's an art that I've practiced for a great many years and one that I enjoy. My kitchen is my artist's studio. I am happiest there. So I went to work immediately. I rinsed the beans and covered them with plenty of water to soak in overnight. The next day I created what I thought would be a soup. There were so many delicious vegetables to use--and I used them all--that it manifested into a stew. Healthy, delicious and nutritionally dense, enough so that I'm calling this one pot of goodness medicine. 

I ate the stew. My husband ate the stew. And...Phyllis ate the stew. One act of friendship deserves another. I gave half of the stew to Phyllis! She didn't ask or hint that I cook for her or share the outcome of cooking her produce bag, but I did. That's just what friends do.

Bean & Root Vegetable Stew

If you don't have radish greens, don't sweat it. Surely you have or can pick up spinach or Swiss chard from your favorite grocery store, farmer's market or produce stand. Other white beans can be used in this stew. If you have cannellini beans or navy beans, use them instead. If you have frozen crowder peas or lima beans, you can substitute them for the Great Northern beans. Just toss them in right out of the freezer, but keep in mind that you may have to adjust the cooking time to 30 or 45 minutes.


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