With Spinach and Smokey Tofu
A lovely bean dish to warm the soul.
Equally great on a warm summer’s evening or a cold winter’s night.
Serve with a large mixed-leaves salad and crusty garlic bread. Check out my 2-minute garlic bread recipe for a really quick yet seriously great tasting garlic bread.
White Bean & Potato Stew with Spinach and Smokey Tofu
Highly nutritious with full-on flavor. This slow cooked dish screams comfort food, summer as well as winter.
For the bean dish:
- 1 cup dry white Navy or Cannellini beans pre-soaked for 8 hours or overnight (see note)
- A bit of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots quartered lengthwise and then chopped
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 6 cups water
- 3 bay leaves
- A small handful fresh parsley sprigs
- A few fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 slices fresh lemon peel
- About 250 grams small round potatoes halved
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with a bit of water
- 150 grams baby spinach
For the smokey tofu:
- 200 grams firm smoked tofu or regular tofu
- A teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- A bit of extra virgin olive oil
- Start by washing the herbs and tying them together in a little bundle using kitchen twine, or kitchen string. Set aside.
- In a large pot, heat a bit of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and sauté the carrot, onion, and garlic for a minute or two until the onion turns translucent.
- Add the pre-soaked beans, water, bay leaves, the herb bundle, and the lemon peel. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer. Once simmering adjust the lid to leave a small opening and leave the beans to simmer for one hour.
- After one hour taste the beans to get a feel for how much longer they will need to cook. Most fresh beans are done in 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour but the older the beans the longer they take to cook. Hence the need to check. Keep simmering until the beans are almost done. You will want them to still have a bit of bite.
- Once your beans are almost done adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper, then add the potatoes. Don't go overboard on the salt. The liquid will be reduced some more which will concentrate the saltiness. You will be correction the seasoning at the very end.
- Simmer until the potatoes are done, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Drain the liquid into another pot and boil it at high heat until reduced to about 3 cups, then turn down to a simmer.
- While the soup is being reduced, fish out the bay leaves and the herbs from the beans and discard.
- Mix the cornstarch with a little cold water in a small bowl or cup and add it, a little at a time, to the hot soup. You just want to thicken it a little bit so you may not need all of it.
- Pour the now slightly thicker soup back into the pot with the beans and potatoes and add the spinach. Stir for a minute until the spinach has wilted.
- Add the nutritional yeast and correct the seasoning to taste.
To make the smoked tofu bits:
- Slice the tofu into ¼-inch (not quite a centimeter) thick slices.
- On a frying pan, sauté the slices in a little olive oil until browned on both sides.
- Lower the heat and add the smoked paprika. Stir until evenly distributed, then add the soy sauce and keep stirring until the sauce as been absorbed. This happens really quickly. You may need to add a bit of water to prevent it from burning.
- Remove from the pan and chop into smaller pieces. Serve the smoked tofu alongside the bean dish or added on top before serving.
Dried beans always need to be soaked in plenty of water for several hours before cooking. If in a hurry you can use this quick-soaking method: Put the dried beans in a pot and cover with lots of cold water, at least 3 inches/8 cm above the beans. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Boil for a couple of minutes and then turn off the heat. Leave the beans in the hot water and with the lid on for one hour. The beans are now ready to be cooked according to your recipe.