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Spanish-Style White Bean Stew

(Vegan, Healthy, High Protein, High Fiber)

Written By: Byron | September 22, 2023
a large pan of white bean stew sits with a few bay leaves on top.

Spanish-Style White Bean Stew is a filling vegan-friendly meal that’s easily made in one pot or pan in under an hour. Made with large white beans that are simmered down in a rich and deeply satisfying smoky paprika-infused tomato sofrito sauce, this meal is perfect when served with your favorite bread, rice, or couscous. 

The best news is that this recipe is super healthy! At just 203 calories per serving, it is healthy and loaded with nutrient-rich ingredients that will keep you energized throughout the day. This tasty meal is also high in fiber, high in protein, high in iron, and low in carbohydrates!

Vegan Recipes | Main Meal Recipe | Authentic Spanish Recipe | Winter Recipe | Healthy | High Fiber | High in Protein | Low Calories |  Mediterranean Recipe | Made in Under 1 Hour 

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Serving:

Main for 4

Ready in:

Under 1 hour

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Rice, bread, or couscous

A large bowl of cannellini beas sits beside some tomatoes, onion, and spices used to make a Spanish-style white bean stew.

How to Make Spanish-style White Bean Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tomatoes, grated and skin removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 x 14 oz (400g) can of white beans (cannellini or similar)
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock (homemade or storebought)
  • 2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil 
  • salt to taste

Equipment needed 

Method

Start by preparing your stock (either homemade or storebought), once boiled and ready, move on to the next steps. 

  1. In a large pot or deep-sided skillet, heat the olive oil and fry the onion until golden, then add the red pepper and fry for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant, then add a splash more olive oil and the paprika, thyme, and white pepper. Mix well and then add the grated tomato. Stir through and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 20 minutes. 
  3. Add the vegetable stock, bay leaves, and white beans and season to taste with some salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes. 
  4. Season to taste, and serve with crusty bread. 

 Video: How to Make Spanish White Bean Stew

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

Best Beans To Use

When making a Spanish-style white bean stew, there are plenty of good options that you will find in most decent supermarkets or specialty grocery stores:

  • Great Northern Beans: These are large, creamy-white beans with a mild flavor and a slightly nutty taste.
  • Lima Beans: Lima beans have a mild, buttery flavor with a slightly nutty undertone, making them both creamy and subtly sweet when cooked.
  • Cannellini Beans: These are also known as white kidney beans and have a creamy texture with a subtle nutty flavor. You’ll find these beans in Central and South America, North America, and throughout Europe.
  • Navy Beans: Navy beans are small, oval-shaped, and white. They are often used in dishes like baked beans and stews.
  • Alubia Blanca: In Spain, you might specifically use alubia blanca, which translates to “white bean” in Spanish. They are commonly used in Spanish cuisine, although they can usually be sourced in specialty Spanish food stores overseas.

Canned or Dry Beans?

Both are great options, but note that with dry beans, you will need to rehydrate them first before they are ready for cooking. This usually takes anywhere from 24-36 hours depending on the bean, and some legumes and beans require boiling for a few hours before they can be used in cooking. 

For convenience, we used canned cannellini beans. They’re cheap, easy to find at any grocery store, and require no extra soaking or boiling before use. We simply drained them and gave them a rinse under some fresh water before cooking with them.

White Bean Stews From Spain

In northern Spain, particularly in the region of Asturias, one of the most famous white bean stews is “Fabada Asturiana.” The traditional white beans used in Fabada Asturiana are a specific variety called “Fabes de la Granja” or “Fabes de Asturias.” These beans are known for their large size, creamy texture, and ability to absorb the flavors of the stew’s ingredients.

Fabes de la Granja are a type of lima bean, and they are essential to the authenticity and richness of the Fabada dish. They are typically soaked before cooking to ensure they cook evenly and become tender. 

While the most famous white bean stew is likely Fabada Asturiana it’s a hearty meat recipe. The good news is there are plenty of vegan-friendly bean stews hailing from Spain. Check out these recipes for some more inspiration:

Are White Beans Healthy?

White beans are very healthy for you and offer plenty of nutritional benefits. All beans are rich in fiber, folate, potassium, and iron. Beans are also high in carbohydrates and can provide a lot of plant-based protein.

Here are a few reasons why white beans (cannellini beans) are so good for you:

  • Cannellini beans are low in calories and high in fiber, keeping you feeling full and satisfied longer after a meal, which helps you to reduce overeating.
  • White beans, especially cannellini beans, are high in antioxidants, making them an inexpensive natural cleanser that helps eliminate toxins in the body. Additionally, the high antioxidant content is vital in protecting the cells from free radical damage, which is known to cause several chronic diseases including cancer. 
  • White beans are an excellent natural energy source for your body as they are high in carbohydrates which are converted into glucose by your body. By providing a steady supply of glucose, white kidney beans are excellent for naturally boosting energy levels and overall improving athletic performance.
  • White kidney beans are high in complex carbohydrates, which are slowly digested and absorbed by the body, regulating blood sugar levels. 
  • Research has proven that ​the zinc and vitamins A, C, E, and K found in white beans are considered significant for maintaining healthy skin and hair. 
  • White kidney beans are a great source of iron and help the body produce enough hemoglobin to fight off anemia. 
  • Cannellini beans contain nutrients such as iron, folate, and vitamin B, which are all considered essential for brain health. 
  • White kidney beans contain anti-inflammatory compounds essential for alleviating inflammation in the body, reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease.
  • Cannellini beans contain high amounts of soluble fiber, which can help your body lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. 
  • White kidney beans are high in dietary fiber, essential for digestion. They’ve also been observed in several studies to illustrate they can help prevent colon cancer.

Cooking with Paprika

Paprika is an essential ingredient in Spanish cuisine and is considered a Spanish pantry staple, right alongside good quality extra virgin olive oil. But there are a few different varieties of paprika and choosing the right one can really help enhance a recipe. 

If you’ve only ever tried ‘paprika’ (sweet paprika), you’re in for a treat, as there are huge variations in flavor intensity and color between different types of paprika. 

The 3 main types of paprika:

  • Hot paprika (Pimentón Picante)
  • Smoked paprika (Pimentón Ahumado)
  • Sweet paprika (Pimentón Dulce)

For this recipe, we used Smoked paprika (Pimentón Ahumado) as it gives the stew a delicious rich smoky flavor. If you are not so keen on a smoky flavor, use sweet paprika. Experiment with different types of paprika in your cooking to find what suits you best. The smoky flavor really adds something to stews though so if you haven’t tried it we recommend giving it a go.

Check out our complete Guide to Hot Paprika, Smoked Paprika and Sweet Paprika here.

A large pan of Spanish-style white bean stew simmers on a stovetop

FAQs

How long does this recipe take to make?

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes

*Note: this is the time taken when using canned (prepared) beans. 

Can I use canned beans for this recipe?

Cannellini beans are a popular choice, but other white beans can be used as well. Canned beans are great as they save time and require no soaking or boiling before use.

How do I achieve the right consistency for the stew?

Adjusting the amount of broth or using a potato masher to mash some of the beans can help you achieve the consistency you desire.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 250g

Servings: 4

Amount per serving

 

Calories

203

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 7.5g

10%

Saturated Fat 1.1g

5%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 182mg

8%

Total Carbohydrate 27.1g

10%

Dietary Fiber 10.7g

38%

Total Sugars 6.9g

 

Protein 8.3g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 107mg

8%

Iron 2mg

13%

Potassium 559mg

12%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

 

a large pan of white bean stew sits with a few bay leaves on top.
a large pan of white bean stew sits with a few bay leaves on top.

Spanish-Style White Bean Stew (Vegan, Healthy, High Protein, High Fiber)

Byron
Spanish-Style White Bean Stew is a filling vegan-friendly meal that’s easily made in one pot or pan in under an hour. Made with large white beans that are simmered down in a rich and deeply satisfying smoky paprika-infused tomato sofrito sauce, this meal is perfect when served with your favorite bread, rice, or couscous.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course dinner, easy lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 4 people, main.
Calories 203 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large 30cm/ 12 inch skillet
  • 1 large saucepan with lid (for the stock)
  • Grater
  • Sieve and ladle
  • Kitchen knife and cutting board

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tomatoes grated and skin removed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 x 14 oz 400g can of white beans (cannellini or similar)
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock homemade or storebought
  • 2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Start by preparing your stock (either homemade or storebought), once boiled and ready, move on to the next steps.
    3 cups of vegetable stock
    A large pot of homemade chicken stock
  • In a large pot or deep-sided skillet, heat the olive oil and fry the onion until golden, then add the red pepper and fry for 5 minutes.
    1 medium onion, 1 red bell pepper
    Some onion and red pepper simmer in a large skillet.
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant, then add a splash more olive oil and the paprika, thyme, and white pepper. Mix well and then add the grated tomato. Stir through and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 20 minutes.
    4 garlic cloves, 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon white pepper, 2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil, 3 tomatoes
    A pan of sofrito sauce simmers on a stovetop.
  • Add the vegetable stock, bay leaves, and white beans and season to taste with some salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
    2 bay leaves, 1 x 14 oz
    A large pan of Spanish-style white bean stew simmers on a stovetop
  • Season to taste, and serve with crusty bread.
    salt to taste
    a large pan of white bean stew sits with a few bay leaves on top.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 250gCalories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 27.1gProtein: 8.3gFat: 7.5gSaturated Fat: 1.1gSodium: 182mgPotassium: 559mgFiber: 10.7gSugar: 6.9gCalcium: 107mgIron: 2mg
Keyword 1 hours recipe, Beans, easy stew, sofrito, sofrito sauce, vegan, vegan meal, Vegan Stew, white beans

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