Discover the ultimate winter delight – a great recipe that’s incredibly wholesome, comforting, and heartwarming! Indulge in the scrumptious delight of our Vegetarian Bean Stew with Dumplings, a delicious bean stew that won’t break the bank. Plus, it’s freezer-friendly, allowing you to savour the incredible taste whenever your taste buds crave it. Prepare a double or triple batch of this hearty stew, and simply whip up the delightful dumplings for a later date. Truly a treat for all seasons!
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Why You Will Love This Vegetarian Stew
- Whilst this meal takes about one hour to make, it is great to feed crowds and/or freeze for later, so you can definitely make a big batch.
- What I love about this Spicy Bean Stew is that is it cheap – simple ingredients such as kidney beans, tinned tomatoes and sweet potatoes don’t cost much, and the remaining ingredients we normally have in our cupboards already. The only less common ingredient that we highly recommend buying is Chipotle Paste!
- This hearty vegetarian stew doesn’t use many fresh and perishable ingredients, so if you are meal planning, it is easy to pencil this Spicy Bean Stew towards the end of the period you’re planning for and still have an amazing meal to look forward to.
- It’s a nutritious meal, that’s full of protein and fibre, that contributes to building healthy eating habits.
- Highly adaptable: use different kinds of beans, replace sweet potato with butternut squash and adjust the spice level to suit you!
How Spicy Is This Bean Stew Recipe?
I have to admit, Seb and I have a very different threshold for spice. What I find pleasantly warm, normally gets Seb gasping for air. This vegetable stew recipe is for someone in between: I find it mildly spicy and Seb can very much enjoy it with a dollop of yoghurt to bring the heat down. You may adjust the amount of Chipotle Paste that you use in this recipe to suit your own spice preferences.
Ingredients and Substitutes
Here’s what you will need (find quantities and full recipe in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- brown onions: can be substituted with red onion, yellow onion or shallots.
- sweet potatoes: can be replaced with carrots or butternut squash.
- tinned chopped tomatoes: we use 2x 400g tins to serve 4. You may add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to make the sauce even more delicious.
- vegetable stock or vegetable broth: replace it with chicken or beef stock if you wish.
- kidney beans: almost any canned beans will work in this recipe. Try this hearty bean stew with other types of beans including white beans (like cannellini beans or butter beans), black beans, borlotti beans (aka cranberry beans), pinto beans or navy beans. You may also use dried beans, but we recommend cooking them first.
- chipotle paste: we highly recommend not omitting or substituting chipotle paste in this stew recipe. It takes the whole thing to the next level by adding heat and smokiness. If you must, substitute it with a heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika and a level teaspoon of chili powder.
- yoghurt or sour cream, to serve (optional).
Add-In Ideas: If you fancy incorporating more different vegetables to your stew, try adding sliced red peppers, chopped fresh garlic cloves, and other root vegetables, like carrots, parsnips and potatoes. All of these will go well with a rich tomato sauce and make it into an even more hearty meal.
For the Dumplings
- plain flour: also known as all-purpose flour.
- baking powder: do not confuse it with baking soda.
- butter: salted or unsalted, you choose.
- cheddar: sharp and mature cheddar cheese will work best.
- parsley: can be replaced with coriander, chives or spring onions.
Simple, ingredients three easy steps and 1 hour later, you have a delicious stew that the entire family will enjoy!
STEP 1: Make The Kidney Bean Stew
Start cooking about an hour before you wish to serve this meal. First, slice the onion and saute it in a large frying pan (or a large pot) on low heat with oil and a pinch of salt until starting to soften (about 5 minutes).
In the meantime, peel and cube your sweet potatoes. If you don’t have enough sweet potatoes, add butternut squash or carrots. (If you use carrots, chop them into small pieces, about half the size of sweet potato, as they take longer to cook). Tip your vegetables into a large saucepan with softened onions and fry for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
Drain and rinse 2 x 400g tins of kidney beans, then tip them into the pan as well. If you want to substitute for a different kind of bean, feel free to do so, but choose the type that’s firm and can withstand a long time simmering.
Pour in tinned tomatoes, stock and stir in the chipotle paste. Season with sea salt and black pepper, before covering with a lid and leaving to simmer for 20-25 minutes (until sweet potatoes are soft).
STEP 2: Make the Cheesy Dumplings
Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan. Whilst your Spicy Bean Stew is simmering away, prepare your dumplings. Mix flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Cube the butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips. The mixture should resemble fine breadcrumbs with no big lumps of butter left.
Grate cheddar and set a small heap aside for sprinkling on top of the dumplings. Finely chop your parsley (including stalks). I love adding fresh herbs to my dumplings when I have some growing in the garden. But if you don’t have any, you can add chopped spring onion, dried herbs or nothing at all.
Mix the herbs and cheese together with the flour mixture and add 4-5 tablespoon of water. Bring the mixture into a ball.
The dough shouldn’t be too sticky, but if it is, you can oil your hands, or keep them wet with water. Make 12 equal (ish) balls.
STEP 3: Assemble and Bake
When your Bean Stew is cooked, tip the bean mixture into an ovenproof dish. Pop your dumpling on top and scatter the reserved cheese on top.
Pop the dish in the oven for about 15 minutes until the dumplings are cooked. They should puff up and turn lovely golden brown. Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt or sour cream.
Storage and Freezing
If you are freezing some of this stew, once the bean mixture is ready and the sweet potatoes are soft, pour it into a freezer-safe airtight container, cover it with a lid and let it cool completely at room temperature. Covering it helps retain the moisture in the stew, so you don’t need to add more water when defrosting, hence you do not dilute the flavour. You can store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Then quickly heat up the stew in the microwave or on the stove. Make your dumplings and carry on with the recipe as normal.
What To Serve This Spicy Bean Stew With?
This Vegetarian Bean Stew is very filling, especially if you make it with dumplings. Serve it on its own, or add a simple salad made with fresh vegetables on the side (like Courgette Ribbon Salad or Green Bean and Tomato Salad).
If you decide not to make the dumplings, you may serve it with a crusty bread (like Sourdough) and use it to mop up the sauce at the bottom of your bowl. Another great side dish for this bean stew is brown rice or couscous.
Other Easy Recipes Using Beans
If you have some kidney beans left, why not make another delicious meal:
- Shepherdess Pie with Cajun Bean Filling
- Smoky Three Bean Chilli Bowl
- Vegan Tex-Mex Bowl with Sweet Potatoes
More Stew Recipes For Winter
Some of the best things that warm the heart and soul in the cold winter months come in the form of a stew. So here are some of our favourite recipes:
- One-Pan Spanish Fish Stew
- Cuban Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef Stew Recipe)
- West African Vegan Peanut Stew with Butternut Squash
- Berbere Lentils | Ethiopian Lentil Stew
Vegetarian Bean Stew with Dumplings
- Overproof Dish
- 2 small brown onions thinly sliced
- 350 g sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 2 x 400 g kidney beans
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon chipotle paste
- 4 dollops of yoghurt or sour cream to serve (optional)
For the Dumplings:
- 125 g plain flour
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 60 g butter room temperature, cubed
- 70 g cheddar grated
- 10 g parsley finely chopped, including stalks
- Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a large pan over low heat. Tip in your sliced onions, add a pinch of salt and fry for 5 minutes until softened.
- Tip in cubed sweet potatoes and fry for a minute.
- Drain and rinse kidney beans under the tap, add them to the sweet potatoes together with tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Stir in a tablespoon of chipotle paste and season.
- Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft.
- Whilst the stew is simmering away, heat the oven to 180C Fan and prepare your dumplings.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Add cubes of butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Mix in the grated cheddar (save a heap for sprinkling on top) and chopped parsley. Then add 4-5 tablespoon of water and bring the mixture together in a ball. Shape 12 equal size dumplings.
- When your spicy bean stew is cooked, tip it into an oven-proof dish and arrange the dumplings on top and sprinkle with the reserved cheddar.
- Put the dish in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and turned a lovely golden brown colour.
- Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt or sour cream.