Tuscan Stewed Beans

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These Tuscan Stewed Beans are the ultimate rustic Italian comfort food! Made with simple pantry-friendly ingredients like onions, garlic, tomato paste and white beans, but big on gourmet Italian flavor. It's cozy and indulgent yet wholesome, vegan, and gluten-free.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 15 minutes
5 from 119 votes

One of my favorite cuisines is rustic Italian cooking, and these Tuscan Stewed Beans are my latest favorite iteration.

A handful of simple, budget-friendly and pantry-friendly ingredients like onions, carrots, garlic, fresh herbs, and canned tomatoes are cooked down until sweet and jammy; cannellini beans are later added to the mix and stewed until rich, almost creamy, and unbelievably flavorful.

This recipe will have your kitchen smelling like an Italian restaurant and is guaranteed to become a new cold weather favorite.

Table of Contents
1. What are Tuscan Stewed Beans?
2. Why you’ll love this recipe
3. Ingredient notes
4. Step-by-step instructions
5. Tips for making this recipe
6. Frequently Asked Questions
7. Recipe card with notes

livornese stewed beans in a bowl bowl with a piece of bread on blue tablecloth

What are Tuscan Stewed Beans??

Well, it’s an incredibly delicious Italian recipe I made up…sort of!

The inspiration for this recipe comes from the TV show Searching For Italy, where the fabulous Stanley Tucci explores his Italian heritage through the regional cuisines of Italy.

ad for meal plans program with picture of woman with button

While most of the food featured on this show is far from vegan, I love seeing how much care Italian chefs and farmers put into their ingredients and their craft. Every time I watch an episode, I’m excited to make something inspired by the show but with my own plant-based spin.

Episode 5 finds Stanley Tucci in Livorno—a port city on the the west coast of Tuscany —where he enjoys a seafood tomato stew made with very simple but good-quality ingredients. My plant-based interpretation of that dish is a bit loose, as I’m not trying to recreate the taste or texture of seafood.

But based on the ingredients and my subsequent research, I think this recipe does a pretty good job at bringing the flavors from Livorno to your home kitchen.

And when I say it’s honest-to-good freakin’ delicious and one of my favorite bean recipes, I am not kidding. And the ingredients are so simple and humble.

livornese stewed beans in a bowl bowl with a piece of bread on blue tablecloth

Why you’ll love this recipe

A Wholesome Hug in a Bowl

This is the kind of winter food that makes you feel cozy inside. Every bite feels like a bit of Italian indulgence, but it’s made with wholesome plant-based ingredients: beans, aromatics, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, olive oil, and vegetable broth. Okay, and a little white wine!

Despite being wholesome, the texture is jammy, rich, and so comforting.

Rich Italian Flavor

This recipe starts by cooking down onions until nicely golden, which builds a first layer of flavor. Carrots and celery are then added, along with lots of garlic and chili flakes for a subtle heat.

Fresh sage perfumes the whole stew with a woodsy, camphory aroma, and cooking down a generous amount of tomato paste adds so much umami. Slow simmering infuses the dish with so much flavor.

The resulting flavor is everything you love about homey Italian cooking with a sweet-tangy tomato flavor and lots of herby notes.

Allergen-Friendly, Meal Prep Friendly, and Freezer Friendly

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free. Plus, these stewed beans are a great option for meal prep and freeze beautifully!

If you love the sound of pantry-friendly Italian meals, be sure to check out my 10-ingredient Lentil Bolognese and my Italian White Bean and Pasta Stew!

And if you have my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, there’s a great easy recipe for Ribollita, which is a pantry-friendly Tuscan bread soup.

livornese stewed beans in a bowl bowl with a piece of bread on blue tablecloth

Ingredient notes

ingredients for livornese stewed beans with ingredients labeled

Soffritto. A traditional northern Italian soffritto is used here as the flavor base: onions, carrots, and celery, gently sauteed in olive oil. Many Italian soups and stews, like minestrone, as well as pasta sauces and braised dishes start with a soffritto.

Garlic and Fresh Herbs. Many variations of soffritto add additional aromatics like garlic and fresh herbs like parsley, sage, or rosemary. Luckily, I love garlic and fresh herbs and will add them to almost anything I can.

Substitute: If you can’t find fresh sage, use fresh rosemary. Dried herbs will add significantly less flavor, so use them only if you don’t have access to fresh herbs.

Cannellini beans. The king of creamy beans, cannellini beans work so well here, adding a creamy, almost indulgent vibe.

Substitute: Depending on where you live, these may be sold as “white kidney beans.” If you can’t find them, use any other white bean you like.

Dry white wine. The compounds in alcohol unleash flavor compounds in the aromatics and tomatoes that would otherwise remain hidden, adding complexity to these stewed beans.

Pick a dry, crisp white wine such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, Sancerre, Pinot Grigio. To check if your wine is vegan, you can use Barnivore.com

Substitute: Don’t drink wine? Skip to the FAQ section.

Tomato paste. More precisely, tomato paste in a tube, not a can (if you can!).

Tomato paste in a can has a subtle metallic taste, and since a generous quantity is used in this recipe, that tinny flavor will be noticeable.

Plus, tomato paste in tubes is preserved with salt instead of citric acid, so the tomato flavor is brighter, fresher, and purer.

Whole peeled canned tomatoes. I prefer using whole peeled canned tomatoes for a couple reasons.

Whole peeled tomatoes are 100% tomatoes, nothing else, so the flavor is better. In contrast, pre-diced and pre-crushed varieties have certain additives. For instance, diced tomatoes typically have calcium chloride, which makes them difficult to dissolve and break down.

So you get better flavor and texture with whole peeled tomatoes, and since this is a tomato-heavy dish with fairly minimal ingredients, the quality of the tomatoes is important. beans.

Step-by-step instructions

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until golden, 7-8 minutes.

Stir in the carrot, celery, and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes.

Add the parsley & sage and chile flakes and cook for 1 minute.

Then squeeze in the tomato paste and stir almost constantly for 2 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and scrape up any browned bits, and cook until the smell of alcohol wears off.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.

Cook at a rapid simmer, until most of the tomato liquid has evaporated, 12 to 13 minutes.

Then pour in the cannellini beans and vegetable broth.

Stir to combine, and simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir slivered basil into the finished stew.

Tips for making this recipe

For the best results, use the best tomato products you can find.

You’ll get the best results if you use (1) whole peeled canned tomatoes (our favorite brands are Bianco Napoli, San Merican, and Cento) and (2) tomato paste from a tube (Amore is our favorite supermarket brand; affiliate link).

If it sounds like I’m making up arbitrary rules, I promise I’m not! When you’re making a recipe with very simple ingredients like this, using the best-quality ingredients available to you is key.

If your tomatoes are quite acidic, you might need to add a pinch of sugar at the end (taste first, then adjust as needed).

Don’t skimp on the olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil is key in any good Tuscan recipe, and I wanted to stay true to that. Plus, it’s the only source of fat here, and honestly, it makes a big difference.

The olive oil allows the onions to get super sweet and to unleash their umami without the edges browning or burning, so the onions almost melt into the stew. And it adds a rich, luxurious mouthfeel to the whole stew that is absolutely divine.

Modify to your preferred texture.

These stewed beans are supposed to be thick and velvety in texture, but if you prefer a looser consistency, feel free to add 1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 240 mL) of additional broth (or water).

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t drink wine. How can I substitute the white wine?

You can try white grape juice (a no-sugar-added variety) but use about half the amount, as it’s sweeter than wine.

Or, you can try 1/2 cup (120 mL) veggie broth + 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar mixed together. You’ll get similar flavors with these substitutes, just not as much complexity of flavor. 

Can I add more vegetables to this recipe?

Sure! A very appropriate addition would be lacinato kale (AKA Tuscan kale). Chop it finely and add it to the last 5 minutes of the stew, cooking it down until it wilts.

How long will these stewed beans last in the fridge? How should I reheat them?

Store in an airtight container for 5 to 6 days. I prefer to reheat in a saucepan on the stove (medium heat), but you can also reheat in the microwave.

Can you freeze these stewed beans?

Absolutely! This recipe freezes great. Once it’s cool, transfer to a few small containers (makes it quicker to defrost). It should stay good in the freezer for 4 months.

I like using these single-serve Souper Cubes (affiliate link). It makes it easy to defrost an individual block of the stew on the stove in less than 10 minutes. Or, you can defrost the stew in the fridge.

livornese stewed beans in a bowl bowl with a piece of bread on blue tablecloth

Tuscan Stewed Beans

5 from 119 votes
These Tuscan Stewed Beans are the ultimate rustic Italian comfort food! Made with simple pantry-friendly ingredients like onions, garlic, tomato paste and white beans, but big on gourmet Italian flavor. It's cozy and indulgent yet wholesome, vegan, and gluten-free.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (56 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium or large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup (4g) flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons (67g) tomato paste (in a tube, not a can)*
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) dry white wine**
  • 1 28-ounce (800g) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) vegetable broth, plus more as desired
  • 2 (15-ounce/425g) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup (8g) fresh basil, slivered***

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, and season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden, stirring occasionally. Add in the carrot, celery, and garlic, with another pinch of salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, parsley, and sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring almost continuously, for 1 to 2 minutes, until it's a bit darker in color.
  • Pour the white wine in and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Allow wine to simmer rapidly for 3 minutes, or until mostly evaporated and it no longer smells like wine, stirring often.
  • Add tomatoes along with their juices, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and several cracks of black pepper. Cook at a rapid simmer, stirring fairly often, until the tomatoes are fully broken down and most of the liquid has evaporated, 12 to 13 minutes.
  • Add the veggie broth and 2 cans of beans. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and maintain a decent simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. If you want the stew to be thicker, towards the end of cooking, use the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula to gently smash a small portion of the beans.
  • Taste, adding a pinch of sugar if needed (if your tomatoes are good-quality, it should not be necessary). Remove the bay leaf. Finish with chopped basil. Season to taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Notes

* I recommend tube tomato paste because canned tomato paste tastes metallic and a generous quantity is used in this recipe. Tubed tomato paste also has a brighter, fresher, purer tomato flavor.
** Pick a dry, crisp white wine such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, Sancerre, Pinot Grigio. To check if your wine is vegan, you can use Barnivore.com. 
If you don’t consume alcohol, you can try white grape juice (a no-sugar-added variety) but use about half the amount, as it’s sweeter than wine. Or, you can try 1/2 cup (120 mL) veggie broth + 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar mixed together. You’ll get similar flavors with these substitutes, just not as much complexity of flavor.  
*** If basil is not in season, sub with flat-leaf parsley. 

Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 1117mg | Potassium: 1503mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 8442IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 274mg | Iron: 9mg

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193 comments on Tuscan Stewed Beans

  1. Toria Vi

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a couple times now and it’s so worth it. It freezes very well and each time makes an enormous quantity of 6 to 8 cups which is just fine with me. I’ve used it with both canned and dried beans. The second time I made it, I reduced the wine to 1/2 cup as I found it a bit too winey for my taste with the full amount. I don’t really like the taste of wine so that is probably why. I also allowed it to cook off for longer.

    Question:
    If I’m freezing batches, should I added freshly chopped basil so it freezes? I’m worried that the basil will become limp and flavourless with freezing and reheating. Similarly, if I’ve made a batch a couple days in advance for a dinner, do I add the chopped basil before it goes in the fridge or do I use fresh basil on the day it’s being eaten?

  2. Scar

    5 stars
    Another marvellous recipe from Rainbow Plant Life. I made it with Tuscan Kale as suggested in the Q&A section. I also used dried Cannellini beans, which I soaked for a couple hours prior to cooking. It turned out delicious! I love how Nisha’s recipes give you good plant based nutrition while being comforting and tasty. 😋

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for such an awesome review, Scar! :) It warms our hearts to hear you truly loved the recipe.

  3. ANISHKA

    5 stars
    Phenomenal recipe! Ultimate comfort food on a rainy day :) I made the student version of this (cheaper quality tomatoes and tomato paste, no white wine), but it was still absolutely delicious! :)

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Anishka, thank you so much for your kind review!

  4. Rick

    5 stars
    If using dried beans, save the bean broth and use that as your broth for this recipe.

  5. Lidia

    4 stars
    The recipe came out great. However, I do not recommend using a slow cooker. It did not absorb the juices as much and I felt like the flavor would’ve been better had it been cooked in a Dutch pot.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re happy you enjoyed the recipe, Lidia. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out in a slow cooker, we hope you get the chance to try the recipe as written next time!

  6. Nancy

    5 stars
    Love this recipe, so delicious! Paired with some sour dough crusty bread. Fun and easy to make! Thank you!

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Nancy, it’s great to hear you had success with the recipe. Thanks for the review!

  7. Swash🏴‍☠️B

    A good Italian cook will say that when you add the wine to the ‘trito’ to lower the heat and slowly simmer the wine until it becomes thick. Rapidly boiling off the water also boils off the best of the wine’s flavor.

  8. Mike

    5 stars
    A great warming recipe for a cold winter’s evening

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Mike, thank you so much for your kind review!

  9. Dawna

    5 stars
    SO good. I’m on a low sodium diet so left out the salt it was still delish and not too complicated I’ll make this often.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re glad you were able to tailor this recipe to your dietary needs and it still turned out wonderfully, Dawna!

  10. Michael

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness what a great recipe. Absolutely loved it. Easy to follow instructions turned out just like I thought it would taste. Thank you so much for this great recipe. Followed the recipe exactly.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Your positive feedback is the best reward for our hard work. Thank you, Michael!

  11. Nancy Poskus

    5 stars
    This is delicious! Nisha does it again 😀

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Nancy, thank you so much for your kind review!

  12. Karen Estevez

    5 stars
    Love this recipe, how long would you recommend in an instant pot pls?

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “My concern with making this recipe in the Instant Pot is that thick stew recipes that are heavy on canned tomatoes (like this one) can trigger the IP’s burn warning, so I can’t say for sure if this would work well. If you do decide to try it, I would use the IP Saute setting to follow steps 1 through 4. Then add the beans and broth, but to be safe, you might want to add an extra ½ cup of broth. Pressure cook on high for about 6 minutes, then allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes.”

  13. Eric C England

    5 stars
    Absolutely excellent vegan recipe. Expect requests, like for seconds.

    1. Kaitlin @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Eric. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

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