Lemony White Bean Stew — A fresh tasting stew made with garbanzo and cannellini beans plus an array of vegetables, spices, herbs, and lots of lemon to give it plenty of bright FLAVOR! Can be made on EITHER the STOVE in 30 MINUTES OR in your SLOW COOKER! Naturally vegan, gluten-free, healthy yet still hearty enough to be comforting!
Double White Bean Stew Recipe
With spring inching around the corner, yet temperatures still being chilly enough that you likely want something warm and comforting in your belly, this lemony stew is a great hearty lunch or casual dinner option.
Not only is it naturally vegan and gluten-free, it’s easy to make and ready in just 30 minutes making it perfect for busy weeknights.
The soup has a classic mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery combined with both cannellinni and garbanzo beans to give it body and heft.
A variety of greens and herbs including kale, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and parsley give it great depth of flavor.
However the real star of this lemon stew is the double whollop of lemon flavor from both lemon zest and lemon juice.
Tip: I always advocate adding something acidic to finish a soup whether it’s lemon juice in Chicken Noodle Soup, lime juice in Chicken Tortilla Soup, or even apple cider vinegar because the acidity creates another subtle layer of flavor that is so enticing.
Ingredients in Double White Bean Stew
To make this easy lemon white bean stew, you’ll need the following basic and easy to find fridge and pantry ingredients including:
- Olive oil
- Cannellini beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Broth (vegetable or chicken)
- Lemon zest
- Lemon juice
- Parmesan cheese, optional for serving
- Parsley, optional for serving
How to Make Lemony White Bean Stew
This accidentally vegetarian stew recipe is a cinch to make! Follow these very straightforward steps:
Step 1: In a large Dutch oven, saute the onion in olive oil before adding the carrots, celery, and finally the garlic.
Step 2: Separately, in a high-speed blender blend the cannellini beans and half the garbanzos with the broth.
Step 3: Add this puree, the remaining garbanzo beans, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, salt, and pepper to the Dutch oven and simmer.
Step 4: Add the kale and allow it to wilt.
Step 5: Off the heat, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, taste the soup and make any necessary flavor adjustments before serving.
What Are the Best Beans for Stew?
For my version of double white bean lemon stew, I use both cannellini beans and garbanzo beans. However, if you want to use all of one type of bean and none of the other, that’s fine.
You can also try another white bean such as Great Northern beans.
Definitely drain and rinse the beans before adding them.
Additionally, I prefer using low or no-salt added beans so I can better control the overall saltiness of the dish.
Can Fresh Beans Be Used?
I always use canned beans, but if you’re lucky enough to have a surplus of freshly made beans on hand, feel free to use home-cooked white beans.
What is the Difference Between Lemon Soup and Stew?
In basic terms, soups have more broth and stews are thicker with less broth. In my book, my double white bean stew is a stew rather than a soup because it’s pretty thick.
The thickness comes from blending all of the cannellini beans and half the garbanzo beans.
If you don’t blend the beans, the finished product will be thinner and brothier, and you’ll have more of a soup on your hands.
Additionally, there are only 4 cups of broth used, which renders it thicker like a stew. For those who prefer it more soup-like, add an additional one or two cups of broth.
Can This Stew Be Made in a Slow Cooker?
Yes, you can make double white bean lemon stew in a slow cooker. I love quick and easy recipes, especially those ready in 30 minutes and don’t often see the point of prolonging the recipe and making it in a slow cooker.
Although if you’re a slow cooker recipe fan, it’s very easy to make this soup in your slow cooker by following these steps:
- After you sauté together the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic with olive oil, and you blend the beans, transfer all of that into your slow cooker.
- Add the broth, all the herbs and spices, salt, pepper, and slow cook on high for about 2 hours or on low for about 4 hours.
- 30 minutes before serving, add the kale.
- Before serving, add the lemon zest and juice and finish with the optional Parmesan and parsley.
Substitution Ideas for Lemony Bean Stew
The great thing about soups and stews is that they tend to be highly flexible in terms of what ingredients you can include or omit.
For double white bean lemon stew, feel free to change the following:
- As I mentioned, use all garbanzo, all cannellini beans, or use another type of white beans such as Great Northern.
- If you don’t have fresh rosemary and thyme, use dried.
- For anyone who doesn’t keep fresh marjoram on hand, omit it.
- Dried parsley is fine in place of fresh although since it’s used as a garnish, if all you have is dried I suggest simply omitting it in that case.
- Use 1 to 2 cups more broth to make it a brothier soup rather than stew.
- Vegetable or chicken broth may be used. If you’re keeping this plant-based, obviously use vegetable broth.
- Shredded cooked rotisserie chicken is a great way to bump up the protein and satiety factors if you want to add it.
- Previously cooked small shaped pasta such as elbows, wheels, ziti, or rotini add a comfort food touch. Note that they will tend to absorb the existing broth so add more broth if you’re adding pasta.
- Thawed and well drained frozen spinach may be used instead of kale.
What to Serve with White Bean Stew
As long as you’re not keeping the lemon and double white bean stew vegan, freshly grated Parmesan cheese is lovely when serving the soup. The carryover heat from the soup will lightly melt the cheese and it’s so tasty!
For those not concerned about gluten, a crusty slice of French bread or other dinner roll is perfect for dunking into the soup.
How to Store This Stew
Stews keep very well and this one is no exception. It will keep airtight for up to 5 days in the fridge and for up to 4 months in the freezer.
Tips for the Best Double White Bean Lemon Stew
Double white bean lemon stew is so fast and easy to make but a couple final tips are:
- If you don’t want this to read like a creamy-textured soup or stew, skip blending the beans. And instead simply add both cans of beans whole.
- I like to use lower, low, or no-salt added versions of both broth and beans so that I can better control the final salt level of the soup.
- If you taste the soup at the end and it tastes at all flat or like it’s missing something, it likely needs more salt. Don’t be afraid to add it. As a vegan and gluten-free soup, it’s especially important to properly salt it so it’s not boring. After all, that’s why soups in restaurants taste so good is because they’re not afraid to salt them!
- Always zest first, then juice, when it comes to lemons.
- When you’re zesting the lemon, be careful to take off just the yellow part. The white part of the peel underneath the yellow is more bitter and not appetizing so make sure not to zest down into the white layer. If you don’t have a fancy zesting tool, the fine blade of a box grater will work just fine.
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- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion, diced small
- 2 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, and sliced thin
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed, and diced small
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- one 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- one 14-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups low or reduced sodium broth* (vegetable or chicken; See Notes)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme OR 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary OR 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram OR 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 bunch fresh kale (leaves only. torn into large bite-sized pieces, with thick ribs removed) OR 8 ounces frozen (thawed and drained)
- 1/2 medium to large lemon, zested (approximately 1 teaspoon)
- 1/2 medium to large lemon, juiced (approximately 2 teaspoons)
- Parmesan cheese, grated; optional for serving
- Parsley, optional for serving
- To a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed large stockpot, add the olive oil, onion, and saute over medium-high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes; stir frequently.
- Add the carrots, celery, and saute for about 4 more minutes, or until vegetables are becoming tender; stir frequently.
- Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly; turn down the heat and set aside.
- Drain and rinse both types of beans; do so separately and first add all the cannellini beans to the canister of a large high-speed blender, then add half the garbanzo beans, and blend momentarily until smooth. Tip - You don't want or need this to be a fine puree. A few pulses just to break up the beans is what you're looking for, not baby food smooth.** (See Notes)
- Add the puree to the Dutch oven, along with broth, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, salt, pepper, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Add the kale and allow it to wilt and cook briefly, about 3 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest, juice, stir to combine, and taste the soup. Tip - If it tastes at all flat, it likely needs more salt and possibly pepper; don't be afraid to add them.
- Optionally garnish with freshly grated Parmesan, optional parsley, and serve with crusty bread or dinner rolls if desired. Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
*If you prefer more broth and more of a soup than a stew, feel free to add up to 1 or 2 additional cups broth. I suggest waiting until the end and then doing so rather than adding it all in step 5. Make sure to check the salt and pepper balance at the end if you add . more broth; you'll likely need to add more so it doesn't taste flat.
**Not blending the beans will create more of a soup that is thinner versus a thicker stew that is "creamier".
Slow Cooker Directions:
Step 1: After you saute together the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic with the olive oil, and you blend the beans, transfer all of that into your slow cooker.
Step 2: Add the broth, all the herbs and spices, salt, pepper, and slow cook on high for about 2 hours or on low for about 4 hours.
Step 3: 30 minutes before serving add the kale.
Step 4: Before serving, add the lemon zest and juice and finish with the optional Parmesan and parsley.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 1095mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 17g
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