Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thyme-Scented White Bean Cassoulet

Since I made a ragout last week, I had to wonder... what is the difference between a cassoulet and a ragout? Both are slow-cooked French stews. The internet didn't provide a clear answer, but one commonality seems to be the addition of sausage in a cassoulet, whereas ragouts may or may not have meat. Here, of course, I used vegan sausage! Does that make it a ragout? Just kidding.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion, 1 and 1/2 cups (1/2-inch thick) slices of carrot, 1 cup (1/2-inch thick) slices of parsnip, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Transfer the onion mixture to a 5- or 6-quart electric slow cooker, and add: 3 cups cooked Great Northern beans, 3/4 cup vegetable broth, 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes (undrained), and 1 bay leaf. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. As always with slow cookers, make sure to read manufacturer's instructions, as cook times can vary.

For the cooked beans, I had leftovers from when I prepared a batch for my ragout last week. If you don't want to take the time to slow cook the beans (which you should make sure to do the day before), you can just buy 3 cups of canned Great Northern beans.

Just before serving, combine 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs with 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese (in place of Parmesan), and 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance). Stir the breadcrumb mixture into the pot, along with one, chopped meatless Italian sausage. I used Tofurkey's Italian sausage - be careful when you shop, because go-to vegan brands such as LightLife and Boca make vegetarian sausages, but not vegan ones.

Sprinkle the top of the stew with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, and ladle about 1 and 1/3 cups into each of 6 bowls. Each serving is 320 calories.

Note: I was a little short on breadcrumbs by about a tablespoon and a little short on beans by about 1/2 a cup, but neither seemed to impact the overall recipe.

onion $1.00
carrot $0.41
parsnip $1.69
vegetable broth $3.69
canned diced tomatoes $3.19
vegan cheese $3.39
meatless Italian sausage $2.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance