Friday, April 3

Quick Cannellini Bean & Ham Stew

Makes 6 servings
Total Price: NY $17.50
Price Per Serving: NY $2.91

Wet and gray spring days make me crave a bowl of steaming stew. The result of this recipe is a golden broth overflowing with fresh spinach, ham and cannellini beans. I found a variation of this stew two years ago in a winter issue of Gourmet and it has since become a staple in our apartment on cold days when we don’t have a lot of time for cooking.

Top this with slices of baguette broiled with olive oil and a little parmesan cheese. The toasts absorb the garlicky, tomatoey broth. Warming and satisfying on a chilly, rainy day.

  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped (NY $0.48 for 1 bulb)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (NY $0.86)
  • 2.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (staple)
  • 1 14.5oz. can stewed tomatoes, coarsely cut* (NY $1.59)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (NY $1.29)
  • 2 19 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (NY $2.98)
  • 1 1/2-lb piece baked ham (sliced 3/4 inch thick), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (NY $5.51)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (staple)
  • 10 oz spinach (roughly torn) (NY $2.50)
  • 1 demi baguette, sliced (NY $2.29)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (staple)

In a large pot, sauté the chopped garlic and onion in 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderately high heat until the onions turn golden (approx. 3-5 minutes).

Add the can of cut stewed tomatoes and juice to pot and stir.

When the juice starts to simmer, add the beans, ham and black pepper.

Add the chicken broth, stir and bring to a boil.

When the broth starts to boil, reduce the heat until it settles at a simmer.

When the soup is simmering, pile the spinach on top of the pot to steam the spinach. As the spinach starts to wilt, stir it into the soup and turn off the heat.

Serve immediately, garnished with toasts.

While stew is simmering, preheat broiler or set your toaster over to broil.

To Prepare Toasts:
Put bread on a baking sheet or toaster over tray covered with foil, and lightly brush each side with 1/2 tablespoon oil total. Broil until light gold, approx 1 minute.

Flip toast, sprinkle with parmesan cheese to taste, and broil again for approx 1 minute longer.

* We’re not big fans of high fructose corn syrup around here, so the LBUH always checks the fine print (you know, the ingredients) to make sure they’re not slipping any into our stewed tomatoes. You can cut stewed tomatoes right in the can using clean kitchen shears or a knife.

Adapted from Gourmet, January 2007

Nutrition Facts
Approximate values per serving
Calories: 367.6Protein: 26.0 gMagnesium: 29.7 %
Total Fat: 10.0 gVitamin A: 92.1 %Manganese: 66.7 %
Saturated Fat: 2.3 gVitamin B-12: 8.1 % Niacin: 27.5 %
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2 gVitamin B-6: 24.5 % Pantothenic Acid: 7.0 %
Monounsaturated Fat: 5.7 gVitamin C: 39.6 % Phosphorus: 39.8 %
Cholesterol: 20.4 mgVitamin D: 0.0 %Riboflavin: 19.3 %
Sodium: 1,736.7 mgVitamin E: 10.4 %Selenium: 21.3 %
Potassium: 1,224.9 mgCalcium: 20.7 %Thiamin: 42.2 %
Total Carbohydrate: 45.1 gCopper: 29.0 % Zinc: 16.5 %
Dietary Fiber: 11.0 gFolate: 56.6 %
Sugars: 4.3 gIron: 31.6 %


  1. looks great.
    for those of you whom want too the ham can be replaced with any smoked sausage or pastrami


  2. I want to eat this now! Pam of

  3. For 17 bucks you can purchase 4 Hale and Hearty soups or 3 salads, buy enough produce to make a week's worth of salads (even from Whole Foods), buy 3 foot-long Subway sandwiches or multiple fast food meals.

    These are not recessionipes; they are yuppieipes.

  4. Corman,

    Please note that this recipe serves six, not four. In Manhattan, a medium "everyday" soup at Hale and Hearty is $4.39. Their "specials" soups range up to $7.29 for a medium. For 6 servings of soup (which, again, is what this recipe makes) the total cost for Hale and Hearty soups would be $26.34 to $43.74.

    I submit that a total cost of $17.50 is, in fact, significantly lower than $26.34 - $43.74.

    As to your next point: yes, I am sure you can buy a lot of food at McDonalds for $17.50. But we're looking here to find food that is not only inexpensive, but ALSO tasty and healthy.

    If that makes us "yuppies", so be it.

  5. Well, time is money. But my main point is that, people who are truly suffering will gladly hit Subway or McDonald's if need be, or hock their ice cream makers (if they ever had them to begin with).

  6. The goal of this blog is to help people make healthy, home-cooked meals on a budget. Of course people can stretch their budgets by going to McDonalds or Subway. We're fans of the $5 footlongs. But it can be challenging to find healthy meals at some fast food restaurants (have you seen Super-Size Me?), and despite what Jared may have done, its not good for your body to eat the same food day in and day out. Variety is the key to good nutrition, and good nutrition is particularly important if you lost your health insurance along with your job. Eating tasty, nutritious homemade meals isn't a yuppie thing. It's an everybody thing.

  7. You're right, eating tasty, nutritious meals isn't a yuppie thing. But someone who doesn't have a job, and doesn't have a trust fund or pension to fall back on, is not going to be spending their time making their own yogurt or coffee cakes; they'll be getting by however they can. But you know who would? Yuppies.

  8. @Corman: Last I checked, time is NOT money when you are unemployed. In fact, that's sort of the definition.

  9. Hmm making this tonight and replacing ham with Chorizo! Just my kind of food, thanks a bunch!

  10. This is beautiful. For less time than I'd spend waiting in the cafe queue (just once) and for a fraction of the cost, you have all my weekday lunches covered in a healthy/tasty manner. Merci!


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