You can call this dish a Root Vegetable Vegetarian Cassoulet if you choose to do so, or you can call it a Vegetarian Stew or Soup, or even a White Bean Soup. Whatever you decide, add the word delicious at the beginning, because, Dear Reader, this cassoulet is nothing short of phenomenally fantastic!
Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France. It typically contains meat, but of course, this one doesn’t. That doesn’t mean it’s missing any of the taste though! The dish also most always contains white beans or navy beans.
Upscale culinary versions require mixing pre-cooked roasted meats with beans that have been simmered separately with aromatic vegetables, but this runs counter to the peasant origins of the dish.
Did you know there’s a rumour that since the process of preparing the dish is to traditionally de-glaze the pot from the previous cassoulet in order to provide a base for the next one, that the original cassoulet was extended for years, according to Anatole France, a French writer. I’m not sure I’d want to eat that one!
In American restaurants, the term cassoulet is often applied to any hearty bean-based casserole; in fact, Americans seem to love cassoulet so much that they have dedicated a whole day to it! Yes, January 9th is National Cassoulet Day in the United States!
History lesson aside, this Root Vegetable Vegetarian Cassoulet is so in the now. It’s delicious; it’s hearty; it’s wholesome; and it’s got to be put into your dinner rotation. In the words of John.e, “Trust Byron.”
- 2 cans white (navy) beans, about 3 cups, drained
- ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 4 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 medium turnip (rutabaga), peeled and diced
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- ½ large butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- In a large Dutch oven, add the olive oil and onions. Cook the onions over medium heat until cooked through.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the bay leaves, carrots, celery, turnip, and butternut squash. Stir together, place the lid on the pot and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the thyme, salt, pepper, vegetable broth and water. Stir. Place the lid back on the pot and lower the temperature to a medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir the Cassoulet and add the potatoes. Place the lid back on and cook for 30 more minutes.
- Stir in the beans and the spinach. Place the lid back on and cook for 15 minutes.
- Check for seasoning and adjust according to your personal tastes.