Vegetarian cassoulet recipe
Cassoulet is a traditional French dish that takes almost all day to prepare. Plus, it incorporates a lot of meat. This version requires neither.
Cassoulet is a hearty French stew that traditionally combines a few types of meat, usually duck and pork, with beans and various aromatic vegetables. It typically is left to simmer all day, resulting in a thick, rich stew that is the perfect meal for a cold winter night. While the image of lovingly and patiently tending to a stew all afternoon seems romantic, the notion ends when we glance at our schedule. Or that heap of laundry. The reality is, we all need recipes in our arsenal that, even if they taste like they took all day to prepare, are quick and simple to throw together.
That's why this cassoulet recipe has become the favorite in my household. It's easy and quick to prepare and, oh yes, it is also vegetarian.
Whatever our reason -- be it health, environmental or ethical -- many of us are making an effort to cut back on our meat consumption. The key to not missing the meat in this dish is the addition of smoked paprika. It gives the stew that smoky flavor that can trick even the most cunning foodie into thinking you snuck just a little bacon in there.
Vegetarian cassoulet recipe
The crunchy, garlicky breadcrumbs are a welcome contrast to the creamy, rich stew.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 thyme sprigs, stripped
- 1 sage sprig, leaves minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 3 (15 ounce) cans cannellini or great northern beans, drained
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
For the toasted breadcrumbs:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat and cook onions, carrots, celery and a generous pinch of salt and pepper until softened, about 15 minutes. Add in garlic, thyme, sage, bay leaf and smoked paprika and continue cooking two minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste and raise heat to medium-high. Deglaze the pot with red wine and continue cooking until reduced by half. Add in stock, water and beans. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
- While the stew is simmering, prepare the breadcrumbs by heating 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the minced garlic and breadcrumbs. Cook the breadcrumbs, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted. Stir in salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Mash some of the beans with a potato masher to thicken. Stir in half of breadcrumbs and discard bay leaf. Top with remaining breadcrumbs and parsley and serve.