Rich Bean, Mushroom and Cauliflower Stew

Bean, Mushroom Cauliflower Stew

As I have said many times on these pages, I am not a vegan. However, I do make vegan or vegetarian meals with some frequency. This rich and flavorful stew is something I came up with after cooking up beautiful heirloom scarlet runner beans and chick peas that I had in my pantry from Rancho Gordo. Some of the beans I cooked up will go into a bean soup with smoked pork butt, but I also wanted a vegan dish for the remainder. If you don’t want to cook up your own beans, you could probably substitute canned beans. It won’t be quite the same and I have never seen scarlet runner beans in a can, but a bit of experimenting can sometimes produce wonderful results. However, if you own a slow cooker, cooking up your own beans is really simple and opens up all kinds of bean options for you. Also, I always cook my beans with aromatics – carrot, onions, garlic and some herbs.

I served this stew, with its rich coconut milk-based sauce over plain Basmati rice. It would go equally well over faro or barley or wheat berries. You want a hearty grain that can soak up the sauce, while keeping a bit of chew. The seasonings in this are Indian-inspired but not based on any particular recipe. The dish requires nothing more than a bit of chopped cilantro on top for serving and possibly a green salad. Leftovers heated up will make for a satisfying lunch that should banish the sad desk lunch blues.

Rich Bean, Mushroom and Cauliflower Stew

Yield: 6 Servings


2-3 Tablespoons EVOO

1 small head cauliflower cut into florets

6 cups of beans (I used Scarlet Runner beans and Chickpeas, but a large white bean or pinto bean with chickpeas would probably work) with liquid or about 2 cups of vegetable broth

8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used Crimini, but white button mushrooms are fine)

1 can of full-fatted coconut milk

2 small onions, coarsely chopped

10 whole cloves

2 rounded teaspoons curry powder (I used 1/2 hot curry powder and 1/2 regular)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

2-3 Tablespoons, chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. In a 3.5 – 4 quart Dutch oven, heat the EVOO. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent – about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the cloves and the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cauliflower and the mushrooms with the ginger and the spices and stir through to coat the cauliflower.
  4. Add the beans and about 1.5 cups of the bean liquid or vegetable broth if you are using canned beans. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add in the coconut milk and stir through. I like a lot of liquid, but if you don’t want quite so much, do not add the entire can of coconut milk. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes more.
  6. Serve over the Basmati rice and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

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