Dishing Up the Dirt

Tomato Fennel & White Bean Stew

This is a humble bowl of stew. The ingredients are basic, inexpensive, and nourishing. The ironic thing is that the recipe was inspired by our compost pile after the most recent farmers market. Fennel and collard greens were not a hit and I thought damn… I gotta get folks stoked on these veggies so we sell out next week. Whelp folks, I’m pretty confident that if people whip up this stew we’ll be selling out of fennel and collards for the rest of the season. This stew is bursting with rich flavors that will warm and comfort you on a stormy night. Taylor and I both went back for seconds and sipped our wine while admiring the fact that something so darn simple can be so unbelievably delicious. I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did.

Grab a spoon, pour a glass of wine and dig in!

Tomato Fennel & White Bean Stew

Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: 1 hour    Serves: 6

  • 1 cup dried navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sized fennel bulb, cored and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups bone broth or veggie stock (homemade is best)
  • salt
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch collard greens, tough stems removed and sliced into thin ribbons
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine beans, onion, garlic and bay leaves in a pot and cover with enough cold water to cover by "2. Season with plenty of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender, about 35-45 minutes. Let beans cool in cooking liquid and discard the bay leaves
  2. Heat the butter in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute longer. Add the wine and continue to cook and stir until most of the liquid evaporates. Add the tomatoes, broth, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Cook for about 30-40 minutes on low until the flavors meld together.
  3. Just before serving add the collard greens. Season the soup with freshly ground black pepper and enjoy.


*Use this recipe as a guide. Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary.

Leave a Reply

10 thoughts on “Tomato Fennel & White Bean Stew

  1. olive says:

    I make a collard and fennel tomato soup too! But I used cranberry beans. How funny. I buy fennel and collards every week without fail from the market!

    1. Andrea says:

      I love it! We need more customers like you! xoxo

  2. Susan Walter says:

    Apparently the purchasing of Fennel bulbs is used by British supermarkets as part of their customer profiling. It is seen as an indicator that you are a home cook.

  3. Marisa says:

    First, thanks so much for this recipe. It has so many of my favorite ingredients. Second, I would appreciate two points of clarification. What do you do with the onion and garlic that stewed with the beans? The recipe says to get rid of the bay leaf, but does not mention the onion and garlic. Second, for those of us who have to buy collards at the grocery store, about how many cups would a bunch make? The bunch I got made 8-10 cups. Greens cook down so much that this might be fine. I guess I will see, given that the soup is bubbling away on my stove!

    1. Andrea says:

      I hope you love the soup as much as we do! Just add the onion and garlic back to the soup, no need to chop or anything (they’ll be very tender and cooked down by then). One bunch of collards will vary from wherever you get them but 8-10 cups sounds about right. They cook down. Enjoy the meal and let me know how it turns out!

      1. Marisa says:

        It was terrific! Great blend of flavors. It was perfect for a cold Chicago night.

  4. Alice says:

    Hi Andrea! I notice butter in the stew ingredients, but oil in the directions. Should I use one or the other? Thanks!

    1. Andrea says:

      Thanks for the catch! Butter!!!

  5. Alice says:

    This soup has great flavor! I usually use canned beans instead of making my own but I cooked them from scratch per the recipe and it makes such a difference. I puréed then stirred back in a couple cups of the soup just prior to adding the collard greens.

  6. Jennie says:

    I received a fennel bulb and some cranberry beans in their pods for my CSA box and tried this recipe. It was so good! I added a lot more spice while it simmered, but otherwise made no changes.
    Not only is fennel delicious but it imparts a subtle “meatyness” to dishes like this that as a vegetarian I really appreciate.

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