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Vegetarian Bean Stew

February 5, 2018 by Ginger Hultin MS RDN

Eating more plant-based meals is a simple and delicious way to improve your health. For me, a plant-based meal needs to be packed with flavor and easy to make- bonus points if it can be used for meal prep. Heart health is important to me as a dietitian because cardiovascular disease is a threat to us all and I spend a lot of time educating people on how to eat for a healthy heart. With that in mind, I made my Vegetarian Bean Stew packed with fiber and antioxidants that support the heart.

Heart Healthy Diet 

When heart health comes to mind, I think it is safe to say that we all know the basic steps. You know the drill: exercise, work on relaxation, and eat “right.” But heart healthy eating has a lot of components. To maintain cardiovascular health, from a nutrient standpoint, some important things to focus on are including fiber and antioxidant rich foods, decreasing saturated fat intake, and watching your sodium intake.

I mention fiber specifically because it is known to help lower your cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can lead to many different heart issues. Saturated fat is a nutrient that can also affect your cholesterol levels. Sodium can make your blood pressure higher which can also lead to major issues like a stroke or heart attack. I’m going to go through the types of foods to include one by one so you understand exactly how to eat for your heart. 


Fiber is important for digestion, blood sugar, and lowering your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. We all should be getting a lot more fiber. Women need at least 25 grams of fiber per day and men require a bit more, with at least 38 grams. This is actually a pretty easy goal if you eat veggies, fruits, whole grains, and beans throughout the day. Luckily, this Vegetarian Bean Stew has all of those things together in one dish. 

Fiber is the indigestible part of the plant foods that we eat. It helps to move food through our bodies and helps to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Because this nutrient comes from plants, it is important to include a variety of whole plant foods in your diet. 

When balanced with healthful and fiber-packed whole grain like brown rice or quinoa, this Vegetarian Bean Stew checks all the boxes. Some other great sources of fiber are whole fruits and vegetables like salad greens and berries, beans and lentils, ground flax seeds and wheat germ. Just think whole plant foods when it comes to fiber.

Including More Plant-Based Proteins

Heart healthy diets emphasize the ability to lower cholesterol and saturated fat intake. This is easy to do by replacing animal sources of protein with plant-based sources. Did you know that the human body produces its own cholesterol? Animals produce cholesterol in their bodies just like our bodies do. This means that animal sources of protein contain cholesterol while plant based sources won’t contain any cholesterol. 

Instead, you can include more legumes, nuts, seeds, or soy products in your diet. Plant-based protein sources also have the added benefits of more fiber, micronutrients, and healthy fats. Plant foods are great sources of heart healthy fats – think monounsaturated and Omega 3’s- as opposed to saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. These fats play a role in protecting your arteries, reducing inflammation, and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. You can find them in nuts, seeds, and avocados. 

Low Sodium Flavor

The body needs sodium, but when it gets too much it can be harmful. This means keeping your intake to less than 2,300mg a day. Sodium is found in table salt, canned foods, frozen meals, premade sauces, and most takeout foods. 

When you are focusing on lowering your sodium/salt intake it can be made easy and fun by adding flavor to your meals in other ways. This can be done with fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. 

In this recipe, apricot lends sweetness to balance the natural acidity in tomato and red pepper, while spices including chili powder, nutmeg, turmeric, and cinnamon brighten the dish and add complexity. These spices are great for helping to fight inflammation as well. Anti-inflammatory foods are beneficial in preventing any disease. You can find tons of info on this in my book: Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep.


Antioxidants play a crucial role in your heart health. These are foods that are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and similar nutrients. This Vegetarian Bean Stew has apricots in it that are a delicious source of antioxidants!

You may have heard that antioxidants work against free radicals, but what does that really mean? Free radicals are unstable atoms that are regularly produced in our body as a byproduct of breathing oxygen. These atoms will try to attach to other molecules in your body in a process called oxidative stress. This kind of oxidation can eventually cause damage to your heart cells. 

You can include more antioxidants in your diet by focusing on including citrus fruits, berries, dark green leafy vegetables, and other fruits and veggies that are dark in color. Look for dark reds, yellow and oranges like carrots, bell peppers, and pomegranate seeds. 

Making the Vegetarian Bean Stew 

The Chickpeas 

To make this stew I use canned chickpeas for convenience, but you can make it using dried chickpeas as well. You will need to add extra time to your recipe prep to soak the chickpeas. For this recipe, you would need to soak 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas in a large pot of water for 8 hours or overnight. You will then need to simmer the soaked beans in fresh water for 1-2 hours until tender and then follow the recipe instructions below. 

The Grains

I suggest using brown rice or quinoa as your grain base for this stew. This turns your stew into a hearty complete meal that will keep you full all afternoon or evening. To cook the grains, use a rice cooker if you have one, or follow the instructions on the package. I chose these grains because they are high in fiber, easy to make and versatile. Feel free to use any grain that you like in this recipe. If you are looking to add some variety to your grains you could try bulgur, farro, or wild rice. 

Meal Prep Win

This recipe is a great option to add to your list of meal prep ideas for lunch or dinner. You could even double the recipe if you wanted to make an extra big batch. It is fantastic for leftovers and packs well in a to go container for an easy workday lunch. 

If you need some other quick, simple meals with heart healthy ingredients, check out my: Double Tomato, Basil and Ricotta Homemade Pizza, Garden Cherry Tomato Bruschetta, Sheet Pan Teriyaki Tofu with Pineapple and Veggies.

Vegetarian Bean Stew

This very unique stew is savory and sweet. It includes plant-based proteins from beans, fruit from apricots, veggies in the form of onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, whole grain brown rice or quinoa, and plenty of earthy, anti-inflammatory spices for depth of flavor. This one is perfect for meal prep!
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Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Americana
Keyword: chickpea stew, easy vegan recipe, vegan stew, vegetarianbeanstew
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 390kcal
Author: Ginger Hultin


  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1-14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-14 oz diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  • Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and bell pepper for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft.
  • Add the turmeric, nutmeg, and cinnamon, stirring constantly, for 1-2 additional minutes.
  • Add the vegetable broth to the mixture and simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring often as the vegetables continue to soften.
  • Add the apricots, chickpeas, tomatoes, chili powder, and salt.
  • Cover the pot and switch to a medium-low heat. Allow the stew to simmer for about 8-10 minutes gently.
  • Ladle the stew over warm brown rice or quinoa. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot. Also makes great leftovers! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 11.5g | Fat: 6.5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 730mg | Potassium: 767mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 22g
Tried this recipe?Mention @champagnenutrition


  1. Beth Hudson on December 5, 2020 at 7:55 am

    This was delicious and I will make it again! Next time I will make it with diced tomatoes as this time I only had crushed tomatoes and I think it possibly made it a lot thicker but either way it was so delicious – I loved the abundance of spices!

    • Ginger Hultin on December 5, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      Oh I’m so glad! Enjoy!

  2. Taylor on February 16, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    This looks so good!

    • Ginger Hultin on February 17, 2021 at 6:59 am

      Thank you! It’s one of my all-time favorites 🙂

      • Ginger Hultin on February 17, 2021 at 6:59 am

        Perfect! Let me know how it turns out

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Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO

Integrative nutrition specialist helping clients navigate complex health conditions to reduce inflammation and feel better.

Thanks for visiting! If you're struggling with a cancer diagnosis, autoimmune condition, gut health problems, or even a medical mystery, nutrition can make a HUGE difference in your day-to-day life. I run a virtual, concierge private practice where I partner with my clients over time to help them improve their health through nutrition. Be sure to visit the blog for easy, plant-based, anti-inflammatory recipes and our "Resources" page for a variety of self-paced programs, books, e-books, and nutrition podcast episodes.

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