Rainy Day Three-Bean Stew

Rainy Day Three-Bean Stew

  • posted on: April 14, 2015
  • posted by: 21 Acres
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There is supposedly a debate over if you can call a vegetarian chili, actually CHILI? I was with a group of Texans, a couple weeks ago and I thought I would ask them if a vegetarian chili could be called a chili. To them the simple answer is no.


Chili, according to some Texans, means it contains meat and no beans. Once you add beans it is no longer chili. So with this conversation under my belt I decided to name this recipe three-bean stew instead of three-bean chili.

The three beans come from Alvarez Organic Farms in Mabton, Washington in the Yakima Valley. Alvarez farms was started Don Hilario Alvarez. Back in 1981 he started farming organic on a rented 30-acre plot of land on his free time. Since then has expanded to over 125 acres.


I found an intriguing farmer case study done back in 2005 by the Northwest Direct Marketing team on the Alvarez family. In this article Don Hilario Alvarez states that, “… it gives him great pleasure to be able to provide his customers with fresh, delicious vegetables that are organically grown, with no chemicals that can harm their health.” Organic farms like the Alvarez families are what supporting and eating local is all about. Recognizing and supporting those who want to improve the future of our food and health.


I made this homemade cornbread to go with my three-bean stew. I prefer my cornbread not sweet, as it goes better with savory meals without the added sugar. But feel free to use your favorite recipe.

Make this stew while the cold nights are still around and you can still find the last of the winter squashes at your local farmers markets! It is perfect heartwarming and protein packed meal. Great flavor with great northwest grown beans!



Feel free to comment on what your favorite cold night meal is!



-Sam -21 Acres Volunteer

 Rainy day Three-Bean Stew

 Easily serves 8

 1 cup dried Pinto beans (160g) (soaked over night)

1 cup dried Maya Coba beans (160g) (soaked over night) (aka Canary beans)

1 cup dried Red Chili Lava beans (160g) (soaked over night)

1 small winter squash cubed (most squash or even sweet potato would work)

3 carrots chopped

1 bell pepper (color your choice) chopped

2 serrano peppers finely diced

1 onion (I used yellow but any kind would do) diced

2 cloves of garlic minced

2 cans of diced tomatoes

4 cups veggie broth

2 tbls tomato paste

1 tbls cocoa powder

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1 tsp coriander

½ tsp paprika

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp cumin

salt and pepper

Additional topping options: cheese, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips

Heat a large pot on medium with a few tablespoons of olive oil. (I used my LeCreuset Dutch oven because of its large capacity). Add the onions and cook until translucent a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic, carrots and butternut squash and cook with the lid on to soften the veggies about 10 min. Then add the bell pepper, Serrano peppers, diced tomatoes with their sauce and tomato paste.

At this point you can add as much of the 4 cups of broth as you want depending on the thickness you want your stew. I add it all as it tends to evaporate with the required long cooking time. Throw in your drained soaked beans and stir everything to incorporate.

Add all the dry spices and season with salt and pepper generously.

I usually cook my stew for a good 1 hour so the beans are fully cooked. Also this gives the stew time to absorb and develops more flavors.

You can check the stew at about 45 min to see if the beans for cooked fully, also along the way about more broth if the stew seems too thick.

Dress with your favorite toppings. I chose chopped cilantro and shredded cheese.

Enjoy with your favorite cornbread recipe!



Notes: This recipe makes A LOT of stew. I froze some since it’s just me and my husband but for a large family it would be plenty for a night or maybe two. Feel free to cut the measurements in half.