Tuscany Stew for the Virtual Vegan Potluck

Welcome to Cheerfully Vegan’s main course dish for the Virtual Vegan Potluck!  If you’ve started from the beginning of the potluck and are working your way through, you must have seen some amazing recipes by now.  If you are jumping into the potluck for the first time using my blog as your entry point, then welcome to the program already in progress!  😀  Let me catch you up to speed (the rest of you can jump to the next paragraph.)  V.V.P. is a marvelous online, twice-yearly get-together of 100 (give or take) vegan or vegan-friendly food bloggers around the world.  Each blogger signs up for what kind of dish they will “bring” ~ and then on the set date, posts that recipe on their blog.  We each link to the blog before and after ours (see the leaf links at the bottom of this page) so that you can start at any one point in the 100 blogs and just click to see the previous or the next entry.  Pretty simple, huh?  Let’s get started!  For those of you who want to jump to the head of the table and start from the beginning, click on the leaf at the beginning of this paragraph.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program….

When I was trying to decide what to bring to the potluck, I was torn.  Do I make something showy and/or spectacular, or do I choose a simple dish that everybody will make time and time again?  Since I was jumping into this at the last minute (somebody needed to bow out a couple of days ago and I was blessed to take their place) I really didn’t have a lot of time to hem and haw over the decision!  Finally, I chose something that is a little of both.  It is simple to prepare with a relatively short list of ingredients, but the flavor is spectacular ~ at least if you love garlic and spicy Tofurkey links it is!  😉

The great thing about this dish is that you can be as hands-on, or not, as you like.  You can choose to cook the beans from scratch and grow your own greens to pick fresh (okay, okay…or pick them fresh from the display at the store), or you can pick up canned cannellini beans and frozen greens when you need supper on the table quickly.

My plan was to do something in between ~ canned beans and fresh kale from the market.  Mmmm…not so much.  By the time I got to the store late yesterday all of my favorite organic curly red kale was GONE!  (Understand that this was more of a crisis in my mind for my morning smoothies than for the soup…*sniff*)  I knew that the grocery store also carried a great substitute of frozen turnip greens with diced turnips (alas, not organic) that I had used in the past.  Since I not only needed a picture or two for the blog as well as supper for the evening ~ and it was getting late ~ I opted for the frozen greens.  Time had run out to dash to another store in the hopes that they still had some kale left.

I made a double batch of this last night and it is a good thing I did!  My plan was to have enough leftovers for lunch for 2, or even 3 of us.  It was so popular with the family that there is only a single serving left.

Tuscany Stew

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lg. onion
  • 1 14-oz pkg. Tofurkey Italian “sausage” links, halved lengthwise and sliced (to decrease the intensity of the spicy flavor, only use half the package)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2-2 c. cannellini beans (or 1 can), rinsed and drained (you may substitute navy beans, but add them a few minutes before serving so that they don’t turn to mush)
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 pound greens, fresh or frozen – kale, turnip greens, spinach, etc. – chopped (remove any tough stems if you choose fresh greens)
  • non-dairy grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

In a very large frying pan or a Dutch oven*, saute the onion and Tofurkey pieces in olive oil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and the Tofurkey is browned nicely.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring often to keep the garlic from browning and getting bitter.  (If you prefer, you can skip the last step and just toss the garlic in at the next step instead.)  Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer until the greens are cooked to your preference ~ I like mine very tender.  Whether you chose fresh or frozen greens will affect the cooking time, too.  You probably should plan on approximately 15-20 minutes.  If you like a saucier stew, cover the pot.  If you prefer less broth, cook with no lid, but stir often so that the greens at the top of the pot don’t dry out.

Serve with non-dairy Parmesan cheese and a tasty bread to soak up any extra broth.

Serves: 3-4 (which doesn’t include hungry teenage boys, by the way, which is why I have only one bowlful leftover today.)

*Note ~ I highly recommend a non-stick pan for this, or you’ll need extra oil to keep the links from sticking.