Tuscan Cannellini Bean Stew with Kale and Sorghum (an ancient grain) that is hearty, delicious, gluten-free and vegan adaptable!
In this recipe for Tuscan Cannellini Bean Stew with Kale, an optional ancient grain, called Sorghum adds an unexpected heartiness. But if you can’t find it, don’t worry, it’s good without it or simply substitute quinoa!
Sorghum, if unfamiliar, is an ancient grain originating from Northern Africa- tiny and round, similar in size and shape of Israeli couscous- with the added benefit of being totally gluten-free.
You can either use dry cannelloni beans in which case the Sorghum and cannellini beans are soaked overnight in order to decrease cooking time, or simply used canned beans, for even faster preparation.
In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven – onion, fennel bulb, celery and carrots are sauteed until tender. Then go in the cannellini beans, sorghum ( or quinoa) and flavorful stock. Let this simmer then add a couple of handfuls of chopped kale. Dinner is ready!
This time of year, when locally grown produce is particularly sparse, ancient grains can help us bridge the gap between seasons. Ancient grains, in simple terms, are basically grains that have not been messed with or altered. Whole, intact, organic and genetically unmodified grains that are the same today, as they were thousands of years ago.
Thought to be higher in nutrients than modern-day wheat, some ancient grains (like quinoa, teff and amaranth) are very high in protein and some are gluten-free. With the increasing number of consumers who are gluten intolerant, this is really good news.
By now, most of us are familiar with quinoa, probably the most popular “ancient grain” to hit local supermarkets and restaurants in the last decade, but other grains are also emerging into the limelight that can add healthy diversity to what we eat, including – kamut, teff, sorghum, amaranth, barley, farro, millet, spelt, rye, eikorn, emmer, winter wheat, spring wheat and wild rice.
Sorghum, one of my favorite ancient grains, originates from Africa. Its name “sorghum” comes from the Italian word “sorgo”, in turn from Latin “Syricum (granum)” meaning “Grain of Syria”.
Recently we have seen sorghum’s popularity on the rise here, thanks to the gluten-free benefits it offers. But being gluten-free isn’t sorghum’s only bragging right.
According to a new study from the University of Georgia, some varieties of sorghum have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that compare and even exceed other well-known superfoods, like blueberries and pomegranates.
And unlike other gluten-free grains, its hearty, chewy texture of sorghum is very similar to wheat berries, making it an ideal candidate in pilafs, salads and soups –because it holds its shape when cooked.
Sorghum, is sold and packaged by Bob’s Red Mill, and can be found at most grocery stores.
I hope you like this Tuscan Cannellini Bean Stew with Kale and Sorghum!
Soak dry beans and sorghum in separate containers of water overnight. .
Heat oil over medium high heat in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven. Add onion and saute for two minutes, stirring often. Turn heat to medium and add garlic, fennel, carrots, celery, and saute for 7-8 minutes. Add tomato, stock, herbs,drained beans and drained sorghum. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to medium low, and simmer until beans are tender about 1 1/4- 1 1/2 hours.
Serve in Bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil ( optional)or add crunchy croutons.
Notes: If using canned beans, simply add the drained, canned beans to the simmering stock until heated, about 10 minutes.To thicken, you could simply let this reduce a bit, or add quinoa. Making it this way will shorten the cooking time to 30 minutes.
Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.