This healthy and hearty vegetable stew is packed with nutrients thanks to the addition of carrots, onion, and tomatoes, plus pasta and white beans for a satisfying meal. The perfect way to fill up and warm up!
If cold weather rolls around and you immediately start craving stews and soups, this vegetable stew recipe is for you.
It's totally filling and satisfying, without being weighed down by cream or other heavy ingredients. Instead, this veggie stew makes the most of fresh vegetables and aromatics, with staying power from beans and pasta. This is not a vegetable stew that will leave you feeling hungry after an hour two!
Best of all, you can customize this recipe however you like. Feel free to use whatever veggies are in the fridge!
Why You’ll Love This Vegetable Stew Recipe
This is why I love making vegetable stew:
- Hearty and healthy. So many hearty comfort food meals are also heavy, leaving you feeling uncomfortable and lethargic after eating. Vegetable stew strikes the perfect balance, though—it’s filling but it will also leave you feeling nourished, not drained.
- Totally unfussy. Like my Vegan Tomato Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup, this isn’t the kind of recipe that will have you running to three different grocery stores to pick up all the ingredients. We’re talking simple, everyday ingredients here.
- A clear-out-your-crisper-drawer kind of recipe. Use this recipe as a springboard for your own unique vegetable stew made with the ingredients you have on hand. It’s great for using up what’s in your refrigerator or CSA box!
What You'll Need
Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need when making this vegetable stew. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact quantities for each ingredient.
- Olive oil – Since you’re using it for cooking, there’s no need to use a fancy variety.
- White or yellow onion – Together with the celery and carrots, these veggies form the base of this vegetable stew’s flavor.
- Garlic – Plenty of fresh garlic adds depth to this recipe.
- Vegetable broth – Use a high-quality brand or make your own vegetable broth.
- Bay leaves
- Lemon – Lemon adds brightness and balance.
- Gluten-free pasta – I recommend brown rice penne or fusilli.
- White beans – Any variety you like will work in vegetable stew.
- Kale or spinach
- Salt and pepper
- Garnishes – Fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, or grated Parmesan.
How to Make Vegetable Stew
I love that this vegetable stew recipe is just one pot and that most of the time involved is simply letting it simmer. Because it's pretty hands-off, it’s a great option for a weeknight. Here's how you'll make it:
- Sauté. Cook the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery with the olive oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Once they're starting to soften, add the salt and pepper, followed by the tomatoes, broth, lemon, and bay leaves.
- Simmer. Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Add the noodles and beans. When you're about 10 minutes away from serving, add the beans and noodles. Allow the noodles to cook until al dente, then remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the spinach or kale until it wilts.
- Serve. Ladle the vegetable stew into bowls and garnish as desired.
Tips for Success
These additional pointers will help you make sure your vegetable stew turns out perfect.
- Cut the vegetables into uniform sizes. This ensures that they’ll all finish cooking at the same time—and that you won’t have crunchy onions or hard carrots in your veggie stew.
- Don’t use bean-based pasta. I love pastas made with legumes, but they create a lot of foam when cooking and they also have a tendency to fall apart when soaking in liquid, so I don’t recommend them for this recipe.
- Control the sodium level. Use low-sodium or salt-free broth to replace traditional vegetable broth and make sure to drain and rinse your beans before adding them to the pot. Don't forget to taste as you go, either. Salt is an important part of savory cooking and will greatly enhance the flavor of your vegetable stew, but when you can control the amount, it's always better!
Change up the protein by using chickpeas instead of white beans or adding shredded chicken. If you’re grating your own Parmesan from a wedge, add the rind to the vegetable stew as it simmers; it will add some more depth and umami flavor to the broth.
I like to garnish each serving of this vegetable stew with grated Parmesan. If you're dairy-free, simply use your favorite vegan shredded cheese!
On the side, add a slice of toasted bread to soak up all the delicious broth. And if you like, you can serve the stew with a side salad, such as Pear and Arugula Salad or The Best Greek Chickpea Salad.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover vegetable stew in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat servings in the microwave or on the stove.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
If you'd like the freeze the vegetable stew, I recommend storing the noodles separately. Then you can cook and add pasta just before serving. Otherwise, the pasta tends to get mushy and soak up a lot of broth.
More Healthy Soup and Stew Recipes
Hearty Vegetable Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup celery (about 2 stalks)
- 1 cup carrots (about 2 medium)
- 1 small white/yellow onion , diced
- 2 – 3 garlic cloves
- 6 medum tomatoes , chopped*
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 cup gluten-free pasta (brown rice penne or fusili preferably!)
- 1 15 oz can white beans (drained & rinsed, optional)
- 3 cups kale/spinach
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Water if needed
- fresh herbs (parley, thyme or basil)
- nutritional yeast
- Heat the olive oil over medium. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes until everything has softened slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add in the tomatoes, broth, bay leaves and lemon. Drop the squeezed lemon into the soup and allow it to cook with the rest of the ingredients (trust me, it's so good!). Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta and white beans and cook another 10 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Season again with salt and pepper. If the noodles have soaked up too much liquid, feel free to add some water in to thin the soup out a bit.
- About 60 seconds before serving, stir in the greens. Allow the greens to wilt.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, parmesan, etc. to your liking!