Fall Pesto Bean Stew

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It doesn’t get better than a weekend free from responsibility, and beautiful weather. Today I got to experience both in one of my favorite places on earth.

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Although technically I’m supposed to wait until the 22nd to celebrate the official start of fall, a crisp 72 degree afternoon at Mount Vernon’s annual Colonial Market and Fair really got me in the zone.

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There were vendors, re-enactors, historical buildings, farm animals, and absolutely beautiful walks to and from the Potomac river. In my opinion, there is no better way to welcome the new season than at the home of the first President of the United States.

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Fall is absolutely spectacular in my corner of the world. There’s a good reason I want to ring it in early! Cool air moves in, the life-sucking humidity moves out, and I can once again tromp around in my beloved knee high boots that have been a gaping hole in my soul for the last four sweltering months. (I’m not the only one who gets excited about the change in season, just ask the couponers buying glittery pumpkins for 20% off at the craft store, or the yoga pants girls foaming at the mouth over pumpkin spice lattes.)

Fall has something for everyone, whether it’s a trip back in time, sparkly gourds or syrupy coffee. But now, I have something for you: Pesto Bean Stew. It’s warm, hearty, rich, and basically the most addictive way I’ve ever experienced beans.

Now go get in the kitchen and make this. George Washington says so.

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Ingredients

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 red onion, diced

1 garlic clove

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried sage

2 C. sliced mushrooms

1/2 C. dry cooking sherry

2 cans of great northern beans

4 Tbsp. vegan basil-walnut pesto

1/2 C. vegetable broth

2 C. baby spinach

fall pesto bean stew

Method

Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften.

Add the mushrooms garlic, thyme, and sage, and continue to cook until the mushrooms have given up about half of their water, and have become tender.

Pour in the cooking sherry and bring to a simmer until the liquid has reduced, roughly 4 minutes, until the mixture is a thick consistency.

Spoon in the pesto, and give everything a good stir to make sure it is distributed evenly before adding in the vegetable broth.

Simmer for about 4 minutes and toss in the beans and spinach, reserving roughly 1/4 C. of the spinach.

Stir until the spinach has wilted, about 1 minute.

Right before serving, stir in the remaining 1/4 C. of spinach for a pop of bright green color and texture.

Serving suggestion: alongside some sweet and savory brown sugar roasted brussels sprouts.

Bon appetit.

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