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Italian Vegetable and Pasta Stew

4 c Water
2 c Chopped onion
1 1/2 c Quartered small red potatoes
1 c Dried Great northern or navy beans
1/2 c Sliced carrot
1/2 c Quartered mushrooms
1/2 c Uncooked pearl barley
1/2 lb Lean, boneless round steak; cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cn (14. 5-oz. ) Pasta-style chunky tomatoes; undrained
1 cn (14. 5-oz. ) Fat-free beef broth
3 Garlic cloves; chopped
1 c Sliced zucchini
1 c Torn spinach
1/2 c Uncooked alphabet or other small pasta
1 tb Dried rosemary; crushed
1 ts Salt
1 ts Rubbed sage
1/2 ts Pepper
1/4 ts Ground nutmeg
1/2 c Grated Parmesan cheese


Combine first 11 ingredients in a large electric slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on high-heat setting for 6 hours. Add zucchini and next 7 ingredients (zucchini through nutmeg); cover and cook on high-heat setting an additional 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Ladle into individual soup bowls, and sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1-1/2 cups stew and 1 tablespoon cheese. )


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