Make Ahead Lunches: White Bean & Tomato Ragout

I’ve been pretty terrible when it comes to lunches lately. After a few weeks of bringing lunch regularly, I got a little lazy. But when I saw how much money I’ve been spending on food, I decided it was time to go back to bringing my lunch. I was also reminiscing about the bean soup my mom used to make for me when I was younger. It was one of my favorite dishes, and I haven’t had it in years. In fact, I have almost no idea what went into it because it’s honestly been that long. Remind me to ask her for the recipe…

So this ragout was something I made as an homage to mom’s bean soup using ingredients that I already had in the house (for the most part). It’s really simple to make and even easier to reheat for lunches throughout the week. You could also make this as a first course or side dish with a meal or as a hearty vegetarian pasta sauce. Originally, I had intended to buy a package of pita bread to go with it, but Duane Reade doesn’t sell pita bread, so I settled for English muffins and that was probably a better choice. Throwing some fresh basil on top right before you eat adds a lot of freshness and some  nice pretty green to the dish.

The amounts below will portion out to five good lunches to get you through the full (rainy and dreary) workweek.

White Bean & Tomato Ragout

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 heaping tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • fresh basil leaves for serving

Heat the olive oil and rosemary over medium heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot. When the oil is heated through, add the pepper, onion, salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are softened, stirring occasionally. This should take about 30 minutes or so for the veggies to be completely softened.

When the veggies are soft, add the garlic and tomato paste, stirring for about 3 minutes until everything is well mixed and fragrant. Add in the beans and stir for another minute, making sure all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined and heated through.

Next, add the veggie stock and bring the ragout up to a boil. Continue to simmer over high heat for 10 minutes until it thickens up. Next, add the diced tomatoes, cheese, and vinegar. Give the ragout a big stir and continue to simmer until everything is heated through and at your desired consistency.

When it’s lunch time, heat up a bowl of the ragout and eat alongside some toasted pita bread or an English muffin with some basil. Yum!

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