heirloom bean stew with dill + coconut cream

heirloom bean stew with dill + coconut cream | theclevercarrot.com

Is eating a chore?

The thought in question comes from an interesting conversation with my cousin.

She loves food; a good cheese, a nice salad, brownie corners…

But the process can be unpleasant.

(Plan it, prep it, make it, clean it)

By the time you eat it, you’re exhausted.

So, she makes a big pot of ‘slop’ at the beginning of the week (her word not mine). This descriptive mixture includes: ground chicken or turkey, sautéed greens and some kind of sauce. It’s a quick one pot solution. Just heat and serve.

And I totally get it.

On the days leading up to Christmas, I ate this stew. Bowls of it. I was too preoccupied with holiday festivities to plan meals, let alone remember dinner. I needed something simple. Something satisfying. A bowl of goodness to sustain my energy levels.

Sadly, no one in this house was remotely interested in my ‘slop.’ Beans and cream? Death sentence.

It was MINE… all mine.

heirloom bean stew with dill + coconut cream | theclevercarrot.com

I soaked beautiful heirloom beans overnight in filtered water.

In the morning, I sautéed aromatics with fennel until golden. To that, I added Jasmine rice. Rice acts as a natural thickener when pureed and is a handy gluten free alternative to flour. Plus, I was going after the whole rice and beans thing. The texture is a blend chunky and smooth, finished with fresh parsley and a dollop of coconut cream.

Have you tried tomato with coconut?

The combination is divine. Here, the flavor reminds me of a subtle, island-kissed minestrone. It’s not overpowering in the least bit.

Neither is dill.

Strong. Punchy. Verdant. Dill.

I had a bunch leftover from another recipe, and instead of putting it directly in the stew, I garnished each bowl with a couple of sprigs. Just to taste.

Altogether, it makes a lovely combination.

heirloom bean stew with dill + coconut cream | theclevercarrot.com

Naturally, the definition of chore varies from person to person.

And remembering to soak beans overnight might just push you over the edge (do it before bed!)

But, if we give a little to get a little we’ll be one step ahead, right?

And maybe less tired…


Your cheerleader.

heirloom bean stew with dill + coconut cream | theclevercarrot.com


  • Coconut milk vs. Coconut cream? What’s the difference? Coconut milk is thin in consistency and the base for most Asian-style curries. Coconut cream is thicker and often used in desserts. Both versions are unsweetened. There is also cream of coconut which is a sweetened version of coconut cream. 
  • If you can’t find dried heirloom beans, you’re not crazy. Any type of soup bean mix will work. Just make sure it’s unseasoned.

heirloom bean stew with dill + coconut cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Remember to start this recipe the night before! Soak the beans in filtered water and make the soup in the morning.
Serves: 6
  • 1 c. dried heirloom beans*
  • 1½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • ½ can tomato paste
  • 1 small butternut squash, neck part only (peeled)
  • small handful of Jasmine rice
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • salt + pepper
  • coconut cream
  • fresh dill
* If you can't find heirloom beans, use an unseasoned soup bean mix. They usually contain about 12-15 varieties of beans.
  1. Soak the beans overnight in filtered water. Drain, rinse and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large pot, warm the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel and garlic. Saute until golden, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and mix well to dissolve.
  4. Add the butternut squash, rice, beans and cover with water.
  5. Open the coconut cream. Reserve about ⅓ c. for garnish. If the can is cold, the cream will be solid; this is fine. Add the rest to the pot.
  6. Bring the stew to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Cooking time will vary based of the type of beans you are using. If it gets too thick, add more water.
  7. Using a hand held blender, puree part of the stew. You're looking for a chunky and smooth texture.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. To serve, portion the stew into bowls. Top with a dollop of the reserved coconut cream. Sprinkle with dill.



    • Emilie says

      Hello Karen! Welcome! I’m constantly thinking off new ways to utilize butternut squash. What I like in this recipe, is that you only need the neck part. You can save the bulb for something else. This Butternut Squash is one of my favorites. Plus, there’s some bonus recipes in that post as well. Do you freeze your squash? That’s always a good idea. Soups, risottos, muffins- so many things to make :)

  1. says

    I agree that the process of preparing wholesome food can feel exhausting at times (my secret fantasy is to have a personal chef – I’m not going to lie about it ;-) can you imagine someone making food to spec à la Oprah? yup, my rock ‘n roll fantasy. This looks beautiful Emilie – warming, simple, delicious. Love me a bowl of slop any day. Yay for fennel and the dill, a perfect touch. Happy New Year :)

    • Emilie says

      I just had this same conversation with my mom the other day…

      Often times there’s so much prep work involved when dealing with vegetarian food. Peeling, soaking, chopping- it’s not like throwing chicken on the grill to have with salad. But on the flip side, you don’t have to sanitize your sink or deal with any gross meat juices (sorry, bad word). And usually, a veggie meal will feed a crowd at a lesser price. So, you know…

      But a private chef doesn’t sound all that bad either! ;)

  2. says

    LOL! Slop! Yes, I get it! My proverbial morning chocolate green smoothie is lovingly known as sludge! HAha!!

    Fabulous recipe, Emilie and so beautifully photographed. Thank you for the tip about rice.. I never thought about using it to thicken a soup. After-all it is a starch, like flour so I can see how it would work. I have some heirloom beans from a farm down the road and now I know another way to enjoy them! Thanks Emilie!

    • Emilie says

      Hooray for sludge & slop! I guess we’re on the same wavelength ;)

      The rice tip is great. Obviously, I could’ve pureed some beans to achieve thickness, however the random flecks of rice really adds a nice texture (well, as nice as ‘slop’ can get…). It’s somewhere between a soup and stew. Very comforting.

      And aren’t heirloom beans so pretty? I’m on kick with this whole concept and I’m just loving the variety. A new market opened up near by and they have the greatest products. So inspiring ;)

    • Emilie says

      Hello Katrina! Thank you! It’s super filling and packed with all good things. I’m still working through this last batch!

  3. says

    Haha, I like the word ‘slop’! It’s something that reminds me of feeding cattle or swine (I have a friend who is a farmer and uses the word often!) but looking at your pictures? Absolutely mouthwatering! I definitely get the convenience aspect of one-pot, bulk meals too. Great for busy periods in life (like the just-finished festive season, yikes!).
    Happy new year lovely! Hope that this one will be a great one for you. As soon as the weather cools I will be making this gorgeous stew xxx

    • Emilie says

      Laura! Happy New Year lovely! How is summer treating you? So jealous ;)

      I almost died reading your comment about the cows. Makes total sense! See? Even the animals need their bulk meals. Except, you’ll never catch me eating out of a trough.

      Can’t wait to catch up with you soon. I’ve been meaning to pop over. xo

  4. says

    i’ve been so into dill lately. dill in all sorts of unexpected places. i love seeing it here. bean stews are the best. the squash + tomato + coconut combination sounds so so good. i like the way you soup. happy new year!

    • Emilie says

      Dill rules. And to think it’s only for cucumber salads! I still have some leftover that I need to use up. The whole kitsch smells like it when I open the fridge. All I can think about are pickles now too ;)

  5. says

    First of all, “brownie corners,” hahaha! I get the appeal of those :) Second, this looks totally delicious. If this is slop, it is the classiest slop I have ever seen! I could eat this any night and be totally content!

    • Emilie says

      Oh, yes it’s a great combo. The texture of both can be somewhat similar especially in a soup/stew, so it’s good to introduce another texture to balance it out (hence the rice in this dish). Other than that, it just works! Thanks Laney! xo

  6. says

    See, I would happily eat that! And how beautiful are those dried beans! I make a big vat of pasta and lentil stew with bacon bones for flavouring. My boys have grown up on it and eat huge bowlfuls, but my son’s girlfriend refers to it as “gruel”… :)

    • Emilie says

      See? Everyone has a slop. I’m convinced of it now. I grew up eating lentils in all forms. Your ‘gruel’ sounds right up my alley! xo

  7. says

    Emilie, oh my, what a stew!

    Can’t wait to make this, perfect on a cold January evening – especially since a handsome butternut squash is sitting in my kitchen :0)

    Thank you for an inspiration x

    • Emilie says

      Welcome Ania! I totally agree- I’m staring at snow right now. Freezing. Dreaming of spring (or an island). Nothing like curling up to a big bowl of warming stew! I hope you enjoy the recipe :)

  8. Natasha says

    This recipe sounds wonderful. I wonder if ithey would turn out if I tried in the crock pot? Possibly adding some vegetable broth to cover all ingredients?

  9. Rachel says

    I can just see someone running up and down the bean aisle looking for the bag that says “heirloom beans” LOL … Since there are so many beans to choose from, which ones did you use??

  10. Angela says

    Hi! Could you tell me what sizes the cans of tomato paste and coconut cream are that you’re using? Our coconut cream can is 5.4 oz (160 ml). Tomato paste is 6 oz (170 g).

    I didn’t realize until well into making this recipe, that if you are able to reserve 1/3 cup coconut cream out of the can and still have something to put into the pot, your cans are probably larger than ours.


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