Slow-Cooker Vegetable Stew
Fresh Garlic Croutons
Place tomatoes and their juice in a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker and crush them with your hands or a potato masher. Add cannellini beans, frozen beans, potatoes, onion, oregano, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Stir in broth and cover. Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.Advertisement
To prepare croutons: About 30 minutes before serving, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mash chopped garlic into a paste with a fork or the side of a chef's knife. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons oil and Italian seasoning. Add bread and toss to coat. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Just before serving, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring, until just golden, about 1 minute. Stir the garlic and oil into the slow cooker. Divide the stew among 6 bowls and top with the croutons. Serve with more crushed red pepper and Parmesan, if desired.
Tip: Long, flat Italian (Romano) beans range in color from green to purple--or even speckled. Find them at farmers' markets from summer through fall. You can also pick them up in the frozen aisle. They're from the same family as garden-variety green beans and have a similar grassy flavor, but are more substantial and meaty.
To make ahead: Refrigerate the stew (Step 1) for up to 2 days.
Equipment: 4- to 7-qt. slow cooker
3 1/2 starch, 1 1/2 fat, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 lean protein