Mushroom & Bean Stew
120 Min

Mushroom & Bean Stew

Mushrooms, the fruiting body of fungi, has been around for over 4 billion years and are an essential part of our ecosystem. The documentary “Fantastic Fungi” explores the magical, mysterious and medicinal world of mushrooms and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to life on the planet.

For those of us who have resolved to eat fewer animals, mushrooms, with their meaty flavors, are a delicious alternative. They are also low in calories but high in fiber, proteins and antioxidants.

Try this stew using chestnut mushrooms and serve it with warm toasted sourdough bread. If you do not have garam masala — an aromatic finishing spice blend native to Indian cuisine — add a varying combination of ground cinnamon, cardamom, clove and nutmeg or mace.

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Cook Time

120 Minutes



Step 1
Soak the beans the day before. The next day, drain them, add fresh water and place over high heat.
Step 2
Bring them to boil in a stockpot. Discard the water, add 4 cups of fresh water and boil again. Lower the heat, cover the beans and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until the beans are tender. There should be roughly 1 to 2 cups of liquid remaining with the beans.
Step 3
Discard the roots of the mushrooms, finely mince the stems, and cut the heads into 1 to 2-inch pieces.
Step 4
In a medium-sized sauté pan over high heat, warm the olive oil and pop the cumin seeds. Immediately, add the onions and mushroom stems and braise on high heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Lower the heat and continue cooking until the onions and mushrooms are golden brown, stirring frequently.
Step 5
Add the garlic, mushroom heads, chile powder, black pepper, coconut milk, ginger, and salt. Add this mixture to the stockpot, then add another cup of water to the mixture, if needed and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the stockpot and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. The fat should have risen to the top. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water.
Step 6
Add the garam masala, turn the heat off and let the stew rest for 15 to 20 minutes. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Spoon the stew into large serving bowls and serve the garnishes table-side. 


1 cup white beans

1 pound chestnut (or portabella or cremini) mushrooms

1/4 cup olive oil plus more for drizzling on top

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup minced onions

8 to 10 garlic cloves, sliced

1 teaspoon red chile powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons unpeeled grated ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon garam masala


A handful of fragrant herbs such as cilantro, mint, or rosemary

2 sliced avocados

1 lime or lemon

4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Notes & Variations

  • Use garbanzo or red beans instead of white beans.
  • If you live in Houston, try the chestnut mushrooms from Flying Saucer Farm at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
  • For a heartier version, add 4 cups of chopped spinach or kale leaves at the end of cooking.
120 Min

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