Using chopped nuts to thicken and add nutrition to sauces and stews is common across many cuisines around the world. There are West African stews featuring ground peanuts, nutty Italian pesto sauces, and Indian dishes made creamy with ground cashews, to name a few.
In Georgia, (the country not the US state), many traditional dishes are enriched with ground walnuts, including lobio nigvzit, a stew in which chopped walnuts are simmered with beans, aromatic spices, herbs, and tart fruit juice and/or sauce. This recipe is my spin on that dish – it departs quite a bit from the traditional but captures its exciting core flavours in a bright, weeknight-friendly way.
Using canned kidney beans makes the stew ultrafast and convenient. Once rinsed and drained, the beans are simmered with toasted, chopped walnuts, sauteed onion and garlic, ground coriander, pomegranate juice and broth until the mixture is saucy and thickened but the beans and nuts retain their texture. (If you want the sauce a bit thicker you can mash some of the beans in the pot with a spoon, and if you want it looser you can add some more broth or water.)
A brightening splash of red wine vinegar, and chopped fresh parsley and cilantro are stirred in at the end, and the stew is served topped vibrantly with more herbs and a pop of juicy, sweet-tart pomegranate seeds.
It’s a colourful, filling meal layered with flavour and brimming with nutrients, a dish that feels both familiar and excitingly new at the same time, and it highlights one way of the many ways nuts can be used: not just as a crunchy garnish but as a key ingredient.
Kidney bean stew with walnuts, herbs and pomegranate
Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 3 to 4 (about 710ml)
This weeknight-friendly bean stew takes its flavour cues from the traditional Georgian dish, lobio nigvzit. In this spin, canned kidney beans and toasted, chopped walnuts are simmered in an aromatic, seasoned mixture of pomegranate juice and broth until thickened and saucy, then brightened with fresh herbs and a pop of juicy pomegranate seeds. It’s a colourful, filling dish layered with flavour and brimming with nutrients, and it feels both familiar and excitingly new at the same time.
50g raw walnut halves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
120 ml pomegranate juice
2 (430g) cans no-salt-added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
240ml low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
3/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
30g lightly packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for serving
10g lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more whole leaves for serving
2 tsp red wine vinegar
90g fresh pomegranate seeds
1. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool, then coarsely chop.
2. In a large (3800ml) saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
3. Add the pomegranate juice, increase the heat to high and cook until the juice is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Add the beans, walnuts, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid is reduced by about half and the mixture has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, cilantro and vinegar.
4. Serve garnished with the additional parsley and cilantro leaves and the pomegranate seeds.
Nutrition information per serving (180ml), based on 4 : Calories: 210; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 478 mg; Carbohydrates: 20 g; Dietary Fibre: 2 g; Sugar: 7 g; Protein: 11 g
This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.
How to store: Leftover stew can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.