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A&E >  Food

This black bean and pumpkin stew is hearty, pantry-friendly and ready in 20 minutes

This black bean and pumpkin stew is hearty, pantry-friendly and ready in 20 minutes.  (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
This black bean and pumpkin stew is hearty, pantry-friendly and ready in 20 minutes. (Scott Suchman/For the Washington Post)
By Aaron Hutcherson Washington Post

As we barrel toward the end of the year, a crisp chill has entered the air where I live. The drop in temperature makes me want to don my comfiest sweatpants, curl up on the couch – or pull up the chair to the dining table if you’re a more civilized person – and enjoy a bowl of something warm and comforting.

Enter this black bean and pumpkin stew.

This recipe starts by toasting whole coriander and cumin seeds along with orzo in olive oil until the pasta is browned and nutty. (Any short pasta will work in this recipe, or you can omit it to make the stew gluten-free.) The whole spices add delightful bursts of flavor and texture when you bite into them for a welcome surprise.

Canned pumpkin puree – ’tis the season! – gives the stew plenty of body. The pasta helps thicken it a bit, too. The texture is what designates this recipe as a stew as opposed to a soup for me, but feel free to add more stock if you prefer a thinner consistency. Lastly, canned black beans add earthy protein and extra heft, though any bean can work in their place.

An added bonus: This flavorful vegan stew is completed in just 20 minutes and is made from pantry ingredients, so you can just reach into your cupboards instead of braving the cold to head to the grocery store.

Serve it drizzled with a fruity olive oil on top and some croutons, either homemade or store-bought, for a little bit of crunch and extra flavor.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Stew With Pasta

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

½ cup orzo or another short pasta

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper, plus more to taste

4 cups (1 quart) unsalted or low-sodium vegetable stock

Two (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

One (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

Homemade or store-bought croutons, for serving

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the pasta, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper and cook, stirring regularly, until fragrant and toasted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and increase the heat to bring it to a boil. Stir in the black beans and pumpkin puree, decrease the heat so the liquid is at a simmer, and cook until the pasta is al dente, 7 to 9 minutes.

Taste and season with more salt and/or pepper if needed. Ladle into bowls and serve warm drizzled with olive oil and a few croutons scattered on top.

Yield: 4 servings (about 6 cups)

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