White Bean, Rosemary + Parmesan Stew


Post by Anna

In my life, cheese has never really lasted long in the fridge. One time I actually got yelled at for spending too much time in the sample section at the cheese counter at the Berkeley Bowl, so I’m not really one to let it get to leftovers.

So what are we doing here talking about cheese?

In Seattle, one place comes to mind that knows cheese leftovers. Whenever I wander into Melrose Market, I always pay a visit to The Calf and the Kid; a bonafide, Pacific Northwest fromagerie where the cheese mongers wear cute aprons and drop vast amounts of knowledge and bad puns about cheese on slack-jawed customers. They do well to play into our deepest human desires for tiny things: their individually-wrapped, bite-sized hunks leftover from larger cheese wheels are perfect for an afternoon snack, or to just carry around in your pocket like a rosary.

DSC_0669Imagine my feelings when I learned from one of their staff, that you can actually make good use of the hard-as-rock rinds that end up in a mess of saran-wrap in my cheese drawer. In fact, rinds of sharp cheeses like Parmesan and Pecorino are so full of flavor, that they’re often sold at cheese shops separately for soups like Minestrone, Italian Wedding Soup, and whatever else you can dream up with these unbecoming little nuggets.

My plan: I snagged the rinds leftover from a special at The Joe Bar, then bought a container at the cheese counter for a clean $1.37. With about 16 oz. of parmesan rind at my disposal, I swiped a few springs from what should be a public rosemary bush near my house and had the complete makings of a stock — rosemary, lemon, garlic, white wine, and salty, earthy cheese. Adding white beans, tomatoes and quinoa made for a hearty stew — make sure your tupperware lids are secure, ya’ll.DSC_0516

Prep time: 15 min / Cook time: 40 minutes / Serves: 6


  • 8-12 oz. parmesan rinds*
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 8 oz. canned diced tomatoes (or 2-3 roma tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 12 oz. can white cannellini beans, rinsed and pat dry
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth (or water, use extra salt)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3-4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped (1/4 c. set aside for garnish)
  • handful fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup white wine or sherry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bay leaf    

*Set aside the rinds from your own hard cheeses — they will keep for weeks in the fridge — or ask any grocery cheese counter if they sell or give away theirs. Be that person!


  • Cook the quinoa per packaging instructions
  • Heat broth, tomatoes, 1 sprig rosemary, white wine, and bay leaf in large soup pot
  • Add rinds, simmer on low heat and cover (doing this ahead of time will allow for a more flavorful soup — the longer the rinds hang, the deeper the flavor)
  • Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in 2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper until translucent in deep sauce pan
  • Add beans, cook on high for 3-5 minutes, and allow to fry slightly
  • Add chopped parsley, remaining rosemary springs, and 1 tsp. lemon zest to pan, allowing flavors to marry for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • When ready to serve, remove parmesan rinds, bay leaf, and rosemary springs from both the broth and bean mixture, and combine in the large pot
  • Add pre-cooked quinoa (you can also cook dry quinoa in the mixture for 20-30 minutes for a heartier stew, pictured below)
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley, enjoyDSC_0525