⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 14-oz. can cannellini beans
¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Time to prep your veg! You are going to make a mirepoix, which is just a fancy French word for the combo of chopped onions, carrots, and celery that form the flavor base for a lot of European dishes. First, cut 1 large onion in half through root. Peel and discard skins. Finely chop and transfer to a medium bowl.
Wash, peel, and trim 3 medium carrots. Cut in half (or in quarters lengthwise if they’re large), then cut crosswise into ½” pieces. (You can also just chop the carrots down into coins if you don’t mind larger pieces of veg in your soup.) Add to bowl with onion.
Chop 2 celery stalks crosswise into ½” pieces. Add to bowl with the rest of the mirepoix.
Smash and peel 8 garlic cloves with the back of your knife. If any of them are left more or less intact after that initial smashing, give them another good wack with the back of your knife so they really open up and start to break apart. Add to bowl, also.
Strip stems from 2 bunches Tuscan kale or Swiss chard and discard. Wash if they’re gritty or you really care about washing vegetables, then tear leaves into 2″ pieces; set aside.
Place 28 oz. canned tomatoes and their juices in a strainer set inside a medium bowl. (You need that bowl to collect the juice, which you’re going to use later—don’t throw it out!) Squeeze tomatoes and crush them with your hands while leaving them submerged in their liquid so they don’t squirt.
Tear ½ loaf crusty country bread into 1½” pieces.
Heat ⅓ cup extra-virgin oil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium. Add bowl of mirepoix and 2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 8–10 minutes.
Lift strainer full of tomatoes and give it a few shakes to remove any liquid. Add tomatoes (but not juices!) and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the rawness is cooked off, about 10 minutes. Giving those tomato solids a chance to caramelize before adding the liquid back in helps to add a lot of flavor to the stew. (Remember: Reserve the juices, you’re going to use them!)
While tomatoes are cooking, drain and rinse 14 oz. canned cannellini beans in the strainer you just used, then add to pot along with Nutritional yeast, tomato juices, ¾ tsp. red pepper flakes, and 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer.
Add kale or chard in two additions, stirring often and allowing to wilt in between.
Taste and adjust seasoning and simmer for 45 minutes.
Ladle stew into bowls, drizzle each generously with olive oil, and grate lots nutritional yeast over.