Bean soup always takes a little while due to the overnight soaking (the 1- or 2-hour “quick soak in hot water method seems to curse the results somehow, so I avoid it). However, this one’s worth it. A nice soup mix in smaller beans / peas / lentils makes it hearty but not too beany, and the carrot and tomato brighten it up. Plus, it’s got spinach in it and manages to pull that off without reminding you of grand-maman’s cabbage soup.
- Timing: Count on an overnight soak, 8-20 min prep (depending on how snazzy you are with chopping stuff), then just under 2 hours of “sit and wait while it cooks” time.
- Results: 10 servings. Very filling. Low calorie (roughly 200 calories per serving)
Summer Italian Soup with 16-Bean Soup Mix, Tomatoes, Carrot, Parsnip, and Leftover “Steak”
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp hot chili oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced (or chopped then smashed)
- 4 carrots, sliced pretty thin & diced
- 1 medium parsnip, handled just like the carrots
- 1 container Low Sodium Vegetable Broth + 4 c water (or 8 c water and 2-4 vegetable bouillon cubes)
- 1/4 c lentils
- 1 (28 ounce) can or 2 1/2 c diced tomatoes (italian seasoning or plain)
- 1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed out and squeezed of water
- 1 tsp ground red pepper (seems like a lot, but the beans handle it)
- 2 tsp dried oregano, or 1 1/2 loose Tbsp fresh
- 1 c dry lentils, sorted and rinsed (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dried basil
- 1/2 to 1/3 c Fry’s Vegan Steak Strips (or leftover cooked meatballs or other lean beefish item), thawed and chopped to 1/2″ cubes
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)
Soak beans (1 night):
- Sort (to remove stones / sand) beans, rinse, and then in a large bowl soak (overnight – you can also soak them in HOT water for about 2 hours but the overnight is better).
Before you turn the heat on (~10min):
- Set the spinach out in the sun or in someplace else it can thaw (or microwave it – see note below)
- Drain the beans. While you chop things, let them sit with the vegetable broth in their bowl.
- Chop the carrot & parsnip and set aside; chop & smash the garlic.
Deal with the carroty stuff (~10min):
- In a stock pot on medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until the onion starts to turn translucent on the edges; dump in the carrot and parsnip and toss around for about another 5min.
- Add in soaked beans, vegetable broth, and water.
Cook beans (1.5 to 2 hours):
- Bring to a boil, then lower heat when beans are ABOVE a simmer (at a “good boil” but not rolling).
- Cook, covered, for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Add & cook other ingredients (~20min):
- When beans are just about done, add in tomatoes, spinach, red pepper, oregano, basil, steak strips & optional lentils (if necessary, chop can tomatoes with kitchen scissors or spoon before mixing)
- Cook 20 min more or until all bean items are done
- Add salt, lemon, & additional red pepper to taste
Tips & Notes:
- Thawing spinach: put in cardboard, in bowl in microwave and cook on 4% power for 2-4 minutes. Squeeze spinach in cardboard so water goes into same bowl (you can use water for part of broth water if you feel like maximizing your nutrient intake here)
- Oregano: if you don’t do the chili oil and go easy on the pepper, you can bump this up to 2 tsp dry / up to 2 Tbsp fresh
- Serving: Plain water crackers are awesome crumbled up in this
- Based on this recipe