Cold, snowy days beg for the warmth of homemade soup! Why not eat healthier and save money by adding beans to your meals. This recipe blends creamy home-cooked navy beans with healthy, winter veggies like carrots, onion and leek. Beans are a good source of protein and an excellent source of fiber and folate. Research has shown that the lignans and saponins found in beans and legumes may help protect against certain cancers.
Tuscan White Bean Soup 1 cup dried navy beans Cold water, enough to cover beans 1 leek, white part only, cut into 1-inch pieces 3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped carrot, in 3/4-inch pieces 1/2 cup chopped celery, in 3/4-inch pieces 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, loosely packed 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth 2 cups water 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary Salt and freshly ground pepper
Place beans in deep pot and cover with cold water to 1-inch above beans. Bring water to boil and simmer, uncovered, for one minute. Off heat, cover and let beans sit for one hour. Drain beans.
In same pot, cover beans with cold water to two inches above beans. Over medium-high heat, bring just to a gentle boil. Cover pot partway so it does not boil over, and simmer beans until soft and creamy, 45-60 minutes. Set beans aside in cooking liquid until ready to use. Or, if not using within four hours, drain cooled beans and refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to four days.
In food processor, pulse leek, onion, carrot, celery and parsley until finely chopped and moist.
In medium Dutch oven or small soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped vegetables and cook, stirring, until they soften, five minutes. Cover tightly, reduce heat and gently cook vegetables until they let their juices, 10 minutes. Increase heat and cook vegetables until golden, eight minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add broth, two cups water and rosemary. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are very soft, 20 minutes. Off heat, use immersion blender to whirl soup until partly pureed, with some vegetables bits remaining.
Add two cups drained cooked beans to soup. Return pot to heat and cook until beans are heated through
Makes 6 servings.