Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bean and Vegetable Soup

Soup is the perfect winter comfort food!  It warms you up, it’s inexpensive, low in fat and calories, and simple to make.  We been a little “under the weather” with colds this weekend, so tonight I made some soup.  Soup always makes me feel better when I’m sick.  This basic bean and vegetable soup is so easy to make, there is no reason to ever buy canned soup.  This recipe is very flexible, on purpose, because it allows you to use up the leftovers you have in your refrigerator.  Another excellent benefit.
You begin with your base vegetables:  onions, garlic, celery and/or mushrooms and some oil.  Use whatever you have lying around.  I had half an onion and some garlic, so that’s what I used.

Saute the starter vegetables in some oil, you can use olive, vegetable or seed oil or a butter substitute.
Next I added 4 cups of vegetable broth.   You can use whatever brand is your favorite, I always have a carton or two in my pantry for just this occasion.  Then, you add a cup of whatever beans you have on hand.  I used some left over garbanzo beans that I’d cooked for my orange quinoa salad.  Next, add some vegetables, I used the carrot I found in the bottom of my vegetable bin and a couple of cups of kale.  You could use spinach or chard in this soup, any leafy green will work well.
Lastly, I added a half cup of pasta sauce.  I used pasta sauce because I had an open jar in my refrigerator.  You could easily use tomato puree or fresh tomatoes that you puree in your blender or processor.  Because the pasta sauce is seasoned, I didn’t need to add any other seasonings.  If you use tomato puree, you may want to add a little bit of your favorite herbs, like basil or oregano to this soup.  You really shouldn’t have to add any salt because most prepared broths have plenty.
The idea here is to be creative, use up those leftovers and make a pot of belly warming soup.
Bean & Vegetable Soup
2-4 Servings - Use organic ingredients whenever possible
1 tablespoon oil (whatever you have on hand)
1/2 onion (red, yellow or white) chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (or whatever you have on hand)
1 carrot chopped in small rounds (and/or celery if you have it) 
2 cups kale (chard or spinach) large stems removed.
1/2 cup pasta sauce (or pureed tomatoes)
Warm the oil in a large pot over a medium low heat.
Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the broth, pasta sauce, beans, carrot and kale.
Simmer on low for 20-30 minutes, until the carrot is tender.
Adjust seasoning if needed.

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