Monday, March 5, 2012

Beans! Beans! They Make A Great Soup!

I love soups! They are as easy as throwing whatever you like in a pot and adding broth! Now that the weather is warming up, a minestrone style soup like this one feels great as the evening cools off.

This recipe makes quite a few servings (I’m not quite sure how many yet, we’ve only had three bowls, but we’ve hardly made a dent!), so it’s great to make on the weekend and revisit during the week when you are busy.

1 cup navy beans
1 cup pinto beans
6-8 cups water (6-8 cups more for bean prep)
6 cups vegetable broth
5 small carrots, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup mini pasta (I used macaroni, but anything small works great)
1 ½ cup spinach (if it’s not in season, just use frozen)
fresh basil, to taste
parmesan, grated (optional)

Prep your beans. I prefer dry beans, because I can control the amount of sodium in the dish and they lack preservatives. Quick soak both bean types together in 6-8 cups of water. Boil for 2 min, and then set aside covered for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Boil beans in 6-8 cups of water for 1 ½ - 2 hours.

Meanwhile, dice carrots and onion. When there are about 15 minutes left before the beans are done, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add garlic and bay leaf and cook for one minute. Throw in onions, carrots, and salt and pepper to taste. Then sauté until they develop a nice brown color, which is why we are cooking them separately to begin with.

Mix veggies and broth into beans. With seven minutes left stir in pasta. In the last minute, stir in spinach until wilted. Serve and top with basil and parmesan (optional).

Easy right? Enjoy!

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