Posts Tagged ‘bean soup’

Our friend, Romaine Hart–a wise counsellor–was adamant last night that we were not getting enough PROTEIN!

Our tales of how long it’s taking to shake off the virus that has been a companion (on and off) for nearly three weeks was all the proof she needed.

So we agreed that a couple of lamb chops for lunch today would be a step in the right direction.

Vegetable soups–all very well, but they need backing-up!

We are eating meat less frequently now.

This is reflected in the meat section of my new book,  Healthy Eating for Life (to be published January 8th–my birthday!).

I awake this morning intending to visit Lautrec’s Friday market, pick up some lamb chops from the local butcher and see what’s up. 

It’s a chilly, grey November day and I light the fire.

My determination wavers and I start to think, “Maybe chops tomorrow–how about a heartwarming vegetable soup?”.

Then I remember this soup from my first book–and rationalize: White beans are a good protein source!

I picture it steaming in a bowl with a swirl of the new, green olive oil and thoughts of driving to Lautrec disappear in the mist!


for 4

1 clove of garlic – peeled and chopped

8 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp parsley – chopped
1 kg/36 oz canned or–preferably–bottled white beans – drained and rinsed

salt and pepper

250 ml/1⁄2 pint/1 cup vegetable stock

toasted wholewheat bread with a little olive oil

for 4

Sauté the garlic in the oil gently until it colours.

Add the parsley and stir a couple of times.

Mix in the beans, salt and pepper.


Cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes to warm through.


Purée a quarter of the beans in a mixer and return with the stock to the pan.


Simmer for another 5 minutes.


Check the seasoning.

Serve over the toast with a swirl of olive oil in each bowl.

Optional: Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top before serving.

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Another bean soup–can’t have too many in my opinion!

Interior insulation for the post prandial walk on a chilly winter day.

This satisfying soup is based on one in Elizabeth Romer’s lovely book, The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Family.

Her account of the Cerroti family’s daily existence is a good read and full of authentic seasonal recipes.

Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil

2 onions – chopped small

2 sticks of celery – chopped small

3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

100 g/4 oz smoked bacon/pancetta – use unsmoked if you prefer – chopped small

4 tbsp parsley – chopped

1 x 450 g/16 oz can tomatoes – drained and chopped

350 g/12 oz tinned/jarred white beans – drained, rinsed and puréed–use the best quality beans you can find–it makes a difference

570 ml/1 pint/ vegetable stock – more if you like (I use organic veg. stock cubes)

150 g/6 oz “short” wholewheat pasta – (i.e. penne or farfalle, not spaghetti)

salt and pepper

freshly-grated parmesan

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the onions, celery, garlic, bacon and parsley, and turn them in the oil.
  • Cook them over a gentle heat until the vegetables are tender and the bacon is colouring up – this is the “taste engine” of the soup and needs some time – at least 20 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and mix them in and allow to meld for a good 10 minutes.
  • Add the beans and mix in.
  • Cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • These stages are important for a good depth of flavour and shouldn’t be rushed.
  • The soup should look beautiful now – with a warm glow.
  • Add half the stock and let it meld in.
  • Add the pasta and the rest of the stock and cook the pasta in the soup.
  • It may take a little longer than pasta normally does (I put a lid on at this point to help).
  • Be careful that this thick and unctuous soup does not stick and burn.
  • If you prefer it looser, add more stock and cook on a little to incorporate it.
  • Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste –remembering that the bacon and stock can be salty.
  • Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and swirls of olive oil.

(This nourishing soup is included in my cookbook–Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–a Mediterranean Way of Eating.)

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