Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Bean Soup

Consider this for Meatless Mondays:
Even though the days are getting warmer, I still crave a good soup from time to time - just not one that's as heavy as my cold-weather favorites.  My Spring Bean Soup combines the creaminess of navy beans with some spring staples like carrots and spinach, creating a fresh, light satisfying main dish.  I came up with this soup recipe during a one-on-one cooking class that lasted barely over an hour.  During this time we prepared the soup, assembled a yummy Southwestern-style quinoa salad and sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labors.

1 Tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 large onion, coarsely diced
4 cloves garlic, thin sliced
2 stalks of celery, including leaves, diced
2 large carrots, sliced or diced
3 cups (or two cans WELL RINSED) cooked navy beans, well drained
1 cup dry white wine (or vegetable broth)
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp salt (better to use less and let everyone season their own bowl if necessary)
8 oz fresh spinach leaves

In large stockpot, saute onion in oil for about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, celery and carrots to pot and continue to saute for another 3 minutes.
Add beans, liquid and seasoning except for salt to pot, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Just before serving, remove bay leaves from soup, add salt and spinach, stirring to allow soup to wilt spinach leaves.  Place lid on pan and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Serve.  Makes 4 large servings.  For a fancy garnish, top with a little shredded or thin-sliced hard cheese (like parmesan).

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