Normally, I wouldn’t be yearning for hot soup in late May. But yesterday, it was cool enough in Missouri that I needed to close the windows. This recipe is extremely easy and can be prepared and cooked within about 45 minutes. Good thing, as I had started late! As an added bonus, this soup is also vegan (minus the optional Parmesan cheese topping) and ready to serve to your friends who eat dairy-free, soy-free, and/or egg-free.
Italian Bean Soup
1/4 cup olive oil (or enough to sauté vegetables)
1 medium to large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced small
3 carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 cups cold water
1 cube vegetarian bouillon (check to be sure it is gluten-free; I like The Organic Gourmet™ Vegetable Bouillon—Low Sodium)
1 can (15 oz.) dark red kidney beans
1 can (15 oz.) great northern beans
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, at table (optional)
In a 4-5 quart pot, heat olive oil on low-medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté about 10 minutes, stirring often. Vegetables will soften but not brown. Add water, bouillon, both cans of beans (including the liquid), oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes, until carrots and celery are fork-tender. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 4 servings. Freezes well.
I enjoyed my bowl of Italian Bean Soup with onion rice crackers and edam cheese. Feel free to jazz up this soup with a cup of red wine substituted for one cup of water, or you can add more vegetables or adjust the spices. You’ll find that this easy, tasty, and nutritious soup will become a favorite.