Winter Tuscan Bean Soup

Nothing hits the spot on a wintery day like a delicious bowl of vegetable soup. I like to make my soups low in fat and salt yet full of flavor. To make this soup vegan, omit the parmesan rind and cheese for sprinkling. 

Serve with a salad and fresh homemade bread for a wonderful lunch or light dinner. And did I mention how easy the soup is to make? And this soup freezes well, so you’ll have wonderful soup ready whenever you feel like soup to take off the winter chill. 

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)

2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)

2 leeks, chopped, white part only

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 14.5 -ounce cans of diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glen Organic

2 boxes unsalted vegetable stock, preferably Kitchen Basics

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups chopped kale, stems removed

1 2-inch piece of parmesan cheese rind (optional)

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, bay leaf,  kale, parmesan rind, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve large shallow bowls of soup with a bruschetta on top. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and serve hot. 

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