Easy Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe

The best bean soups have a lived-in quality, as if they have been simmering on the back burner for hours, just waiting for you.  This soup comes very close with only a little bit of effort and time on your part.  Enjoy!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENT LIST

• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 2 medium carrots, thickly sliced

• 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

• 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

• 3 sprigs fresh oregano

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• Black pepper, to taste

• 2 (15 -ounce) cans cannellini beans or other small white beans, drained and rinsed

• 5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

• 4 cups baby kale or baby spinach, stems removed if tough

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, for garnish

• Olive oil, to serve

• Extra grated Parmesan, to serve

METHOD

  1. Cook the vegetables.  In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, fresh oregano sprigs, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until the vegetables look softened and the onions turn translucent.
  2. Prepare the beans. On a plate, mash 1/2 cup of the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the vegetables in the pot. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Simmer the soup.  Add the remaining beans to the pot and stir well. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover with the lid placed askew, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the liquid is flavorful.
  4. Discard the oregano sprigs.  The leaves will have fallen into the soup. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While the soup simmers, make the parmesan toasts.  Toast the bread until lightly golden on both sides. While the toast is still hot from the toaster, sprinkle with olive oil and cheese. If you have a toaster oven, return them to the toaster for 1 minute to melt the cheese.  Otherwise, arrange the toasts in a skillet over medium heat, cover, and warm for about 1 minute or until the cheese has melted.
  6. Add the greens to the soup.  Add the kale or spinach to the pot and simmering for another 2 minutes, or just until the greens wilt.
  7. Serve the soup.  Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with oregano and more olive oil, if you like.  Serve with Parmesan toasts and extra Parmesan for sprinkling.
Richard Aerni handmade pottery soup tureen and bowls

For the parmesan toasts:

• 1/2 baguette, thinly sliced

• Olive oil

• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Instead of the parmesan toast:

You could make grilled cheese sandwiches with an artisan cheese – Prima Donna, A Vermont Cheddar, or other favorite flavor.  Maybe combine them.

Notes:

When you start this soup, sauté vegetables first to give the soup lots of flavor. Let carrots, onion, and celery cook with sprigs of oregano, then stir in the beans and chicken stock.

To make sure your soup has that appealing “simmered all day” quality when using canned beans, just mash some of the beans before they go into the pot. This will give your soup the slightly distressed texture that a good bean soup should have.

Simmer the soup briefly, then add baby kale or spinach for their pretty green color and texture. Sprinkle the bowls with olive oil and more Parmesan. You’re done in less than half an hour, but your soup will taste like an afternoon’s effort.

A Change Up: A good base for a Tuscan soup. I added a cup of diced tomatoes, dried thyme, crushed pepper, and deglazed the pan with a little white wine after sautéing veggies.

The best bean soups have a lived-in quality, as if they have been simmering on the back burner for hours, just waiting for you.  You can achieve this by cooking the dried beans from scratch, or course. Or you can skip the long simmer and cook them in the pressure cooker, or just pop open a can!

Bean soups have the distinct advantage of tasting terrific either way. This Tuscan White Bean soup uses canned beans to make a 30-minute meal that tastes like it took all day.

If eating gluten-free, use gluten-free bread for the Parmesan toasts, or replace the toasts with another gluten-free side dish.

(This recipe is from simplyrecipes.com.)

How about new handmade bowls?  

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