Cooking

Tuscan Bean Soup

I made the BEST soup this weekend! I got the recipe from a Reader’s Digest cookbook I’ve had for awhile and rarely use. It’s actually the owner of my ill-fated broccoli cheese soup recipe (see my post on Cheese Fondue). Ever since then I’ve sort of shunned it to the bottom of my cookbook pile. But the soup I made this weekend turned out wonderful and I really wanted to share it with everyone:

Tuscan Bean Soup
6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz each) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes in puree
½ cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 can (15.5 oz) red kidney beans
1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large nonstick Dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute onions, carrots and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook 10 minutes

Drain and rinse kidney beans, cannellini beans and chickpeas. Stir into soup. Cook until flavors develop, about 10 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Very coarsely puree about ¼ of soup using an immersion blender. Or transfer 2 cups soup to food processor, very coarsely puree, and return to pot. Serve 2 cups of soup per person topped with 1 tablespoon Parmesan.

My Substitutions: I used my leftover carrots and celery from making vegetable stock last weekend and I only used one onion instead of two. I didn’t measure my olive oil, just did a couple swirls around the pot Rachel Ray style. I used 4 cups of my homemade vegetable stock instead of the chicken broth. I used 2 teaspoons dried basil instead of fresh. I also used Parm cheese out of the can instead of freshly grated.

I’ve also just realized as I am writing this that I never did the last step of pureeing part of the soup. Oops! Guess it doesn’t matter because it still tasted fantastic. So you can omit that part if you like.

This soup was so simple, quick and tasty. It also made a very large batch which I love because it means I can freeze the leftovers in individual servings and use for a yummy lunch or dinner whenever I need a quick meal. This soup is also good for you! It has tons of nutritious ingredients and was very hearty and filling. It would be great with some homemade bread or with a salad.

The Economics: I spent the following on ingredients, including what I had on hand.

Tomatoes – $0.88
Kidney beans – $0.44
Cannellini beans – $0.66
Chickpeas $0.75 (an estimate because I had these on hand)
Carrots – $0.39
Celery – $0.37
Onion – $0.74
Vegetable stock – $2.12
Olive oil, basil, oregano, Parm – de minimis cost
Total – $6.35
Per serving – $1.06

The cost analysis is good considering you can rarely find a good can of soup for $1 unless it is a super sale.

So is it worth it? Yep! This soup was so good that I don’t care what it costs to make. I can guarantee I will be making this soup a lot this fall and winter. Heck this may be a year-round recipe for me since I made it this weekend when it was 80 degrees F out.

By the way I’m so ready for it to get cooler out! Bring on the sweaters!

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