From Italy, zuppa di fagioli is often overlooked in favour of its more illustrious cousin, minestrone. This peasant soup, however, is full of flavour and can be vegetarian or not, depending on your preference.
2 - 14 oz (400 g) cans low-sodium cannellini beans
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek (white and light green parts), cleaned and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 lbs (1 kg) spinach, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 cups (1 L) homemade or low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Put 1 can of beans with its liquid in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Drain other can, rinsing and reserving beans, and discarding liquid.
Heat oil in large heavy-bottom pan over medium heat; add leek, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until soft. Add celery, carrot, spinach, and tomato; cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach has wilted.
Stir puréed beans and stock into vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add drained beans and stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve in warm bowls, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Each serving contains: 335 calories; 20 g protein; 6 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 53 g carbohydrates (5 g sugars, 12 g fibre); 206 mg sodium
Low in sodium, tomatoes are a great source of several vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of fibre. They contain vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, as well as vitamins A and K. Tomatoes also provide lycopene, which helps fight free radicals, lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease, and helps with age-related vision problems.
source: "International Soups", alive #360, October 2012
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