Last week when it look like this outside:
I was so glad that I had planned a nice warm soup with crusty bread. Mmmmm, perfect snowy weather food. And this soup was even more perfect as it is chock full of vegetables. These vegetables, in fact!
Aren’t they beautiful?? Those rich colors of green and orange, mixed with the cream of the onion; almost too beautiful to eat! Almost.
The biggest temptation when it is cold and dreary outside is to bake some cookies, grab some candy and chips and sit on the sofa, waiting out the storm. My guess is that most people aren’t craving vegetables and wishing they would have picked up that head of lettuce at the store before it was impossible to drive. So this soup is a way to get in those vegetables in an appealing and delicious way. I know it sure helped me counteract some of those cookies I ate. 😉
I have highlighted beans before on my previous blog (here), so I wanted to focus on the carrots in this recipe. Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body and works on the eyes to improve vision, especially night vision. Beta-carotene has also been linked to a decrease in the chances for cancer and heart disease. Carrots do contain carbohydrates, but they are low on the glycemic index and have been shown to help regulate blood sugar. You can add them to a stew, shred them on a salad, eat them raw, or make a whole carrot salad out of them. Oh and did you know that baby carrots are just small, rounded pieces of regular carrots?
So protect your vision, heart and body by enjoying a carrot in this stew!
Tuscan Vegetable Soup
(From Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave” and Food Network.com)
- 1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp. dried sage
- 1/2 tsp. salt, with more to taste
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 32 oz. (4 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 2 c. chopped baby spinach leaves
- 1/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan, optional
In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more.
Serve topped with Parmesan, if desired. Serve with warm, whole grain bread. (my addition)
(These are special bowls that my mother-in-love gave to us. I have yet to make the recipes that are on the side – Tomato Soup, Chicken Soup and French Onion Soup – but I hope to soon! I just love these bowls.)