I’m still trying my best to adhere to ‘Meatless Mondays,’ if only because it’s a thing and I like that it gives me an excuse to force-feed my husband beans, but lately many of the recipes I’ve been coming across are too ‘summery.’  A cold lentil salad here, fried garbanzo bean pitas there.  It’s freezing right now (the understatement of the century) and I wanted something hearty and warm!

Soup to the rescue!

Ellie Krieger’s Tuscan Vegetable Soup was super easy and features white beans as a thickener and a source of protein. It was flavorful and just the thing for a cold night.  The recipe calls for pureeing half the beans, but I suppose you could puree them all to ‘hide’ them from picky eaters.

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon 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 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup 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.

Nutritional Analysis:
Per Serving (6 Servings, 1.5 C each)
Calories  145
Total Fat  4 g
Saturated Fat  0.5 g
Protein  8 g
Total Carbohydrates  21 g
Sugar  5 g
Fiber  5 g
Cholesterol  0 mg
Sodium  306 mg



Holly R. Layer

Holly R. Layer

Holly is a registered dietician and a freelance writer. She works as a clinical dietitian at DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda, teaches fitness classes at the Southtowns Family Branch YMCA and shares her love of food through her blog www.thefrozenpineapple.com (new website coming soon), as well as Buffalo News (Refresh), and the East Aurora Co-op Market (the "Eat This" blog series you see here). She lives in East Aurora with her husband Andrew, an East Aurora native and East Aurora Co-op Market board member.