Meatless Meals: Tuscan white bean soup – Jerusalem style

Well, actually at the polite request of a popular blogger, here is the Tuscan white bean soup I made the other night. It was delicious. This version is vegan (though I am not) but I’ll show  variations at the end. It is quick, easy, and I found it delicious. Prep time, 10 or 15 minutes; cooking time, an hour. “Jerusalem style” does not refer to local cuisine this time; it means without the canned and packaged ingredients you can get it in places like North America and Europe. This quantity made two bowls of creamy, delicious soup.

Soak 1/2 cup of dry white beans overnight. The next day, pick out the yuckies and rinse well once or twice. Drain.

Chop 1 small onion and cook in 1 tbsp of olive oil until soft. Add one large or two medium cloves of garlic, chopped finely, and continue to cook. Dice 2 carrots and slice 1  or 2 stalks of celery. Add the vegetables to the onion and garlic and cook until everything is soft.

Add 1 liter of vegetable broth and mix in the soaked, rinsed, drained beans. Bring to a boil. Add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp of dry. Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for one hour.

Make sure the beans are fully cooked, but they should be done after an hour. Remove half the soup and spin it in the blender to puree the beans and vegetables. Return the puree mixture to the pot. Bring to the boil one more time, then serve hot.

Basic Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry white beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 carrots, diced
1 or 2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
1 liter vegetable broth
Rosemary (2 sprigs fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dry)
Salt, coarsely ground black pepper
Soak, rinse and drain the beans. Saute the onion until soft, then add the garlic. Add carrots and celery once the garlic is soft. Add the broth and the beans and bring to the boil. Add the rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Remove half the quantity and puree it, then return to the pot and mix. Bring to the boil one more time and serve.

A nice serving suggestion for non-vegans is to ladle into bowls, then brush olive oil on the soup and top with grated parmigiana cheese.

Variations include adding tomatoes and/or kale to the soup. Meat eaters can try adding diced smoked meat to the soup or using chicken broth instead of vegetable.

Now it’s your turn – what winter soups do you like? Let’s keep warm together!

10 thoughts on “Meatless Meals: Tuscan white bean soup – Jerusalem style

  1. Love this! Thanks for the recipe! I’ll try to make one of these cold days.
    But what is vegetable broth? How do you make it? Or do you buy it canned?

    My favorite winter soup is lentil soup. Actually, any kind of hot soup in these cold days is a favorite to me :))

    • Mmm, I like lentil soup, too. Maybe I’ll make some tonight. It’s pretty cold here, so I guess it is over there, too. I make it with green lentils, onions and carrots, sometimes potatos. How do you do it?

      Vegetable broth is just the liquid from bouillion de légumes. I like to make a quantity and then freeze some for later use. I chop an onion, 2 carrots and a potato, add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, a couple of bay leaves and salt and pepper. Put in about 8 liters of water and bring to a boil and then simmer covered for an hour or so. Seive out the vegetables and use them for something else. The remaining liquid is your broth.

      • It IS cold in here. It even SNOWED last week! (if you’re interested, I can show you a few pics). Unfortunately, I was “hiding” at home (it was a Friday),so I didn’t get to see that snow, and it wasn’t that much anyway, so it melted before I got to seeit.
        Back to food: I don’t know which type you call “green lentils”, here we have yellow (the orange one) and black. Both are fine with me, but the soup is done with the yellow one. My mom only adds onions, and sometimes carrots. I’d like to try doing it myself one day, and I think I may add the potatos and maybe one little tomatoe.
        Thanks for the vegetable broth idea. I’ll try to make that one too.🙂
        Keep yourself very warm, ok? :-*

      • I’d love to see pictures of the snow!

        This is so funny. I’ll ask Im Ayam on Monday, but I think the lentils you call black, we call green and the ones you call yellow, we call red. The red/yellow lentils make a lovely thick soup, but I don’t have any at home, but I’m going to get some. Thanks for reminding me. (Green lentil soup simmering on the fire at this very minute.) You’d add a tomato to lentil soup? Hmmm. Never thought of that…

  2. Awww…thanks for calling me a “popular blogger”. And thanks for the recipe. I may need to make a trip to my favourite bulk food store today to buy some dry beans.

    As for my favourite soup, it’s probably my Mom’s homemade chicken noodle, which I have never successfully replicated. Of the soups that I make, I love both sweet potato and tortilla soup, which I posted about a while ago (http://www.solitarydiner.blogspot.com/2011/11/soup-duo.html).

    • My pleasure.🙂

      You have to go to the bulk food store for dried beans? You can’t get them in 500g or kilo bags in the supermarket? Gosh. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in North America – things have really changed!

  3. That’s pretty close to what we call “butter bean soup”.
    Chop and fry an onion until clear/soft – in butter if you like it, else in oil of your choice.
    Chuck in a 400g can of butter beans – liquid and all.
    Add 250ml veggie stock/broth – I make it from a stock cube.
    Blitz.
    Add liquid, or milk, or cream, whatever seems appropriate.
    Season and serve.
    Optional garlic at step #1.
    Great as it is for family.
    Seive for visitors and add a swirl of cream. They’ll never know it only took a few minutes to make.

    • Hi, Pooky! So nice to see you here.

      That sounds delicious – but it’s a different bean. Butter beans are what we call “lima beans” (Phaseolus lunatus), broad and flat. This soup uses white “navy beans” or “pea beans” (Phaseolus vulgaris), which are small and hard and have a different sort of flavor.

      Auntie Wiki says: The small, white navy bean, also called pea bean or haricot, is particularly popular in the United Kingdom and the US, featured in such dishes as baked beans and even pies, as well as in various soups such as Senate bean soup.[15] Consumption of baked beans has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.[16][17] This might be at least partly explained by high saponin content of navy bean. Saponins also exhibit antibacterial and anti-fungal activity, and have been found to inhibit cancer cell growth.[18] Furthermore, navy bean is the richest source of ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid among the common bean varieties.[19]

      I don’t think I can get your kind of beans of here. I’ll have to take look around. The soup looks really good!

  4. We’re not vegan either, but I like this, and I usually have all of the ingredients in the house even if I haven’t shopped in a while. You warm climate folks can use fresh tomatoes and artichokes; adjust liquids and seasonings as needed to suit to your taste.

    Lebanese Vegetable Soup
    1 large onion, chopped; 1 T olive oil; 3 carrots, chopped; 1/8 t cayenne; 1 t coriander; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 1/2 c diced potatoes; 1 t salt; 2 to 3 c chicken or veg stock; 1 can artichokes, diced, with the brine; 1 can diced tomatoes with the juice; 3/4 c cooked or canned chickpeas or beans; 1 t lemon juice; 1/4 c fresh parsley. Sauté the onions in oil to soften; add carrots, cover, cook 3 min; add garlic, coriander, cayenne and some ground black pepper, cover, cook until fragrant. Add stock, potatoes and salt. Bring to boil, then simmer 20 min or until tender. Stir in tomatoes, artichokes, beans and lemon juice. Warm to serving temp if necessary. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings to taste, and serve.

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