Bean and vegetable is my favourite, hearty winter soup. It’s an easy one-pot meal and can also be made in a slow cooker. The quantities and ingredients are adaptable, depending on the beans, vegetables and herbs you prefer.
Bean and vegetable soup
1 -2 tabs olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 – 3 cloves garlic, crushed
3+ cups of diced vegetables, eg carrots, parsnip, zucchini, chard
1 can of well rinsed beans (or 1+ cups of home cooked beans), eg cannellini, borlotti, kidney
1 can of crushed tomatoes or a bottle of homemade passata (preferably organic)
1+ litre vegetable stock (I use Marigold)
Herbs and seasonings as desired
In a large heavy bottomed pot sauté onion in olive (or vegetable) oil, then stir through the garlic. Add the diced vegetables and stir until coated in oil, then add the beans and tomatoes. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring frequently, then top up with stock. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook gently for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Never boil soup – if you have a temperamental stove place the pot on a heat diffuser mat. Top with stock if the waterline drops too low. Before serving add sea salt and ground pepper if required. Strew in some fresh green herbs like basil, thyme, parsley or chives if you have them.
Variation: If you want a change from Mediterranean flavours, try adding some crushed cumin and coriander seeds to the onions when you are sautéing. Use your imagination – fennel seeds today, a little rosemary tomorrow. Fresh, delicate green herbs need little cooking, while dried herbs especially seeds and bark need some direct roasting or frying to release their flavours.
This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. For more simple and delicious soup ideas check out the recipe archive in the resources section.