With all this busyness and craziness, we decided we could use some serious comfort food. And what's better comfort food in the winter than homemade soup? Better yet, a hearty, vegan friendly vegetable and bean soup?
I've been wanting to play with dried beans for awhile. Sure, they're a heck of a lot less convenient than canned, but the trade-offs are worth it, especially when it comes to texture and flavor. Also, the variety of dried beans at our local Whole Foods is amazing. They have a number of heirloom beans that I'm really looking forward to trying. So, if you are able to plan your meals ahead, I really encourage you to give dried beans a try!
For this soup, we decided to go with a simple navy bean. Fun fact - these beans got their name not because of their color (they're off-white), but "because they were a staple food of the U.S. Navy in the early 20th Century." Like other legumes, navy beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein, and are also a "good source of folate, manganese and vitamin B1 as well as the minerals phosphorus, copper, magnesium and iron."
One of my favorite soups is minestrone, which traditionally includes vegetables, beans and pasta. According to Wikipedia, minestrone translates to "the big soup" and is usually made from whatever ingredients you have in the fridge. What I ended up making was minestrone inspired, as we used up a lot of what we had in the fridge. But, I elected to leave out the pasta at the last minute, so I'm hesitant to call it a true minestrone.
|Behold the aftermath of the chopping!|
I then added in a large can of whole tomatoes and their liquid, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Then, I added three cups of the cooked beans. Using the neat little herb mill my sister-in-law gave me recently, I ground up some sage and rosemary and mixed that in, along with fresh thyme, dried oregano, sea salt and black pepper. Finally, I added a carton and a half of veggie broth. Once the soup came to a boil, I let it simmer for an hour, which made our entire apartment, and probably the hallway, smell like yummy vegetable soup.
We had the soup for lunch today with some crusty bread. It was warm, hearty and had a nice kick from the garlic and pepper! Better yet, we have tons of leftovers, and I think it will taste even better reheated, as the flavors will continue to combine.