Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup

I am a cold weather girl: the boots, the sweaters, the layers, the warm-you-up-from-the-inside food, all of it (or should I say FALL of it?!? LOL) Here in Arizona, fall is slow to show up and it’s over so quickly, I try to savor the moments. Our overnight low temps are finally dropping into the 60’s, and day time highs are just under 100, so I guess fall is close! I absolutely love this soup! It’s so filling and just perfect for a cool fall day! And it’s vegetarian, which makes me even happier! The beans and all the seasonal produce brings so much fiber and nutrients, and I try to use fresh tomatoes while I still can. Feel free to add whatever fresh vegetables you can find. All the veggies!

I like to serve this soup with my version of a grilled cheese panini: a small roll with some mozzarella, red pepper, sun dried tomatoes inside and pressed for 3 minutes. It’s quick and easy and makes for a light, but hearty dinner or perfect lunch!

A quick note about beans: I prefer to use dry beans, it’s economical and prevents me from loading up on sodium. Personally, I soak my beans overnight, and then freeze then in airtight containers, so they are ready to be cooked whenever I need them. When cooking with presoaked beans, cooking times need to increase, as well as they cooking liquid, but a day in the slow cooker is sufficient. And who doesn’t love a cook slow cooker soup!?!

Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 16 ounces great white northern beans, soaked over night (or 15 ounces canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 pound ripe roma tomatoes, diced (15 ounces tetra pak)
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, dices
  • 2 Celery stalks, diced
  • 1 zucchini or summer squash, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Basil
  • 2 cups spinach or kale, chopped
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
Directions
  1. In a large pot, over high heat, add olive oil, garlic and onion, cooking until onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes
  2. Add all other ingredients, except orzo, and spinach/kale; bring to a boil
  3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 hours.
  4. Bring soup back to a boil and add orzo and spinach/kale, cook for 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with some grated parmesan cheese on top.

**To make in a slow cooker: add all ingredients except spinach/kale and orzo. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add the spinach/kale and orzo about 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Calories: 275 Fat: 8g Carbs: 37g (fiber 13g, sugar 8g) Protein: 19g

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