Sometimes the best things in life are just really simple. That's what I love about good Italian cuisine - it's most often very straightforward food, with a few simple ingredients, but cooked with real passion. And when you're cooking with just a few ingredients it's even more important to make sure they're top quality. This dish (as with most vegan dishes) is incredibly cheap, so you can afford to buy the best, and let each ingredient shine through. Oh, and as well as being delicious, this hearty, soul-warming soup is extremely low in saturated fat but high in protein, fibre, B-vitamins, and antioxidants. This recipe makes six portions so freeze some for a rainy day.
Vegan Tuscan Bean Soup
Ingredients (serves 6):
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra to serve)
1 medium-sized white onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 medium courgette (zucchini), diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 400g can cannellini beans
1 litre vegetable stock
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 large handfuls fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, courgette, and herbs, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the stock and tinned tomatoes (with the juice) and bring to the boil. Add the beans and simmer for 10-15 minutes, then add the spinach leaves and cook for a further few minutes until wilted.
Best served with warm, crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Nutrition (per serving with 1 slice bread):
Protein: 10.2g (Women: 20.4% / Men: 18.5%)
Iron: 3.2mg (Women: 21.6% / Men: 36.8%)
Calories: 217 (Women: 10.9% / Men: 8.7%)
Sugars: 7.3g (Women: 8.1% / Men: 6.1%)
Total fats: 6.2g (Women: 8.9% / Men: 6.5%)
Saturated fats: 0.9g (Women: 4.5% / Men: 3.0%)
Salt: 0.9g (Women: 15.0% / Men: 15.0%)
Fibre: 7.7g (Women: 26.7% / Men: 25.7%)
See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.