Tuscan Bean Soup

As part of a healthy diet, try Tuscan Bean Soup on a cold, rainy night or whenever you get the craving for a satisfying, spirit-uplifting hot meal.  It’s hearty, rich and delicious, loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and garlic!  This is the Mediterranean way of cooking for good health!

Ingredients:

8 oz can of red kidney beans

8 oz can of garbanzo beans (optional)

8 oz of frozen lima beans or cooked white beans

1 large onion

2 celery sticks with green tops

3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon thyme ( dried or powder)

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or to taste

2 large bay leaves

Black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoons chile flakes  or to taste

6 cups chicken broth or plain water with salt to taste

1 medium potato, diced

2 carrots, chopped

2 cups spinach or collard greens

On medium heat, in a large saucepan, saute the onion, celery, garlic, pepper and chile flakes until the onion is golden.  Add the flour and chopped herbs.  Add the broth, bay leaves and the beans, then the tomato paste.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Add chopped potatoes and carrots.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  To thicken the soup, some of the beans can be mashed or more flour can be added (best to first dissolve and mix in water before adding).  When cooked to taste, add the chopped spinach or collarad greens and cook for no more than 15 seconds or until wilted.  Serve with fresh french bread. Bon Apetit!

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