Tuscan Bean & Vegetable Soup

This recipe is quick, easy and perfect for a cool autumn day.  It comes from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu for every Monday of the Year (foreward by Paul, Stella & Mary McCartney)  This is an absolutely stunning cookbook, filled with an assortment of tempting recipes. Now we just have another reason to love our dear Paul and family!!

(In 2009, Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney launched the Meat Free Monday campaign as a simple and straightforward idea to show everyone the value of eating less meat-and to make it easier for us all to do so. Cutting down the meat in our diet has a huge range of environmental and personal benefits, including significantly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production, boosting our health by increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables in our diet, and helping us save money by offering substitutes for expensive meat and fish.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBL butter
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 14 – ounce can mixed beans, drained
  • 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 TBL pesto sauce, plus extra to garnish*
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 TBL sour cream (optional)

Directions:

1. Melt the butter with the oil in a large sauce pan and gently cook the chopped onion, garlic, celery and carrot for 5 minutes until just tender.

2. Stir in the beans, tomatoes and stock.  Add the oregano and pesto and season to taste.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the zucchini to the soup.  Cook for another 5 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.  Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and top with the sour cream and pesto sauce.

 

* For the pesto (not from this cookbook)
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley, basil or kale (about 1 cup)
  • 1 clove (smallish) of garlic
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • black pepper
Toast the pine nuts.  Combine the parsley, garlic, cheese and pine nuts in a food processor. Process until very finely chopped.  Add the oil with the motor running until thoroughly combined.
Let rest for 1 hour before using.

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