This hearty Tuscan Bean Soup is so warming and nourishing. It’s sure to cure whatever ails you! Serve with your favourite crusty bread.
My husband and I have been taking turns getting sick with the flu over the last few weeks. I don't know about you, but the first thing I feel like is a big bowl of nourishing soup. The more vegetables packed in the better. Somehow it feels the more vegetables I pack into a soup, the faster I will recover.
This Tuscan Bean soup fits the bill perfectly. Even though the last thing you might feel like doing when you're sick is cooking, I find the whole process of chopping and stirring a big pot of soup deeply soothing. And I'm sure the steam coming off the pot helps too!
The antioxidant-packed Tuscan green, cavolo nero, boosts the soup with it's slightly bitter flavour contrasting the lightly tart and sweet tomato base. I love cavolo nero. It's a form of cabbage that doesn't form a head but grows lovely long palm like leaves on a trunk. The stalks are quite hardy, whereas the leaves are tender, so it's important to trim the stalks and cook those first, only adding the leaves in the last few minutes of cooking so that they retain their green goodness.
Cavolo nero is sold under a few names, depending on where you are in the world. It might also be called Tuscan cabbage, black cabbage, black kale, lacinato kale or, my favourite, the somewhat prehistoric sounding dinosaur kale.
If you can't get hold of cavolo nero try silverbeet, chard or kale as they will work just as well.
So tell me, what foods do you turn to when you are sick?
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Tuscan Bean Soup
- 1 shallot peeled and diced
- 1 leek chopped
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- teaspoon ½ of salt
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and chopped finely
- 3 celery stalks halved and chopped
- 2 carrots quartered, peeled and chopped
- 1 zucchini quartered and chopped
- 400 g tin Italian diced tomatoes 14 oz
- bunch cavolo nero stems removed and chopped, around 350g
- 400 g tin cannellini beans drained, 14 oz
- 400 g tin butter beans drained, 14 oz
- cup ½ of fresh basil chopped
- cup ½ of fresh parsley chopped
- 2 litres vegetable stock
- Heat a large soup pot over a medium low heat and add the olive oil, leek, shallot, garlic, celery, salt, carrots and zucchini and cook slowly for 15 to 20 minutes so that the vegetables sweat out their flavours and don't brown.
- Stir the tinned tomatoes into the vegetables and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the cavolo nero stalks,, butter beans and cannellini beans, half the basil and parsley and stir through the mixture (I like to squash some of the beans into the mix at this point to release their flavour and help thicken the soup) and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and bring the soup to the boil before lowering to a simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Just before serving add the cavolo nero leaves and remaining basil and parsley.
- Serve with your favourite crusty bread.