Some say soup is for the soul, I’d rather it get in my belly

I think it’s no secret that I love soup. I honestly could eat it for every meal. I regularly will take any leftovers, pour in some hot veggie stock and call it lunch (which has lead to some interesting discoveries – such as the phenomenal baked kibbeh soup that I am yet to post). I’m eating soup right now. If there’s a good soup on a menu I’ll most likely order it. You might even call me a soup connoisseur. So when I say that this soup is one of the tastiest I’ve ever tried, trust me, I know my soups.

Aside from tasty, its incredibly good for you – low in bad stuff, high in good stuff. Plus it’s very, very easy. And versatile; if you find yourself with a fridge of fresh vegetable odds and ends, this soup is a great way to use them up. It’s also delicious and comforting and nourishing and satiating and… you get the idea.

It was born because I made a batch of this sauce ages ago and loved it. Months later I wanted to make another batch of the sauce but also needed to make a soup for my freezer (clearly a soupless freezer is a catasrophe) and didn’t want to spend much time cooking that afternoon. Ta-dah!

Incredibly tasty kidney bean and vegetable soup (serves 4)

I’ve made the sauce that this recipe is based on with dried herbs and that was lovely, so you’ve definitely got that option if you don’t have the fresh herbs available. But if you use fresh herbs, it’s even better.

Legumes are infamous for causing digestive… grumblings – you know the old rhyme “beans, beans, the magical fruit…” etc. Apparently rinsing canned legumes can help you digest them with less disturbance. So, without going into further detail, I’ve decided to start rinsing my beans. You don’t have to, and if you choose to, you can even keep it a secret.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped (I’m of the belief that you can never have too much garlic. If you disagree, scale back to 3, or even 2.)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (I used this paste)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and chopped (or about 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano leaves
  • 2 tsp paprika (standard or sweet, not smoked)
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled a lot
  • 2-5 small red chillis, chopped finely
  • 400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 bunch spinach or other dark leafy greens, chopped finely
  • Any other veggies you have around, chopped – mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, etc. If you add potato, bear in mind it doesn’t freeze well, the texture goes funny. This time I used: 2 tomatoes, 1/2 bulb fennel, 4 dried porcini mushrooms and some extra frozen spinach. My fridge is running low of veggies.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot to just a low heat and add onion and carrot. Cover and stir occasionally for a few minutes until onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add stock, herbs, spices, chillis, kidney beans, greens and veggies and simmer, covered, for at least 15 minutes, or at least until the veggies you’ve chosen are tender.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce, taste, and add salt or more lemon juice if it needs it.
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