Cranberry Bean – Vegetable Soup with Parsley Pesto, Challah

Cranberry Bean – Vegetable Soup with Parsley Pesto, Challah

by Jennifer

Cooking dried beans is so economical and healthy, plus you can freeze beans for future recipes.  This is a great do-ahead;  cook them any time during the week, refrigerate some for tonight, and freeze the rest.  They also make tasty, quick burritos:  take a flour tortilla, scatter beans down the center, sprinkle on some cheese, add some cilantro, roll it up and turn it seam-side down, then nuke it in the microwave for a minute or two, until the cheese melts.  Add some salsa and presto, instant lunch!

 Cranberry Bean – Vegetable Soup with Parsley Pesto – adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4.

  • 4 cups cooked cranberry beans (see below for details about cooking dried beans)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, and rinsed
  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 small to medium yellow squash, diced
  • 1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Parsley Pesto:

  • 2 TBS pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups Italian parsley
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan

To cook dried beans, soak the beans overnight (at room temperature) in a large bowl filled with water, enough to cover the beans by a couple inches.

Drain and rinse the beans, then put them in pot, cover them with water by an inch or two, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cook them for an hour, or until tender.

Drain.  Reserve 4 cups beans for the soup, and freeze the rest for another meal.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks, carrots and garlic;  cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the leeks are tender.

Add the water and beans;  bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and salt, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the soup is cooking, make the pesto.

Use a food processor to finely chop the pine nuts and garlic.

Add the parsley and salt and process, stopping to scrape down the sides, until finely chopped.

Add Parmesan and oil and process, stopping to scrape down the sides, until the pesto is finely chopped.

Serve the soup with a good-sized dollop of pesto. Serve with Challah or your favorite bread.

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