• Shel Fanelli

Cool Beans- Creating a Simple, Nutritious, One Dish Meal


Growing up in a with parents of Italian heritage, and four kids, we ate a lot of meals that would be called “peasant food”. Meals that are nutritious and hearty made with inexpensive ingredients. Peasant dishes are among my favorites. They are rich in nutrients and flavor.

Winter months seem to call for warm, comfort food. This recipe’ is so simple and can be doubled to for if you want to freeze it for a future meal.

Here’s what

you will need:

A large soup pot

2 cans of organic, white cannellini beans

1 cup of chopped broccoli or broccoli

1 cup of chopped carrots or baby carrot whole

1 cup of green cabbage, rough chopped

1 small potato diced

1 small onion or ½ of a large onion, diced small

2 large stalks of celery, sliced thin

3 large cloves of garlic salted and minced

2 to 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

2 TBS of tomato paste or one TBS of hot sauce for necessary acid to balance the oils

2 to three sprigs of fresh oregano, washed, removed from stem and chopped

2 tsp of dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Avocado oil

Extra virgin olive oil

2 large bay leaves

Preparation:

For better digestion, I like to soak my beans in salt water for 2 or more hours. You can even do this the day before. Remove the beans from the can, rinse thoroughly and discard any water liquid from the can. Place the beans into a large glass container with a lid. Cover the beans with water and add one heaping teaspoon of salt. Stir and place the lid over the mixture. If you are letting the beans sit overnight, refrigerate them. Otherwise they can stay out for an hour or two.

When the beans are done soaking spill off the water and rinse again.

Set beans aside.

Head the soup pot on medium heat.

Add about a tablespoon of avocado oil to the pan when warmed. Enough to provide a thin cover over the entire bottom of the pan.

Add the onions and celery to the oil and stir

Add salt and pepper to the mixture

Sauté mixture for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions are starting to become translucent

Add cabbage, potatoes and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently

In a large vessel add the liquid and tomato paste and blend together with a fork as if scrambling eggs

Slowly add the blended liquid to the pot with bay leaves, cover and bring to a simmer NOTE you may need more liquid at some point.

Add the beans, fresh and dried oregano (to release the flavor, place the dried herb in the palm of your hand and rub your palms together releasing the flavor as you add it to the soup) Add more salt and pepper

Cover, watch closely, allowing the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes

Add the greens and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaves before serving

Serving suggestions:

*Serve with warm, crusty bread or croutons

*Add some grated parmesan cheese for another layer of flavor

*A couple of pats of butter or spoonfuls of ghee add another layer of delicious-ness

*Drizzle olive oil in the pot or individual bowls after soup in ladled out (this is not a suggestion, it is a must- for a delicious addition)

*This is a great leftover as it almost tastes better the next day

*Add about ¾ cup of small cooked pasta, like ditalini or baby shells for a more robust soup

Make it from scratch:

It may take a bit longer, but it is worth it. Instead of canned beans you can use dried beans. The difference is you will need to soak them in the salted water for at least two hours. Overnight is optimal. I simmer them for two hours in along with the celery, garlic and onions and then add the remaining vegetables for about twenty additional minutes.


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Flagstaff and Scottsdale, AZ, USA

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