by Angie Booth
This is a good one to make if you have some greens to use up. The beans make it high in protein and fibre so it is great for digestion and for lowering cholesterol. The leafy greens are a good source of magnesium and iron, and the added lemon juice helps you to absorb the iron.
Although tinned beans will work fine here I think dried beans or peas have so much more flavour. According to research, dried cooked beans contain more protein, fibre, iron, potassium and magnesium than beans from a tin. Plus they are cheaper.
Some people say you don’t have to pre-soak certain kinds of beans, but I think it makes them easier to digest. I like to soak the beans for 8 hours at least and generally leave them soaking overnight. Use plenty of water to cover them as they will absorb some of it.
There is also some debate about whether to add salt to your water when cooking dried beans. Some say that adding salt stops the beans from softening. I like to add a little at the end of the cooking process. You can read plenty of articles and experiments on this discussion, like this one.
I used black eye peas this time but you could use any type of white beans, like cannellini, for example.
- 750g dried white beans – pre-soaked
- 1 large white onion – diced
- 2 sticks celery – diced
- 1 garlic glove – crushed or finely chopped
- 1 litre organic vegetable stock (gluten free if needed)
- 2 large handfuls of spinach or other leafy green veg – roughly chopped
- Fresh thyme – about 4 sprigs (or use dried)
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt and pepper
- Optional for garnish – olive oil, black pepper and parmesan cheese
How to make it
- Rinse the beans thoroughly and place them in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover them.
- Cook the beans for around 20 minutes, without any salt. Keep testing the beans – they should be quite firm still, not mushy. Drain when they are ready.
- While the beans are cooking, in a large pan sweat the onion, garlic and celery in a dash of oil or you can use a little water if you prefer.
- Add the stock to the mix and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add in the beans to the stock and veg and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon remove about 3 cups of the beans and vegetables and set them to one side.
- Using a hand-held blender, blend the remaining soup and then add the beans and veg back to the pan so you have a mix of textures together.
- Stir in the spinach, thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the greens are soft.
- To serve, pour over the lemon juice and a little drizzle of olive oil. Add a little more black pepper and sprinkle of parmesan cheese if you like it.
This goes well with chia seed bread or any other chunky bread.