I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I have too much to accomplish in too short a time – and need some self-care in a hurry – I often find myself enjoying a soothing bowl of soup. Packed with nutrition, a wholesome soup can provide a measure of comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable day. Moreover, a really hot soup forces you to take your time, to concentrate, to luxuriate. So what’s not to love?
In earlier SMW posts I’ve shared my affection for all kinds of soups, but today I’m going to focus on a thick bean purée that’s even easier and faster to make than most of my other suggestions. Hearty and nutritious, this soup is easily customized to your tastes (as long as you like beans, of course). And it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free.
Open two or more cans of your favorite white beans, depending on how many you’ll be feeding. [If you have the time, this soup can be made with dried beans - but then it wouldn't be very speedy.] Place the beans in a pot and add some liquid: water, milk, wine, stock, whatever you like. Season and add your favorite flavorings; I like hot pepper flakes and bay leaf (and sometimes crumbled bacon), but almost any flavor will complement good beans. Cook until the beans are hot and whatever solid ingredients you’ve added have softened. Remove any fibrous items you may have added, like bay leaves or sprigs of thyme: they might not be compatible with your blender.
At this point, while you can eat the soup as is, I like to purée it: I find the consistency soothing after – or even before – a busy day. If you use a stick blender, you can puré the soup right in the pot, which saves on effort. Season to taste and serve hot, perhaps with bread and a salad.
This soup is even better the next day: in fact, it’s still dark this morning and I’m already enjoying a mugful. It’s quite nutritious – an eight-ounce serving will provide only about 200 calories and offers nearly one-third of your dietary fiber requirements. Moreover, it’s fat- and cholesterol-free and high in protein.
I know what you’re thinking: “A soothing comfort food that’s both a nutritional powerhouse and a snap to make? What’s the catch?” No catch, I promise. This dish is as easy and wholesome as they come – and it’s inexpensive, too! Try it tonight.