A very good morning to you and welcome to another chapter of Meatless Monday…Today it is so easy to be green with this
super healthy and delicious Italian
Green and Bean Soup
with Polenta Croutons
If you enjoy broccoli, spinach, scallions and some happy healthy beans…this soup is for you!
Don’t let the homemade croutons scare you…they are easy and fun to make but if you don’t have the time a crusty piece of your favorite bread works perfectly!
Hope you give it a try and most of all I hope you love it!
1 pound of fresh broccoli (not the stems) or the equivalent is a 1 pound bag of frozen broccoli
(I have to be honest with you…you do not need fresh…for this recipe frozen works perfectly)
6 cups of fresh spinach but once again…(frozen chopped spinach works perfect and it is not worth the extra expense to use fresh…so a 10 ounce package of frozen is wonderful)
2 bunches of scallions sliced (use whites and greens)
(don’t take the time to be fancy…it is all getting blended : )
6 cloves of fresh garlic, thinly sliced or chopped (more or less according to you preference)
6 cups of water or a light vegetable broth
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (I got away with 1 but more would be better : )
2 15 ounce cans of white kidney beans (well rinsed) or your favorite beans.
It depends on the day…if I have time I use dry beans and do the whole process…but the rinsed can beans are truly as good and they are quick and easy!
1 cup of your favorite grated cheese (I really enjoy Pecorino Romano) but whatever you love…that is what you should use! If you have rinds saved in the fridge…now is the time to use them also.
1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes or to taste…if you like really spicy try adding fresh chopped chilies of your choice. Of course if you don’t like any heat…just exclude from the recipe.
Fresh tomatoes of your choice or should I say in season for the topping along with Cheese Shavings.
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Let’s get to Cooking…
Time to take out your favorite sauce pan (I use my cast iron pot or cauldron as I call it)…put your olive oil in…heat it up to a medium heat and add your sliced scallions and saute for for a few minutes…then add your sliced garlic and continue to saute till lightly browned. Now add your broccoli and spinach…season to taste and saute for about 10 minutes. Add your liquid and bring the mixture to a boil…if you have a nice grated cheese rind now is the time to add it and give it a touch more seasoning. Now cover your pot and simmer for about 45 minutes. (you can lift up the lid a few times and give it a stir)
It is time to take out the emulsifier and blend the the soup…leaving just a tiny bit of chunkiness but you don’t have to. If you do not have an emulsifier…a blender does it nicely but one hint…add in small amounts or it will burst like a volcano. Now put the soup on simmer and it is time to add your rinsed beans. Cover it up and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Now blend in the cup of grated cheese until completely mixed. Allow the soup to sit for a few minutes while it continues to thicken…now your soup is ready…ladle it into your favorite dishes…garnish with fresh tomatoes…croutons and cheese shavings or simply serve with a piece of crusty bread…add a nice salad and dinner is complete!
1 cup of polenta (finely ground corn meal) instant works perfect for these
3 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of butter or 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of your favorite grated cheese
Time to put it together… bring your water to a boil and add a pinch of salt…gently whish your polenta and stir till it is a nice consistency…this happens very quickly when you are using the instant…add your butter and cheese and fold in well. If you are using cornmeal…use the same procedure but your cooking time will be about 15 minutes. Place in a buttered baking dish (9X13) works well…sprinkle the top with a bit of oil oil and add some grated cheese and place in the oven on broil just till the top is lightly browned. Take it out of the oven and let it sit till nice and firm and then cut into little crouton cubes. By placing it in the fridge when it cools off expedites it nicely. This is something to do ahead of time…they keep perfectly in the fridge for days. Any left over…make yourself a nice once over easy egg and place onto of a fresh slice of tomato and the croutons and you have a great breakfast–lunch or dinner! No waste! These are so easy and so worth the time!
by adding the fresh tomatoes…yummy cheese shavings and delicious polenta croutons this soup is sure to become one of your favorites…easy! inexpensive! delicious and HEALTHY!!!
See you all tomorrow…not sure what it will bring but I will be here!