White Bean and Spinach Soup

I’d say that in the past few months, I’ve been quite successful in my quest to stop feeding my family scrambled eggs for dinner all the time.  But I’m still not much of a planner.  Which means that the dinner hour is often neigh by the time I roll into the kitchen, wondering how our evening meal is going to materialize.

At times like these, it helps to have a well-stocked pantry.  And freezer.  This is one of those recipes that you can spend all afternoon making–or it can take 30 minutes if you keep the right ingredients in stock.  In this case, the right ingredients are an onion, a leafy green vegetable, a good vegetable broth, and some well-seasoned home-cooked white beans.  (Of course you can substitute canned beans, but you must first brown an onion, then toss in a handful of chopped garlic and sage for a few minutes, then add the beans and cover with water or vegetable broth and simmer to let the flavors blend.)

Do you cook your own beansMake your own broth?  I do, because I find the homemade versions of these things so much better and SO much cheaper than anything I can buy.  This might seem inconsistent with my professed inability to plan ahead, but I just do it every once in a while when I will be home on a Sunday afternoon: put a huge pot of beans on the stove or make eight quarts of stock.  It helps that I have a large freezer to store these things in.  What do you people do in Manhattan?  Anyway, I will start sharing recipes for some of the pantry basics that make it easier for me to get a good meal on the table quickly.  Another day.Today, White Bean and Spinach Soup: Grab a quart of good vegetable broth and a few cups of well-seasoned white beans from your freezer.  Warm the beans in a soup pot with a cup or so of broth while you saute an onion over high heat in a separate pan.  Once the onion is nearly golden and nearly caramelized, use a slotted spoon to scoop about half your beans into a blender and puree them with the onion and another cup of broth.  Add the puree to your soup pot and stir in a big bunch of chopped spinach (chard, kale, or other greens would also be great).  Simmer until the greens are tender, then thin the soup to your desired consistency with additional broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve under a shower of Parmesan shavings or a drizzle of olive oil, with crusty rolls on the side.  (The one pictured is a mini whole wheat soda bread, recipe to come after a little more experimentation.)  And what’s that gorgeous salad, you ask?  Radicchio? Endive? Apples? Blue cheese?  Oh, yes.  Hop on over to the lovely blog Salt On the Table for the full recipe.


7 thoughts on “White Bean and Spinach Soup

  1. gwynnem

    I stopped by to check out your brussels sprouts recipe and was sidetracked by this mouth-watering entree. Yum. Looks as if I’ll be cooking up a storm this weekend. Thanks for following my blog, too!

  2. baconbiscuit212

    Oh gosh. I dream of having a the capacity to store 8 quarts of stock. That would be AMAZING!

    But, alas, I barely have room for a pint of stock. It’s kind of like shopping in Europe: you end up going to the market a few times a week, if not every day. That, and you tend to keep a lot of shelf-stable things in the pantry (pasta, bread crumbs, canned tomatoes).

    Soup looks terrific though. White beans and leafy greens are some of my favorites!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      I used to have a teeny tiny house with a teeny tiny fridge–now that I have a slightly bigger fridge and freezer, I am making up for lost time. You can get far with those pantry staples, though, and I know from reading your blog that you manage to produce feasts in the space you have!

  3. emmi

    Looks delicious! I’m definitely trying this later in the week!

    Like “baconbiscuit212,” I have limited space. I live in a downtown area, in a small condo. I have one, double-doored kitchen cabinet devoted to food, plus a small rolling island where I keep all of my baking goods like flour and oats. Luckily, I have a good-sized fridge and lots of counter space for storing produce (bowls of onions & potatoes, etc). My husband and I are vegan and go through a lot of produce, so I shop a few times a week. It has been quite a challenge in the last year and 1/2, moving from a big house to a small condo, but we’ve made it work.

    I have started to make my own beans, but admit I’m bad about stock and usually buy organic veg stock in a container. I keep promising myself that I’ll make my own, but don’t seem to get around to it! I have no excuse either – if I could sit around last weekend watching Downton Abbey on Netflix, I certainly had time to make stock! lol.

    1. emmycooks Post author

      One of the beautiful things about making stock is that you can do it WHILE you’re watching tv! :) I’m impressed to hear that you’ve successfully condensed your pantry following your move. I always think that I need so many things, but it’s really just that I fill whatever space I have. Today I was organizing my spices and found 5 (5!) kinds of paprika. I would think that one of the benefits of having a smaller space is that you choose acquisitions more carefully. I obviously need to work on that. As for the fresh veggies, though, going shopping a few times a week is where it’s at–that way everything you cook with is in great shape! Happy cooking!


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