White Bean Soup with Zucchini and Rosemary

Hello again. Today I have a delicious soup for you.  Yep, soup in the Summer.  This one is not too heavy and not too thick but still filling.  And it uses up some of the surplus of summer squash. What's not to like? It makes a nice light dinner or something easy to take to work for lunch. Pair it with a nice salad, a crusty roll or some cornbread and you are all set.  You may look at the recipe and say, nope, not making it because the beans are cooked from scratch.  Think again.  The effort is little - it is just planning ahead to soak them and then unattended time on the stove. The reward is beans that are 100x better than canned, and a broth that makes the soup. The kombu in the beans is a seaweed that makes beans more digestible (i.e less gas).  You can buy it in the Asian section of the grocery store, or substitute a couple of bay leaves which has a similar effect.  The recipe makes extra beans which you can use for any number of things.....add to salad, whirl into a white bean dip, mash into refried beans.  I actually put mine in the freezer to use some other time. 

What else?  I have turned into a walking fiend.  For many years I was a jogger, running about 4 days a week.  After I hurt my knee some years ago, I started walking.  It has turned into a daily routine for me.  It started when I had Beau for the month.  He woke up ready to go every. single. morning.  Rested and excited for a new day. (Oh to be as happy as a spoiled dog!) I took him for a long walk first thing every morning.  There was no rest day, or sleep late and skip it day because he was always waiting on me.  So every morning for 4 weeks I got up and walked him.  I realized it is a great way to start the day.  It is quiet, the birds are singing, the sun comes up.....I can think through my day (or my life!) and get some exercise.  It is a habit I have kept up since then, missing only 3 or 4 days since Beau and I started in June. Last week I went to Clover for a family lunch and walked the next morning. The photo above is the scene behind my Mom's house. Beautiful! One of the best parts of the morning walk is being outside.  Watching the seasons change, the flowers bloom.  It makes you realize the world is so much bigger than your own little life.  

Besides the quiet time and being outside, walking is really good for you.  You can read about the health benefits of walking here.  It reduces risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and promotes mental acuity.  It is also easy.  You only need a good pair of shoes and the will to put them on. You don't need special clothes or equipment.  You can walk with a friend and get the bonus of good conversation. To get the maximum benefit, you can't "stroll" although even that is better than sitting.  Just walk like you are in a hurry.  Over time you will get faster as you get fitter. Ideally you will work up a light sweat and be very slightly winded.  But, there is no need to kill yourself.  It's the kinder, gentler exercise.  The "love your body don't beat it up" philosophy.  

I pass these sunflowers often on my walks.  I cannot believe how tall they are.  Can you see in reference to that house?  They are at least 10 feet tall!  

Lastly I cut some hydrangeas from my garden to keep in my dining room.  They are fresh now, but they will dry nicely so I can keep them all year.  Beautiful aren't they? 

So that's it for today.  Do try the soup.  I think you'll be surprised at how good it is! 

White Bean Soup with Zucchini and Rosemary

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 8 - 24 hours

Cook Time: 2 hours

Keywords: soup/stew gluten-free vegan vegetarian carrots white beans

Ingredients (6 servings)

    for the beans
    • 3 cups of dried white beans (cannellini, navy or Great Northern)
    • 1 strip kombu
    • 8 cups of water
    • 1 tsp salt
    for the stew
    • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 5 cloves or garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
    • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped
    • 3 large carrots, chopped
    • 4 cups of bean cooking liquid (or cooking liquid and water to make 4 cups)
    • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
    • 2 tsp sea salt

    Instructions

    For the beans

    The night before you want the stew, rinse the beans and place them in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak 8 hours or overnight.

    Drain the beans and put them into a large soup pot with the kombu and the 8 cups or water and bring to a boil.

    Skim off any foam that comes to the top.

    Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Add the salt to the cooking beans after an hour. Drain the beans through a colander into a large bowl, saving the cooking liquid. Discard the kombu. Measure 4 cups of beans. Reserve extra beans for another use.

    for the stew

    Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary to the pot. Saute for 1 minute. Add the celery and carrots and cook for about 4 minutes.

    Add the cooked beans and the 4 cups of liquid (cooking broth and water). Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the carrots are just tender. Add the zucchini and salt. Cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the zucchini is tender.

    Note: for a thinner soup add another cup of liquid.

    Powered by Recipage