VeegMama's Recipe for Bean Soup

It is Spring, meaning lighter and breezier days (at least for me, in beautiful Southern California!). Although it looks like summer with these beaming, sunny skies, vibrant breezes have kept me from breaking out the sundresses just yet.  With this cooler weather, a small cup of soup has become a welcome companion to my lunchtime salad these days.

This bean soup is one of my favorites and it pairs nicely with a light salad.  It is hearty, healthy, and packed full of protein with its wonderful medley of beans.  I use cannellini, kidney, black-eyed peas, black, garbanzo, lentils, and pinto in my mix.  I like to top mine with a few fresh baby spinach leaves.  Enjoy!

Bean Soup
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
2 cups of dried beans, any mix you like (soaked overnight and rinsed)
64 oz vegetable broth
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (I love Penzey’s Spices)
1 can chopped canned tomatoes
Handful fresh spinach, optional
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot and saute onion, celery, carrot, basil and garlic until soft.
2. Pour vegetable broth into pot, followed by the beans.
3. Combine mixture and add remaining ingredients.
4. Simmer covered for about 1 hour to desired tenderness.  Add broth if liquid dissipates.  Remove bay leaf.
5. Salt and pepper to desired taste.  Ladle into bowls and top with spinach leaves.