With the holiday season upon us and winter eminently approaching, we tend to eat more than usual, and less healthy than usual. So, In an effort to be a little healthier during the non-holiday meals, I have been making more vegetarian dishes for my family. I hope this deliciously light and healthy soup serves as a worthy alternative to thick and creamy soups and stews for you this season.
CANNELLINI BEANS AND VEGETABLE SOUP WITH SPROUTED BREAD GREMOLATA
1 yellow Onion
2 large Shallots
6 large Garlic cloves
6 Carrots – peeled
3 cups cooked Cannillini Beans
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
8 cups Chicken Stock
1 Bay leaf
1 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette (optional)
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Begin by peeling and rough chopping the onions, shallots, garlic, and carrots. In a dutch oven or a large pot on medium heat, sauté the peeled and chopped vegetables in the olive oil. Once the onions, shallot, carrots, and garlic are translucent, chop and add the tomatoes. Allow the tomatoes to cook down for about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the cooked beans and stir. Add the tomato paste, piment d’espelette, salt, and pepper, and stir everything together to get all the ingredients incorporated.
Add the bay leaf and the chicken stock. Cover the soup, and allow it to simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. You may serve it as is, in its current rustic style. I, however, prefer it puréed and topped with a fresh gremolata. Place the soup into a blender, and purée it. Place the puréed soup back in the dutch oven or pot on very low heat, while you make the gremolata.
SPROUTED BREAD GREMOLATA
2 slices Sprouted Bread
2 Garlic cloves1 large Lemon – zested
1/2 cup Italian Parsley – loosely packed
Pinch of Sea Salt
5 grinds of Black Pepper
I usually chop the ingredients of my gremolata by hand, but this time I use a food processor. Begin by toasting or broiling the sprouted bread on high. Be very careful not to burn the bread, even though you want it to be well toasted completely through. Let the toast stand (upright if you can), as it hardens a little more.
In a food processor, pulse the garlic cloves and salt. Crumble the bread and add it to the food processor, and pulse. Now add the lemon zest and Italian parsley. Process all the ingredients together. You may lightly sauté the gremolata in olive oil, if you want a crispier texture. However, I decide to skip this part. I am, after all, going for a lighter application. The sprouted bread gremolata is ready.
In an individual serving bowl, ladle the puréed soup, and then top it with a spoonful of gremolata. Serve and enjoy!