WARNING: your entire home will smell of home-cooked, mouth-watering goodness…

During a recent hospitalization, the cardiologist talked to us about consider a plant-based diet to combat conditions heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. While it wasn’t a viable option at the time, his comments got me thinking that we could incorporate more plant-based meals without completely eliminating meat from our diets. Now we celebrate MEAT-FREE MONDAY on a weekly basis, and I try to eat a meat-free meal for lunch on a daily basis. While this soup isn’t totally meatless (the bacon adds flavor), this Winter White Bean Soup is an easy and savory option for those meat-free Monday meals!

MEAL PREP SUNDAY: If you are prepping your weekly meals on Sunday, you can do the following and store in plastic bags until you are ready to cook:

  • Chop the bacon, carrots, onions, and garlic then place into a single plastic bag.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cans of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 slices of turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • 4 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Olive Oil cooking spray
  • 4 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese.

Instructions:

  1. Drain and rinse all beans in a colander.
  2. In a blender, combine one can of beans with one cup of water. Pulse until blended.
  3. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, coat with olive oil cooking spray over medium heat. Sauté bacon, onion, carrots, and garlic until the onions are translucent – approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted.
  6. Remove the bay leaves. Spoon into bowls and top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese.
  7. Start a fire in the fireplace, prop your feet up, and wrap yourself with a warm, cozy blanket while you savor this hearty winter soup!

Makes 4 servings.

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