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.
- 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.
- Drain and rinse all beans in a colander.
- In a blender, combine one can of beans with one cup of water. Pulse until blended.
- 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.
- Add the broth and beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted.
- Remove the bay leaves. Spoon into bowls and top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese.
- 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.