Food Fridays – Tuscan Bean & Sun-dried Tomato Soup

I LOVE soup.  I love making soup and I love eating soup.  I miss it in the summer (although I’m happy to utilize the grill and enjoy lots of different salads during the warm months).  But when cool weather comes, soup is my friend.  Although we’ve had a very mild winter here, it’s still cool enough to enjoy a good bowl of soup.

Below is a recipe for one of my healthy favorites, Tuscan Bean & Sun-dried Tomato Soup.  Because of the beans, it’s hardy enough to be a meal in itself.  I like that it uses rosemary, which I love but don’t have a ton of recipes utilizing it.  And because the beans are mostly pureed into the soup, it doesn’t taste overly bean-y.  Trust me, it’s delicious and quick.  If you want a robust and healthy soup, give this a try!  I’d serve it with yummy homemade bread and salad.

Tuscan Bean & Sun-dried Tomato Soup

1 cup medium pasta shells

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil

1 small white onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tsp dried rosemary

1 bay leaf

½ tsp red pepper flakes

2 cups water or chicken stock

1 medium carrot

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (I don’t always have sun-dried tomatoes on hand, so I usually substitute diced tomatoes)

2 16-oz cans canellini beans, or equivalent of cooked dry beans

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese (use the real stuff!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  At the same time, heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and red pepper flakes.  Sauté until onion is soft.  Add water, tomatoes, carrots and beans, reserving 1 cup beans.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 7-10 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Puree veggie mixture with blender/food processor.  Return to pan.  Add cooked pasta and remaining whole beans and heat through, adding water if too thick.  Serve with parmesan cheese.

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