I got this recipe out of my Holly Clegg Trim and Terrific Freezer Friendly Meals (one of my favorite once a month cooking cookbooks!), and it is not only healthy but delicious.

Tuscan Bean Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tsps. minced garlic

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves

1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp. tomato paste

8 cups fat-free chicken broth or vegetable broth (I used 4 cups broth and then 4 cups of water)

1/2 cup medium pearl barley

1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1 cup sliced carrots

2 (15 oz.) cans cannelloni or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups packed fresh baby spinach leaves

salt and pepper to taste

-In a large non-stick pot, heat olive oil and saute the onion, green pepper and garlic over medium heat until tender, about 7 minutes. 

-Sprinkle with flour, stirring for one minute. 

-Add rosemary, thye, bay leaf, tomato paste, and chicken broth, stirring and heating to a boil. 

-Add barley, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. 

-Add the potato and carrot and continue cooking for 20 minutes. 

– Add beans and spinach and continue cooking for 10 minutes until well heated. If the soup gets too thick, add more broth. 

-Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaf.

To freeze, cool to room temperature, place in freezer bags and label.  Recommended freezing time: up to 3 months.  Reheat over low in a non-stick skillet.

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