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.