Hearty Romesco Mixed Bean Soup
April is such an emotional month in my part of the world. By “emotional”, I mean ups and downs in weather are so totally unpredictable and wild. One day might be perfectly beautiful, sunny and 72 and the next night you might be digging your winter coat out because it’s going to get down into the 20’s again (like tonight). And it affects our moods, a LOT. On those first sunny warm days, everyone will be outside and smiling and cheerfully greeting and helping each other, and then, when the weather turns gray and cold and ugly again, everyone is heads down, looking at the ground and not wanting to say a word to anyone else.
So one day you might be eating a salad on the patio and feeling all happy and summery and the very next day might be rainy and cold and windy and all you want is soup … yes, hot, comforting, warm-you-up soup because when it’s spring and you are SO over the winter chill, the last thing you want is to feel chilled.
I find a good hearty warm soup in the chilly days of spring can lighten my mood from almost mean and definitely irritable to mildly almost-not-grumpy , a sort of maybe-I-could-share-a-word-or-two-with-you kinda mood that might even lighten to a smile. It also makes me happy that this soup also fits right in with my eat-more-veggies initiative and it’s got loads of protein and fiber and a smoky-good hearty flavor, yet it can be made completely vegetarian and gluten free (take care to use Gluten free breadcrumbs in the Romesco sauce!) Oh, and take note: with if you add some hot peppers and/or chipotle powder as suggested, it helps with those springtime allergies, which have been SUCH a bugger with all the wind we’ve had this spring.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 1 cup (about 2 stalks) celery (save & chop the leaves for later)
- 2 cups dry mixed beans (I used red beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, a few red lentils & split peas ... use whatever you need to use up!)
- 1 pint (or 15-oz. can) chopped canned tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 7 - 8 cups of water
- 1 quart ham or vegetable broth
- 1 cup roughly chopped carrots
- 1 1/2 cups zucchini or other summer squash, sliced and cut into quarters
- 3/4 cup Romesco sauce (recipe here)
- Add to taste: smoked paprika, hot peppers (peeled & chopped), chipotle powder and salt & pepper
- Additional Romesco sauce
- a bit of feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Fresh parsley leaves
- In a nonstick soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and celery and saute until the onion is very soft and tender. Add the beans, tomatoes, bay leaf and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 - 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very soft and tender. If the beans start to look dry during this process, add more water.
- When the beans are fully cooked, add the broth, carrots, zucchini and Romesco sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the carrots and zucchini are tender and cooked. Stir in the celery greens. Season to taste with seasonings, hot pepper, and salt & freshly ground pepper.
- Serve hot with a bit more Romesco to swirl in the thick soup, some crumbled feta (if desired), and fresh parsley.
You can replace the fresh tomatoes with canned in the Romesco sauce and dried herbs (in smaller quantities) for the fresh, if needed.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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