Homemade soup is one of my favorite things about the cooler months of the year. Since the heat of summer is finally abating, I'm ready to embrace soup back into our dinner repertoire. This minestrone soup recipe combines two types of beans with lots of veggies in a flavorful broth. This soup gets a flavor punch thanks to the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, a Parmesan cheese rind, and fresh herbs.
3/4 cup of dried kidney beans
3/4 cup of dried white navy beans
dash of baking soda
2 Tb butter, preferably the nutrient-dense yellow type
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups filtered water (or substitute with more chicken broth if using storebought broth)
4 tsp Celtic sea salt (use less salt if your tomatoes and/or chicken broth are salted)
Parmesan cheese rind
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 stalks of chard, stems chopped and kept separate from the greens
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tb sundried tomatoes (in olive oil), minced
1 Tb fresh oregano, minced (or substitute 1 tsp dried)
1&1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced (or substitute 1/2 tsp dried)
2 Tb fresh basil, minced (or substitute 2 tsp dried)
3 Tb tomato paste
1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
finely shredded Parmesan cheese, to garnish
Cover the beans with plenty of filtered water. The beans will soak up quite a bit of water, so be sure to add plenty. Add a dash of baking soda and allow the beans to soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. This important step reduces the phytic acid antinutrient in the beans.
Drain and rinse the beans. Drain in a colander.
Chop the onions. Melt the butter in a 4-quart pot. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes.
Add the beans to the pot. Cover with 3 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of filtered water.
Bring the pot to a boil. Skim off and discard the foam. Add 2 tsp salt, the Parmesan cheese rind, and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the beans are soft, about 1.5-2 hours. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, chop the carrots and celery. Remove the leaves from the chard and mince the stalks. Reserve the chard leaves for Step 8. Mince the garlic. For the sundried tomatoes, I find it works best to put them in a bowl and then mince with a pair of kitchen shears. Mince the oregano, rosemary, and basil.
Once the beans are cooked, add the carrots, celery, chard stalks, tomatoes, garlic, sundried tomatoes, oregano, rosemary, basil, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir in 2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince the chard leaves and chop the zucchini.
Add the zucchini and chard leaves to the pot. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Taste the broth and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Remove the bay leaves.
The Parmesan rind can be removed, or it can be chopped up and consumed with the soup by anyone who loves strong flavors.
Finely shred Parmesan cheese to use as a garnish. A microplane zester works well for this.
Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
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