I have made a version of this before with chicken and chicken stock, but this version is vegan and 'fasting-day' friendly. I think a serving (a heaping cup) would probably be around 150 calories. The two cups of pureed beans for the 'Bean Broth' add a creaminess to the soup that "almost" makes it seem like there is dairy in it. I believe that this was adapted from a Lynne Rossetto Kasper (the host of that awesome public radio show, The Splendid Table) recipe, hers had chicken in it, I am pretty sure.
ABOUT THESE BEANS: I prepared one pound of cannelli beans according to package directions, but they came out mushy. I am not sure what I did wrong. I boiled them for a minute, then allowed to soak for an hour, then cooked for about 40 minutes (the package said to cook for ONE HOUR(!)). One pound of dried cannelli beans yeilded between 5 and 6 cups of mushy beans. They taste fine, it's just the texture.
PREPARE THE BEAN BROTH:
PUREE in a blender, and set aside:
2 cups of prepared beans, or 1 15-oz can Cannelli Beans (or other white bean)
4 cups of water
Set aside the rest of the Cannelli beans, there should be between 3 - 4 cups leftover.
PREPARE THE SPINACH:
Bring to a boil in large pot or sauce pan,
6 cups of water,
1 Tbls salt
ADD, all at once or in batches, cook a couple of minutes until wilted (all that spinach cooks down to about 2 cups):
1 20-oz bag of fresh spinach
REMOVE THE Spinach and strain in a colander, when cool enough to handle, chop the spinach into smaller pieces. Set this aside.
SAUTE in a large stock pot, in one Tbls of olive oil, until the onions are translucent:
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped,
4 cloves of garlic, chopped (not minced)
ADD, the spices and saute for about 2 minutes:
1 tsps salt ( more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
ADD, and bring to a simmer:
The Bean Broth you previously set aside,
The chopped spinach you set aside.
The other 2 + cups of Cannelli beans that was also set aside (or 1 15 oz can of Cannelli beans)
1 - 2 cups of water, if the soup is too thick, it should be the consistancy of cream soup/chowder
(NOTE: I also added 1 TBLS of a vegetable broth concentrate, called "Better Than Broth" that I bought at our Safeway)
Cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes. You are all done! Buon Appetito!