Spinach-Cannelli Bean Soup

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.


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.


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!


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