Sunday, August 7, 2011

Make it a Meal: Tomato and White Bean Soup with Spinach Pesto

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted, dear readers, but I have been traveling, and let’s face it, just being generally lazy. It’s summer! But, back to Marie Simmons, and her extraordinary new book, Fresh & Fast Vegetarian.

One of the things I really appreciated about Simmons’s cookbook is its organization. She has chapters devoted to soups, salads, entrées and more, but she also categorizes things as main dishes and sides, which makes it incredibly easy to navigate your way to a delicious meal. On top of that, almost every dish has a side note, “Make it a Meal,” where she suggests recipe pairings that can take a dish from first course to main course. So, when I made Simmons’s Warm Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Mint, I knew I would need something else to make this a dinner.

Simmons’s suggestion was another salad, but two salads do not make a meal in my mind. Soup and salad however do, so I turned to the soup section and was stopped in my tracks by the phrase “spinach pesto.” Heaven. Make it a meal yourself, and try this delightful soup and salad combination!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups water
1 15.5 oz can of cannellini or small white beans
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until tender and fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with the juice, tomato paste, water and beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.

While the soup simmers, make the pesto. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the nuts and garlic, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the spinach and process until coarsely puréed. While running, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Spoon the soup into bowl, top with a dollop of spinach pesto and some toasty bread. Enjoy!

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