Sunday, January 25, 2009

Greek White Bean Soup for Souper Sunday

My pick for Souper Sundays this week is a healthy, nourishing Greek White Bean Soup from a cookbook I really like, 12 Best Foods Cookbook by Dana Jacobi. This cookbook has more than 200 recipes that all feature the 12 "superfoods" that Jacobi lists in her book. I like the easy and good for you recipes in this book, (Her Curried Spinach Dip from the same book, is one of my favorites and I get lots of requests from friends to make it for parties). Dana's follow up book, The Essential Best Foods Cookbook is also great. She also has a website if you want to see more of her recipes and information. 

This soup has two of the 12 "best" foods, onion and spinach, plus healthy lima beans and is virtually non-fat, except for the garnishes. 

Dana Jacobi says: "This is one of the best dishes at Molyvos, an exceptional Greek restaurant in New York City that features less-familiar regional dishes. For a completely fat-free soup, you can skip the feta and olive oil garnish."

Greek White Bean Soup
12 Best Foods Cookbook, Dana Jacobi
(Makes 4 Servings)

1 cup dried giant lima beans
1 large red onion, chopped
1 leek, white part only
2 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby spinach, packed
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, for garnish
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, optional for garnish

Soak the beans in cold water until their skins are wrinkled and most of the beans have split open, 2 to 4 hours. Drain the beans. Place the beans in a small Dutch oven or deep, heavy saucepan. Add the onion, leek, and broth. Pour in 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the beans are soft, about 1 hour. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Off the heat, using an immersion blender, whirl until half the beans are pureed. Or puree half the soup in a blender and pour the pureed soup back into the pot. At this point the soup may be cooled and refrigerated up to 4 days. To serve, heat the soup until it is almost boiling. Mix in the spinach until it wilts, 3 to 4 minutes. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the feta cheese into the center of each bowl. If using, drizzle 1 tsp of the oil over the soup.

Per serving: 278 calories, 8g fat, 3g sat fat, 15g protein, 38g carbohydrate, 12g fiber

Notes/Results:  Excellent! This is a thick, hearty and delicious bowl of soup. It takes just a bit of prep time, you have to soak the beans ahead of time and then simmer them for at least an hour (mine took almost an additional half hour to get them to the right tender but still firm texture), but it goes together quickly and easily. I used 4 cups of broth instead of the 2 cups of broth & the 2 cups of water, but otherwise I kept everything the same. For the garnish I left off the olive oil but did add about an ounce of the feta. The soup is good without any extras but the salty cheese really takes it to the next level.  

Let's see who showed up in the Souper Sunday Kitchen this week:

First up we have a new friend to Souper Sundays, Ulrike from Küchenlatein. Ulrike, who hails from Germany, brought a hearty bowl of Minestrone (also posted in English here), straight from her slow cooker, full of delicious looking veggies, beans and grains. Ulrike has had a weekly soup goal the past couple of years that she has struggled to meet and she is hoping that coming to Souper Sundays will help her achieve it. We will do our best!

Christine from Kit's Chow is back this week with a rich and indulgent Mussel Bisque. Although she doesn't indulge often in soups made of heavy cream, having some extra crème fraîche and mussels in the freezer make an occasional treat like this easy to make. So rich, a small bowl will satisfy, this seems like a perfect soup to kick off a Chinese New Years Eve dinner and to welcome in the Year of the Ox. 

Kim, from Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet is here for her second round up and she has one gorgeous, bright-red bowl of Sweet Red Pepper Soup with her. Kim wrote this soup recipe for all her Twitter friends in the South and Midwest who were complaining about how cold they were with all the nasty weather the cold fronts were bringing them. Lucky friends to have Kim come to the rescue! This flavorful sweet-tart soup is sure to warm them right up.

Another bright and beautiful soup is this Creamy Carrot Curry Soup from the terrific Abigail at mamatouille. A thick, golden orange blend of curry, carrots and yogurt, from one of her favorite cookbooks, this soup recipe is from Germany where it is called Mohrrubensuppe. Abigail wisely triples or quadruples this delicious recipe to freeze some for when the craving strikes and she doesn't feel like chopping and blending. Having such a gorgeous and yummy soup in the freezer would brighten my day.

Laura from Hey What's For Dinner Mom? is here with her take on Bean With Bacon soup. Laura was a fan of the Campbell's version of this classic soup growing up, until she read the label and realized she could do better and make it healthier for her kids (who have never had Campbell's soup), so she created her own. Happy with her more natural version, she's confident that it tastes better too. Looking at the ingredient list and reading about the careful, slow cooking it goes through, I have no doubt she is right! 

Another fan of the beans is Joie de Vivre, who created this Tuscan Style Chickpea Soup that turned out to be one of the best soups she has had in awhile. Chickpeas, potatoes, spinach and chunks of polish sausage made this soup a wonderful dinner with the Whole Wheat Pane di Como she made the day before. Joie de vivre has been following the French custom of a heavier meal at lunch and a lighter meal at dinner and I think a delicious soup is the perfect way to go! 

My good blogger friend Suzie from Munch & Nibble is back from vacation with another refreshing cold soup to share.  For those of you who don't know Suzie, she is in Sydney, and the weather there is hot right now, so rather than warming up, she is looking to cool down with a fabulous, elegant Ajo Blanco or Chilled Almond Soup with Grape Granita. This isn't your everyday soup and requires some effort to make but the results are worth it. What a great combination of flavors and textures--just looking at this icy soup makes me feel cool and relaxed!

Reeni from Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice is going the opposite of cool and refreshing with her hot and spicy Chicken Taco Soup.  She made this fun, taco in a bowl to use up some rotisserie chicken and soon to expire spinach and was delighted with the results. Flavorful with a nice wallop of spice and a great creamy texture from the refried black beans. In her own words this soup was "gratifying, comforting and most of all, lip smacking good!"

Although not the soup she thought it was going to be based on the description in her pressure cooker's recipe book, my foodie friend Andrea from Nummy Kitchen, really liked the Pressure Cooker Vegetable Soup she made. It was billed in the book as "Easy Corn Chowder" but the veggies and wide egg noodles were unlike any chowder she had seen. In any case, Andrea found it delicious, and it made the perfect lunch, especially accompanied by the cute little Sour Cream Cornbread "Loafies" she made.

Sometimes rather than finding something to go with a soup, you need the right soup to go with something special you made. That's the case with the incredible croissants that my friend Natashya from Living In the Kitchen With Puppies, made this week. Needing a soup that was delicate but rich enough to pair with her buttery croissants, she found one in this  Cream of Celery Soup with Pecans and Blue Cheese. The decadent soup, those fabulous buttery croissants and a little white wine made an elegant and delicious meal. 

Wow! Another fantastic range of delicious soup offerings out there. Thanks to all of my friends for sharing their creations at Souper Sundays. Take some time to check out their soup posts for more details on their soups and explore the rest of their blogs too. 

If you want to join us and share a soup or soup-like creation on a Souper Sunday, you can find all the details by clicking the Souper Sunday logo on the side bar.

Have a wonderful week and Happy Year of the Ox!


  1. I'm so glad you're getting great response on this round-up! I've been having so much fun! In fact, I'm making soup tonight for next week's round-up. :)

  2. Ooooh, they all look SO yummy! I don't think I could pick a favorite.

  3. This Souper Sunday is really a fun roundup event. I'll just have to start making more soup! Love your Greek Bean Soup recipe.

  4. Your soup, and all the soups, looks great! Perfect for the cooler weather we've been having here. Thanks for sharing.

  5. What an awesome range of soups! It really shows how versatile soup is when you see so many different ones together. You did a fabulous job on the round-up, it looks like a lot of work to put it all together. Thanks!

  6. another great round-up! hope everyone is staying warm!

  7. Souper round-up!
    I am loving this Greek bean soup - but who wants to forgo the feta and olive oil? Just put their portion on mine!
    Am I allowed to repeat one of your soups for souper sunday? :)

  8. What a delicious soup collection. Thanks for all the work

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  9. All of the soups look delicious! Thanks for including me in the round-up :) I'm intrigued by the 12 Best Foods Cookbook, I'll have to add it to my want list. Interesting onions are on the best foods list, I wouldn't have guessed that. Your soup looks great, love the feta on top and love the giant lima beans!

  10. Another great looking bunch of soups! I can't read these roundups without wanting to put soup on the menu every night!

  11. I am so happy for you that "souper sundays" is really taking off. Thanks for your inspiration and hard work. Looking forward to the colder weather when I can start exploring warm soups again!

  12. Lovely roundup Deb. Sorry I didn't make it this week.


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