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Tuscan Bean Soup

Active Time: 25 minutes • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes • Serves: 4

4 slices Schnucks hardwood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 bay leaf
1 medium yellow onion (about 6 ounces), finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) less-sodium chicken broth (3-1/2 cups)
1 can (16 ounces) reduced sodium garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) Schnucks dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) Schnucks great Northern white beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low sodium tomato juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish (optional)
freshly grated Romano cheese (optional)

1. In 4- to 5-quart saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Stir in celery, carrots, bay leaf and onion and cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes or until celery is tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in broth, beans and tomato juice; cover and heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf; stir in lemon juice and pepper. Makes about 9 cups.

3. Ladle soup into soup bowls; sprinkle with parsley and cheese, if desired.

Each serving: about 474 calories, 16 g total fat (5 g saturated),
15 mg cholesterol, 1410 mg sodium, 64 g carbohydrate,
18 g fiber, 21 g protein

Cook’s Wisdom

To make a vegetarian version of this soup, in step 1, omit the bacon and cook vegetables in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.