Using a Pot of Beans Part II: Almost-Instant Vegetable Bean Soup
This is a variation on a recipe from Jacques Pepin’s fabulous cookbook Fast Food My Way. If you like the idea of easy, fast, flavor-packed, healthy dinner ideas – yes, it delivers all of those things – I can’t recommend the book highly enough.
As the name implies, this light-yet-filling soup is on the table in less than 10 minutes. Jacques refers to it as “fridge soup.” I think of it as “a bowlful of health.” It is delicious.
Though the ingredients are few, the flavor is big. Punch it up even more with a generous grating of cheese to finish. If you happen to have anchovy or herb butter on hand, float a teaspoon or so on top (or drizzle with seriously fruity olive oil), grind plenty of black pepper over the whole, and be glad for fast, hot soup on a cold Minnesota day.
Riff on this basic concept to your heart and stomach’s content: Add neatly diced leftover roast, a shower of fresh herbs, a fried egg, cubes of firm tofu, a spoonful of kimchi, leftover rice, a squirt of sriracha, toasted croutons…if you can imagine it, it can be yours in mere minutes.
Almost-Instant Vegetable Bean Soup
Serves 2 (double or more as you like)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. grated vegetables (any combination of cauliflower, cabbage, shallot, carrot, fennel, broccoli, celery, radishes – whatever you have/like)
1/2 c. cooked beans
2 c. water
1 tsp. salt
freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese (or another that you have/like)
anchovy butter, herb butter, or extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in grated vegetables to coat with oil, then add water and salt. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for 2-3 minutes until vegetables are tender-crisp. Ladle into bowls and top with plenty of grated cheese, a pat of butter or drizzle of oil, and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.