This splendid soup is practically a meal in itself. It's a thick, rich stew laden with vegetables and beans, delicately seasoned... and there's bread "melted" into it. Is there anything more delicious?
Tuscan Bread Soup [Vegan]
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dried white navy beans, sorted and rinsed
- 4 to 5 cups spring or filtered water, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/2 small leek, split lengthwise, rinsed well, and diced
- Sea salt
- 1 to 2 carrots, diced
- 1 cup diced winter squash
- 3 to 4 fingerling potatoes, diced
- 1 to 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 cup diced green cabbage
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 1 yellow summer squash, diced
- 1 bunch dark leafy greens, such as kale or broccoli rabe, thinly sliced
- 4 to 5 slices stale wholegrain sourdough bread
- 3 to 4 sprigs basil, leaves removed, minced, for garnish
- Place the bay leaf in a heavy pot. Top with the beans and 3 cups of the water. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the beans are just tender, about 45 minutes.
- Transfer the beans and any remaining cooking liquid to a bowl and mash until about half-broken. Discard the bay leaf. Set aside.
- Set a soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil, onion, and leek. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the carrots, winter squash, potatoes, and a pinch of salt; sauté for 1 minute. Add the celery, cabbage, and a pinch of salt, and continue to sauté until the cabbage is limp. Add the remaining 1 to 2 cups water along with the mashed beans and their liquid. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the beans are quite soft, about 30 minutes. Remove a small amount of liquid and stir it together with the miso to dissolve.
- Stir the miso mixture, summer squash, and greens into the pot. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes to activate the enzymes in the miso.
- To assemble the soup, place a layer of bread slices on the bottom of a small soup tureen or heat-resistant casserole dish. Ladle a generous amount of soup over the bread. Repeat with another layer of bread and then soup. Continue layering until the tureen is full, finishing with a top layer of bread. Cover the tureen and allow the soup to stand for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.
- Ladle soup and bread into individual serving bowls. Garnish with basil and serve hot.