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]

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Serves

3-4

Cooking Time

90

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Ingredients

  • 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
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Preparation

  1. 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.
  2. Transfer the beans and any remaining cooking liquid to a bowl and mash until about half-broken. Discard the bay leaf. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Ladle soup and bread into individual serving bowls. Garnish with basil and serve hot.
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