Still Soup Weather

I can go for soup just about anytime during the year. It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 below zero or 80 above. However, most people prefer soup during the colder months, usually not the late spring and early summer months.

But here it is, the second week of June, and it’s still soup weather. This morning at exercise, one of my friends talked about making soup for supper. And others agreed it was a good day for soup.

With temperatures in the 30s and 40s in the morning and barely reaching 60 most days, this has been a crazy spring. I think we’ve had only one day where the temperature has reached 80 degrees. That’s very unusual.

I was in Minneapolis over the weekend, and it even was cold there, besides being wet. But I didn’t hear a lot of complaining about the weather, since it’s been so dry in southern Minnesota. People didn’t seem to mind the cold because the rain was much appreciated.

When I got back home, I decided some sort of soup was in order. An interesting recipe in an old Reader’s Digest caught my eye at my mother-in-law’s, which fit the bill perfectly.

I plan on sharing that recipe soon on the Herald food page in an article about recipes that contain three types of beans.

But today, here’s one for a hearty soup that can be ready in half an hour. It’s one of my favorites. And by the looks of the forecast for this week, it might be just what the doctor ordered. 

Pasta and Bean Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced yellow onion
½ cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
2½ cups canned low-sodium diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 cup sliced cabbage
2 ounces uncooked fusilli pasta (1 cup)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 cups fresh spinach, washed
1 cup rinsed and drained canned red beans
¼ pound lean smoked ham, cubed (about ¾ cup)
2 ounces shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (½ cup)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, cover and cook 5 minutes. Add cabbage and pasta. Raise heat and boil, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir vinegar into horseradish. Add to soup with spinach, beans and ham. Boil 1 to 2 minutes, until spinach is wilted. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 532 calories (22 percent from fat), 13.3 grams fat (3.4 grams saturated), 33 milligrams cholesterol, 34 grams protein, 73.1 grams carbohydrates, 16.8 grams fiber, 752 milligrams sodium.

Soupa Fasolia
16 ounces dried white beans
2 large onions, peeled and diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, diced
½ cup olive oil
1 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Soak beans overnight. Drain, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain and rinse again. Return to pot and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil until golden. Add to the beans with the tomatoes and their juice, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
Cover pot and simmer until soup has thickened and beans are tender, about 2 hours. Check often to avoid sticking, adding more water if necessary. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 434 calories (38 percent from fat), 18.9 grams fat (2.7 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 17.2 grams protein, 52.4 grams carbohydrates, 13.3 grams fiber, 109.2 milligrams sodium.