I invented the recipe for Spinach Bean Soup in 2002 or 2003, one evening when we all had colds. I wanted to cook something warm and soothing — and quickly!
Years later, I shared this recipe with a group of moms, who liked it and fed it to their kids. Later on, to my surprise, TWO friends of theirs shared this recipe with me, not realizing that I had invented it. I was very pleased that people liked this recipe enough to share it!
There are two versions of this recipe. The first one takes only about twenty minutes to cook, but it uses storebought veggie broth. The second version takes a little longer, but uses no pre-made broth, so it is onion-free and garlic-free. (We have a person in my family who is sensitive to onion and garlic in my family.) I’ve made both versions many times — they are both easy and good, and a real favorite in my family.
Also below is my recipe for breadsticks made from Chebe dough. These gluten-free breadsticks are warm, and delicious. They are free of gluten, dairy and yeast, and are reminiscent of French bread. Chebe dough is originally from Brasil, where it is known as Pão de Queijo. Traditionally it is made from cheese and tapioca flour. My version has tapioca flour, but it is dairy-free and has no cheese. I use Chebe Mix to make the breadsticks, but I hope to someday find a recipe for making dairy-free Pão de Queijo from scratch, without a mix.
A soup tip: The last ingredient to go into the soup is frozen spinach. You can use it to control the temperature that the soup is served at. If you are like me and you like to eat soup that is medium-warm, the frozen spinach may put the soup at the perfect temperature for you without any additional heating.
- 1 quart (32 ounces) vegetable broth, such as Imagine No-Chicken broth or Pacific Vegetable Broth
- 3 tablespoons potato starch (or 1/4 cup flour)
- 1/4 cup canola and/or olive oil
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach (10 ounces)
- 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans or other beans, drained and rinsed
- optional: 3-4 tablespoons miso
- Put the potato starch (or flour) and oil into a soup pot. Stir them together.
- If you are using flour, heat and stir the mixture over medium heat until it gets thoroughly bubbly. If you are using potato starch, skip this step.
- Add all of the other ingredients to the pot, except the spinach and miso.
- Heat to boiling.
- If you are using miso: Scoop a few tablespoons of the soup into a coffee mug or bowl and stir in the miso. Turn off the heat under the soup pot. Pour the miso mixture back into the pot.
- Add spinach (still frozen is okay) to the pot. Heat to the desired temperature. Serve with bread, or Chebe breadsticks, and your favorite buttery spread, such as vegan Earth Balance spread. This soup is really yummy with bread or breadsticks dipped into it. See the recipe below for Chebe breadsticks.
Here is the recipe for Chebe Breadsticks:
- 3 packages of all-purpose Chebe Mix, or 4 1/2 cups if you buy it in bulk
- 6 eggs
- 6 tablespoons canola oil, olive oil, or a combination of the two
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Either place all ingredients in a food processor with the dough-kneading blade, or place them in a bowl.
- Knead until a smooth dough is formed.
- Roll the dough into a long log. Break it in half and keep rolling and dividing it in half, until you end up with sticks of dough that are about half an inch thick. I usually make them about 9 inches long, but you can make them whatever length you like.
- Place the sticks of dough on a cookie sheet, with a little space around each one so that they have room to expand as they bake. They will end up two to three times wider.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite butter-like spread.
Here is the recipe for the version of Spinach Bean Soup that does not use pre-made broth:
- 1 medium-sized potato, about 3 inches wide
- 6 baby carrots
- 1 stalk celery (optional)
- 3 tablespoons potato starch
- 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon each dried: thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach (10 ounces)
- 2 cans cannellini beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a food processor, blend the potato, carrots, celery, and rosemary.
- Add the potato starch and blend.
- Add the oil and a little of the water and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a soup pot.
- Use the rest of the water to rinse out the food processor and pour that into the soup pot.
- Add the herbs.
- Heat and stir until the mixture is warm and thickened.
- Add the spinach (still frozen is fine), cannellini beans, and salt.
- Stir, and heat to desired temperature.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve.
- This soup is really good with warm bread, or breadsticks (see recipe above for gluten-free Chebe breadsticks), with your choice of buttery-spread on the bread. We like to dip the bread in the soup -- yum!