There is nothing better than warming up with a steaming hot bowl of soup on a frosty winter day. In addition to soup’s comforting effects that will make you pretty just by the enjoyable smile on your face, a small, tasty bowl of flavorful vegetable soup has some remarkable health and beauty benefits.
The broccoli, bean and leek soup recipe below is the best of all worlds: It’s easy to make with only nine ingredients (counting salt and pepper), costs under $1 per serving and is nutritious and delicious!
Nutrition Rock Stars
Not only does this soup win an award for flavor and texture, but it also contains many ingredients that are nutrition rock stars, such as broccoli and beans. In the world of culinary nutrition, there are not many other foods better than broccoli. This vegetable's bright green pigment alone is evidence of its high nutrient content that has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer and a stunning complexion.
Broccoli is listed on the American Institute for Cancer Research’s "foods that fight cancer." A 2011 study investigated the difference between nutrient metabolism and excretion when eating fresh broccoli sprouts compared to taking a broccoli supplement. The researchers observed lower levels of cancer-fighting compounds in those who consumed broccoli supplements. In other words, dish up a bowl of this nutrient-rich soup that provides the benefits of fresh broccoli with a taste that is to die for!
Another bonus of this soup is its protein content without containing any animal products. Cannellini beans are a whiter shade of kidney beans with notes of sweetness. They provide much of the plant-based protein, along with other important nutrients such as fiber and iron. Beans are a very affordable ingredient that are low in fat and calories but are also packed with beauty-enhancing nutrients. When using cannellini beans, strain them and then rinse with water to wash away excess sodium.
Broccoli, Cannelini Bean and Leek Soup Recipe
Makes 10 Servings—Serving Size: 1 cup
5 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cup sweet onion—small dice
2 teaspoon fresh garlic—minced
1 cup leeks—white part only, wash, medium dice (about 1 leek)
1 ½ cup cannellini beans—1/16 oz can, rinsed
1 lb broccoli florets
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
In a four quart pot, sauté onions on medium heat in olive oil until transparent. Add garlic and cook without browning while stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add diced leeks and sauté 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock, increase heat and bring to a simmer. Add cannellini beans and broccoli florets (or two 10-ounce packages of frozen broccoli florets) and simmer on medium heat until broccoli is lightly cooked but still crunchy. Add salt and pepper, turn off heat and blend with a vertical stick blender until completely pureed.
If you like, you can cook extra broccoli and add blanched broccoli florets for even more of the nutritious goodness.
Keep warm and enjoy adding flavor to your winter meals with this nutritious and delicious soup.
Brigid Titgemeier contributed to this article.
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