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Cannellini, Tomato and Basil Soup

Did I mention that my favorite food group is soup? I love almost all soups, but a bean soup steals my heart every time. In this one, creamy cannellini beans come together with tomatoes and basil to create a great first course. And it freezes beautifully! 

Ingredients

Extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 red onion, diced
sea salt
generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2-3 stalks celery, diced
1-2 small zucchini, diced
5-6 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced, do not peel or seed
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed very well
1 bay leaf
4 cups spring or filtered water
4 teaspoons sweet white miso
3-4 sprigs fresh basil, finely shredded

Directions 
Place about 3 tablespoons oil, garlic and onion in a medium soup pot over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes and saute for 1-2 minutes. Stir in celery and zucchini, a pinch of salt and saute for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, a pinch of salt and saute for 1 minute.

Add beans, bay leaf and water, cover and bring to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to low and cook until beans are quite soft, about an hour. Remove a small amount of broth and puree miso. Stir into soup and simmer for 3-4 minutes to activate the enzymes, taking care not to boil (boiling destroys the enzymes in the miso). Stir in basil and serve. 

Makes 4-5 servings.

Note: In any recipe calling for dried beans, you can shorten your cooking time by using canned, organic beans, but understand that canned foods do not have the same 'vitality' as food that is fresh and cooked from scratch. 

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