Even in early May here, days of cold rain make soup sound like a great idea. This one is hearty and good, and makes 4 servings, two for us when I make it, and two for a quick meal later in the week.
(For those of you new here, yes I’m the vegetarian– of 41 years– who now eats fish and bacon. The former gives me needed protein, and the later is the only thing I missed when giving up meat. Even having it on occasion, I feel I’m still making a contribution to this small planet by all the meat I do not eat.)
Regarding your vegetable broth, read the labels and pick one that is all vegetables with no additives.
Recipes like this are a great use of your Parmesan cheese rinds. I save them in the freezer for things like this.
White Bean Soup with Bacon and Parmesan Recipe
4 slices nitrate-free bacon, minced small
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
4 gloves garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Two 15oz cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 Parmesan cheese rind
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
grated zest of 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
chopped fresh parsley
drizzle of good olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I used both fine and large grate)
In a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat cook the bacon, stirring until it is almost cooked, about 4 minutes.
Add the onion, celery, garlic, pepper flakes, and cook, stirring until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the white wine vinegar and scrape up any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the beans, broth, Parmesan rind, rosemary, oregano, bay leaf, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and the Parmesan rind, and discard them.
Serve in bowls topped with a drizzle of great olive oil, a big pinch of chopped parsley, and freshly grated Parmesan.