When Bibi was little her favourite joke went like this.
Customer in restaurant, pointing to his dish: ‘Waiter, what’s this?!’
Waiter: ‘Why, it’s bean soup, Sir.’
Customer: ‘I know it’s bean soup but what is it now?!’
Ho ho, how we laughed. Bean and been – to a child just learning to spell this was truly hilarious. Sad truth is, we still find it funny now…
Anyway, on to the bean soup. As you know, where possible we’re all about the fast and easy. Oh, and tasty. This fab soup fulfills all of those criteria and then some. It’s super-quick to make, great for freezing and has protein, carbs, fibre and several of your 5-a-day too. Plus it has Basil the Wonder Herb; for such pretty little leaves, cleverly anti-oxidant basil provides a mind-blowing range of valuable nutrients, including vitamins A and K, and iron. All this goodness from a soup that’s ready in 10 minutes.
We used Greek basil to make this – the leaves are more tightly packed and, if anything, it’s even more fabulously fragrant than the regular kind. If you can’t get Greek, the regular will do just fine though. As long as the basil is fresh, your soup will be a winner.
Easy Bean And Basil Soup
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Half teaspoon chili flakes or 1 small red chili, finely chopped
500ml vegetable stock
1 pack (about 30) fine beans
8 stems sprouting broccoli (or a small head of ordinary broccoli)
6 asparagus spears, sliced but with the tips left intact
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can canelloni beans
Large handful of fresh basil, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 Heat the oil and gently fry the garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the chili or chili flakes. Cook for another minute or so.
2 Add the beans and vegetable stock. Crush a few of the beans with a fork to thicken the stock slightly. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
3 Add the broccoli, asparagus and fine beans and cook for 5-6 minutes.
4 Add the basil and cook for another 3-4 minutes – just long enough to heat the basil and release its fabulous fragrance and flavour. The vegetables should still be slightly al dente.
5 Add salt and black pepper to taste.
6 That’s it! How easy?!
Serve with crusty bread or crackers.