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Divas on a Dime: A cozy soup to warm your chilly days

Few things bring more comfort than settling in with a big bowl of soup after a long winter’s day.

I’ve been on a soup kick lately. Partly because of our wintry weather but also for the convenience of having a pot of soup waiting in my fridge for dinner, lunch or a quick pick-me-up anytime.

This hearty, Italian-inspired soup is simple to make but the flavors combine to make a luscious, filling meal. Brimming with spinach, carrot and creamy white beans as protein, it’s certainly healthy. This soup goes from start to bowl in about 35 minutes. So, add speedy to the list of praises. Add a chunk of thick crusty bread to dunk and you’ve got comfort in a bowl.

This recipe is meat-free. To make it vegetarian, use vegetable stock, to make it vegan omit the parmesan cheese. If you’re a meat eater, some cooked shredded chicken or crumbled Italian or andouille sausage would go beautifully in this soup. But it doesn’t need it. My carnivorous family didn’t realize it was meatless until I pointed it out.

You see, the soup is so colorful and flavorful, the mouthfeel is velvety and unctuous, and the parmesan gives it the umami sensation that is so satisfying, who needs meat?

Easy Tuscan Spinach

and White Bean Soup

Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings

Time: 35 minutes

What You’ll Need:

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium carrots, sliced

1 small purple onion, sliced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

3 (15 ounce) cans great northern or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

3 (15 ounce) cans reduced-sodium broth, chicken or vegetable

2 cups water

1 (12 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 lemon – sliced – (optional and controversial)

Crusty bread (optional but highly recommended)

Here’s How:

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the carrots for two minutes. Add onion and continue to cook for two more minutes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the veggies as they cook. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant.

Add beans and Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Add broth, water and spinach and bring to boiling. Add orzo and reduce heat to medium low; simmer, uncovered, 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and add parmesan, stirring to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle into bowls along with a slice of lemon to squeeze into the soup*. (See note below) Serve with crusty bread.

Note* - My family and taste testers were divided. Passionately divided. Some loved the lemon, some not so much. Everyone said the lemon added a brightness, but some liked the soup just as much without it. Obviously, I loved it, or it wouldn’t be included with this recipe. Because … Diva. So, do your own taste test and see what you think.

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal Meets Fabulous! Blog - www.divasonadime.com. Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom

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