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Mediterranean Bean Soup

Yield: Serves 6. Each serving: 1 cup.



2 cups dried white beans, soaked and drained
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
4 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped parsley (plus more for garnish)

Soak beans overnight or use the fast soak method (cover with water, bring to a boil then soak one hour). In heavy 3-qt soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, carrots and garlic until vegetables are golden, about 5 minutes. Add drained beans and water to stockpot; add thyme, bay leaf and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat until the beans are soft, about 1-1/2 hours; add more water as needed. Add broth and parsley toward the end of cooking. For thicker soup, remove about 1-1/2 cups of beans, puree in food processor or blender, and return to pot. For thinner soup, add hot water (or diced, no-salt-added tomatoes). Serve soup hot with a little chopped parsley on top for garnish.