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Good morning GUSbeans!  Well, I've finally given up on the dreadful Atkins diet which worked so well for me before.  I've lost squat and even gained a couple of pounds while eating ridiculously small portions.  So, now I'm going to try something more healthy based on Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live plan.  His "diet" is basically vegan, combining legumes, raw veggies, cooked veggies and fruit.  His 6 week crash diet is a bit extreme in the sense that there is zero oil or salt.  I'm guessing he doesn't care much for flavor.  

I certainly can reduce salt and I don't use a lot of oil anyway since good olive oil should be an accent in most dishes and sauteing should use only a titch of oil.  The trick will be to figure out salad dressings.

Sooo, today I'm offering some recipes with legumes.  Break out the Beano!

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I love soups in the cold weather.  One of my favorites has been kale soup which, before the Atkins disappointment, I would make creamy with cannellini beans.  These are an excellent substitute for cream and can be used in any veggie soup -- whether you leave them whole or puree.

Now that I will be using vegetable stocks, I am much more careful about saving stems and veggie bits.  I bag them and stick them in the freezer.  Once I get enough, I just gently simmer with some herbs.


Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

Ingredients

Large bunch of Kale, remove leaves from stem and spine, tear or chop
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1-2 tsps ground cumin or cumin seed (depends on your taste and it is optional)
2 cans cannellini beans drained or soak dried beans overnight
salt and pepper to taste

Throw all the ingredients except the beans if canned into a large pot and cook down until kale is tender.  If using the dried beans, you can add them after the soaking.  If using the canned beans, add during the last 15 minutes or so.

Once the kale looks tender, take the pot off of the heat and allow to cool to lukewarmish.  In small batches, using either a food processor or blender, puree the soup.  Return to pot, salt and pepper to taste and heat through.

If your liquid gets too low -- just add more broth or water.  

French Lentil Soup

    3 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil (I will use only a smear of oil and add broth to keep veggies from burning)
    2 cups chopped onions
    1 cup chopped celery stalks plus chopped celery leaves for garnish
    1 cup chopped carrots
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
    1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed, drained
    1 14 1/2–ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
    Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preparation

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium–high heat. [I will saute the veggies in a non-stick pan with just a smear of oil, then transfer veggies to large saucepan.]  Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with celery leaves.

Barley, Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup

Ingredients

    1 tablespoon olive oil [again, I'll use a smear and non-stick pan to start veggies]
    1 1/2 cups chopped onions
    1 1/2 cups chopped peeled carrots
    3 large garlic cloves, minced
    2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    10 cups (or more) vegetable broth
    2/3 cup pearl barley
    1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
    2/3 cup dried lentils

    4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 1/2 large bunch)
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Preparation

 Heat oil in heavy large nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in cumin; stir 30 seconds. Add 10 cups broth and barley; bring to boil. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and lentils; cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Add chard to soup; cover and simmer until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in dill. Season soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth, if desired.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

    6 cups vegetable broth
    2 cups dried green split peas, rinsed
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 cup chopped carrots
    2 celery ribs with leaves, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    5 tablespoons shredded carrots
    2 green onions, sliced

Directions

    In a large saucepan, combine the first nine ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until peas are tender, stirring occasionally.
    Add salt and pepper; simmer 10 minutes longer. Cool slightly. In small batches, puree soup in a blender; return to the pan. Heat for 5 minutes. Garnish with shredded carrots and green onions.

Kidney Bean Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or dry beans, soaked overnight)
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can stewed or diced tomatoes
salt, to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat, and warm olive oil.

Add chopped yellow onion, minced garlic, and chopped carrots; then cook, stirring as necessary, until tender (about 5 minutes).

Add chili powder and ground cumin; and cook, stirring constantly, for 60 seconds.

Add vegetable broth, 1 can of kidney beans, frozen whole kernel corn, and freshly ground black pepper; and bring to a boil.

While soup is heating, place stewed tomatoes and second can of kidney beans in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth; then add to soup.

Add salt to taste.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Let cool a bit before serving.

Remember, when using any dry beans or lentils, pick through them to make sure there aren't any stones or crappy looking legumes.  I admit to being too lazy at times -- but I will be more diligent going forward.  I will use mostly dried legumes since they are inexpensive and go a long way.  

Besides being a very filling and inexpensive food source, legumes are rich in fiber, anti-oxidents and other basic nutrients.  

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