I have to admit something: I only discovered fresh beans this past Summer. I already knew they existed, of course, but I hadn’t ever explored using them in recipes. They’re a tad intimidating if you don’t know what to do with them, and shelling each pod can seem wholly unnecessary when canned beans are so readily available.
This got me thinking that perhaps I’m not the only one. Perhaps other people are also unfamiliar with fresh beans and confused about what to do with them.
I created this mini-series hoping to inspire others to give fresh beans a go and explore their deliciousness and versatility.
Below you will find the first of two recipes using fresh beans. The second recipe will be posted in the next few days so stay tuned for that.
These recipes are just two examples I hope will show you the diversity of this rarely used ingredient. Although they do not go together, both recipes create the centerpiece for a delicious and nutritious meal.
Warming Harvest Soup
I served this to my family on a chilly fall evening in late October. Soups are a staple in my kitchen appearing as soon as the first nip in the air is felt and remaining until the warm Spring breeze breathes life into the earth again.
This soup warms you from the inside like a big hug, relaxing your hunched shoulders and relieving your over-burdened digestive system.
The fresh beans add a creaminess and sweetness that is lost in their canned counterparts and provide both nourishment and substantiality to the soup. The sweet potato dissolves to create a rich broth and both the fresh and ground turmeric add a boost of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that benefit the digestive system and overall well being.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 shallots or small red onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large carrots
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 cups fresh beans, rinsed
- 1/2 veggie stock cube mixed with 2 cups boiling water
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 3-5 cups water
- 1 bayleaf
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 inch piece fresh turmeric root, finely grated
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, rinsed and thick stems removed
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over low heat. Add in the shallots and garlic and stir to coat them in oil. Let these cook down a bit as you prepare the other vegetables.
Scrub the carrots and slice them into rounds. Peel the sweet potato and cut into small cubes. The smaller these are, the faster they will dissolve in the broth. Slice the celery into thin half moons. Add all of these to your pot along with the rinsed beans and stir everything together. Cover the pot and let the vegetables simmer for a few minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your broth. Place the stock cube in a medium sized bowl or a large measuring cup and carefully pour in the boiling water. Wait a minute or so for the cube to dissolve and then add in the nutritional yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until the nutritional yeast and cube have fully dissolved.
Add the broth and the rest of the water to your pot and stir to combine. Depending on how watery or thick you like your soups, start with three cups of water and add in more as needed. Next add in the bay leaf and all of the spices except the salt and pepper and stir again.
Bring the soup to a boil with the top on. Then turn down the heat to simmer and allow to cook for about fifteen minutes, checking the veggies often.
While you wait chop your kale into small pieces and juice the lemon half.
Once the carrots can easily be pierced with a fork and the sweet potato has mostly dissolved into the liquid, turn off the heat and add the kale and lemon juice. Cover the pot and let the kale wilt in the residual heat for two to three minutes.
Finally, stir everything together and taste for flavor. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper if necessary.
Enjoy this soup with a side of warm, crusty bread. It is perfect for the colder months in front of a toasty fire.