Thursday, January 17, 2013

Recipe (Re)creation: White Bean + Vegetable Soup with Pesto

This white bean + vegetable soup is the perfect antidote to the winter blues.  The recipe makes a decent quantity so it's well worth the effort.  I based it on this lovely recipe by Heidi Swanson, but adapted it to my own tastes.  I used chicken broth for added flavor and used kale since I had it on hand and happen to love it in soups.  Lastly, I sprinkled the top with shaved parmesan which melted perfectly and blended well with the pesto.  I served the soup with toasted english muffins topped with pesto and melted parmesan.  They tasted like healthy mini pesto pizzas and were perfect vessels for dipping in the soup.   This recipe will give you the perfect excuse to stay inside, warm up, and stir away all your troubles.

Serves 6-8

  • 12 oz. canned cannellini beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium leeks, trimmed and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped and drained 
  • 3 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan (optional)


-In a large soup pot, heat the oil on medium heat.
-Next, sauté the onion, leeks, celery and zucchini for about 5-7 minutes.
-Pour in the water and chicken broth and add the beans.
-Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
-Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 15 minutes.
-Lastly, add the kale and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
-Add salt to taste and ladle into soup bowls.
-Top with a generous dallop of pesto and sprinkle with shaved parmesan.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Restaurant (Re)creation: Nopa's Baked Butter Beans with Oregano, Breadcrumbs + Feta

Oh Nopa, how I love thee.  Leave it to Nopa to create the perfect comfort dish to warm you on these frigid San Francisco evenings (yes, we are still in California, but its seriously cold!)  Rather than using dried beans and soaking them, I decided to streamline the chef's recipe and use canned butter beans.  Please don't judge me for this substitution, but soaking dried beans just isn't in my weekday timeline.  I also decided to use fire roasted crushed tomatoes and basil pesto instead of cilantro pesto.  Anyhow, it all worked out great and my carnivorous husband devoured it with no complaints!  I mean, how can you not love baked beans, tomatoes, feta, breadcrumbs & pesto?  It's the culinary equivalent to a fireplace, cashmere blanket, and a good book.  You just can't put your fork down!

Serves 2-4


  • 1 14 oz can of butter beans
  • 1 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


-Drain and rinse the butter beans and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
-In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
-Add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until softened.
-Add the tomatoes, oregano, and water and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.
-Mix the butter beans and tomato sauce in a baking dish and sprinkle with feta.
-Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until cheese begin to bubble.
-Remove the dish from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
-Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small skillet and add the bread crumbs.
-Cook over high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
-Top the beans with a dollop of pesto and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.


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