Tuscan cuisine focuses on fresh, healthy ingredients and uncomplicated cooking techniques to make traditionally delicious fare. These are dishes—like this colourful mixed bean soup—that you can easily duplicate in your own kitchen.

Cook Smart for a Healthy Heart, Reader's Digest Canada

Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 3⁄4 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
1 large can (796 ml) no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (540 ml) red kidney beans
1 can (540 ml) pinto beans
1 can (540 ml) chickpeas
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes in purée, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the kidney and pinto beans and the chickpeas in a colander; rinse and drain. Stir them into the soup. Cook until the flavours develop, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Very coarsely purée about a quarter of the soup using a hand-held blender. Or transfer about 2 cups soup to a blender or food processor, very coarsely purée, and return to the pan. Serve 2 cups Tuscan mixed bean soup per person topped with 1 tablespoon of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
preparation time 25 mins
cooking time 30 mins
serves 6
Nutritional information

PER SERVING

250 calories
16 g protein
7 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
7 mg cholesterol
30 g total carbohydrate
10 g sugars
12 g fibre
848 mg sodium

Chunks of vegetables and plenty of beans make this soup rich in fibre. Beans are high in soluble fibre—the type that seems to control blood cholesterol in certain people by lowering LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). Carrots, celery and other vegetables contribute mostly insoluble fibre, which helps the intestines maintain regularity. Remember, canned beans have salt added, so be sure to rinse them several times before adding them to the saucepan.

Average: 3.1 (46 votes)

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