I love beans- there are more than a dozen different types of beans and lentils in my pantry at all times, and this was true even in my pre-vegan days. I love soaking them, sprouting them, cooking with them- and needless to say, I really love eating them.
Apart from the fact that beans are very, very healthy with tons of fiber and high-quality protein, what makes them so wonderful is how multifariously delicious they are. Black beans are robust and earthy and impart tons of flavor to any dish. Garbanzo beans are nutty and flavorful and easily assume centerstage when they are added to a recipe.
But white beans are extra-special: creamy and delicious in their own right, they are still happy to pass on the spotlight to any spices and flavorings you add to them.
In my Not-for-the-Faint-of-Heart Garlicky White Bean Soup, I used a whole bulb of garlic for a one-two flavor punch. You could reduce the amount if you prefer a milder taste, although I’d advise a minimum of at least six cloves.
You could also try roasting the garlic first to tamp down its pungency. To me, though, it is the garlic that makes this dish screaming hot.
This recipe requires a handful of ingredients, which makes it perfect for the busy cook. If you are using dry, not canned beans, though, remember to first soak the beans, at least for a couple of hours but preferably overnight. Soaking the beans breaks down the complex sugars that cause gas formation- a big reason some people shy away from these nutritious nuggets.
Accompanied by some rice or crusty bread, this soup spells comfort food. Believe me, there’s nothing better on a winter evening.
Not-for-the-Faint-of-Heart Garlicky White Bean Soup
1 cup of dry white beans soaked for a couple of hours or preferably overnight. Throw away the soaking liquid, cover the beans with fresh water, and cook until tender. You can substitute with two cups of canned beans, rinsed thoroughly.
1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine
12 cloves garlic, crushed into a paste or passed through a garlic press.
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup light coconut milk (can substitute with half regular coconut milk and half water)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and saute for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, ginger and wine. Let it cook, stirring a few times, until the liquid evaporates and the onion starts to change color.
Add the pepper, salt and beans with either 1 cup of the water they were cooked in, or 1 cup of plain water or vegetable stock. Mash the beans lightly with the back of a ladle to crush some of the beans, but leave some whole. This will help thicken the soup.
If the soup is too thick, add more water or stock.
Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and let the soup just warm through before turning off the heat.
Garnish with parsley and serve piping hot!