Monday, 2 January 2017

Easy Ham and Cannellini Bean Soup (Gluten and Dairy Free)

A tasty, healthy soup that you can throw together for a nutritious light meal

Well, this was going to be ham and lentil soup, until I realised that my dried red lentils weren't actually gluten free (my daughter can't eat gluten) and I had to think of a quick substitute as things were already cooking away and I didn't want to waste my precious ham stock from cooking the Christmas ham (Knorr stock cubes are good too if you don't happen to have your own ham stock lying around)!

Luckily there are always various tins of beans in the cupboard here, so I substituted some cannellini beans in part of the broth so she could eat it, and put the lentils in the remainder (next blog!) for the rest of the family. You don't have to use cannellini beans, you could use butter beans, haricot or any other mild and creamy tasting white bean. It turned out really tasty, so I thought I'd share the recipe!

Serves four to six, from 93 calories per serving for a smaller portion (six smaller portions at around 250g each, or four larger portions at around 400g each - exact weight depends on how much liquid has evaporated overall) or 139 calories for a larger portion.

[Calories in square brackets, 1 tbsp is 15ml]
  • 1 small onion (80g) [33]
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil [62]
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped [6]
  • 1 carrot (110g) [29]
  • 1 celery stick (90g) [9]
  • 1 small leek (90g) [24]
  • 1 litre ham stock (you can get ham stock cubes, e.g. Knorr, which are gluten and dairy free) [50]
  • 350g cooked cannellini beans (e.g. 2 x 300g tins, 175g drained weight each) [343]

You could add a few sage leaves, or the leaves from a couple of sprigs of thyme or rosemary with the vegetables to add another dimension to the flavour of the soup. If you want to garnish it when serving, feel free to add a little swirl of cream, some chopped parsley or crispy fried sage leaves, some shredded ham or crispy bacon, whatever takes your fancy. Obviously garnishes are not included in the calorie count.

1. Chop the carrot, celery and leek into small dice (I find it easiest to cut into large chunks then throw into a food processor all together and pulse until chopped, e.g. Thermomix 2 Seconds / Speed 5, repeat if necessary), about 0.5cm, and set aside.If you haven't got a food processor and you're feeling lazy, just chop roughly and cook for longer.

2. Finely chop the onion, and saute in a large pan with the oil until softened. Add the other vegetables and garlic and continue to cook for another five minutes, stirring.

3. Add the stock to the pan, bring to the boil, and simmer for about eight to ten minutes until the vegetables are tender (test a bigger piece of carrot if you're not sure). Drain and rinse the cannellini beans, and add to the soup for a minute or two just to heat through.

4. Blitz the soup to your liking, using a stick blender, or liquidise in a food processor (Thermomix 2 Minutes / Speed 10 for a smooth soup) and serve. If you want a really silky smooth soup, you could sieve it after liquidising.

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