I used to juice. Meaning, I used to think that the best way to get my detox on was with a bottle of marginally appetizing green juice - the extracts of green vegetables and maybe some herbs or even fruit to add taste and added nutrition. I would even embark on week-long juice fasts, hangrily slurping down sometimes refreshing, sometimes icky, and never satisfying concoctions which cost upwards of 10 bucks per bottle.
What I (of course) later learned was that these juices are packed with sugars and not as much nutrition as originally thought. And what about fiber? Protein? Yum?
Nowadays, when I feel I am in need of a reset, or if I want to lighten my calories, I whip up a high fiber vegetable soup, loaded with flavor and fragrance. This soup is chock full of good for you greens, fiber, and protein, and is nourishing and delicious. Sumac, Aleppo pepper, lemon and mint add depth of flavor, and silky butterbeans (baby limas) fortify. If you don’t have butterbeans available you can use chickpeas, northern, or white kidneys. Crunchy Parmesan croutons are an extra treat!
1 1/2 cups fresh butterbeans, or 3/4 cups dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup english (green) peas, fresh or frozen
1 medium head of broccoli, stems and crown roughly chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped fine
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Sumac
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
For the croutons:
2 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Fresh mint leaves, to garnish
If using fresh beans, cover with two inched of water and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, do not drain, and set aside. If using soaked beans, cover with two inches of water and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat, do not drain, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft, taking care not to burn the garlic, about 2 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock to the pot and raise the temperature to medium-high to bring to the simmer.
Add the peas, broccoli, lemon zest, and cilantro. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still bright in color. Turn off the heat. Add the Sumac and Aleppo pepper.
Puree the soup in the pot with a hand blender, or transfer the soup to a heat safe blender. Return to the soup pot, add salt and pepper to taste, and cover. Set aside.
To make the croutons, toss the breadcrumbs, olive oil, and parmesan together in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and toast in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, lightly tossing on the pan after 4 minutes. Toast until brown.
To serve the soup, bring back up to a simmer for a minute, just until hot. Ladle into bowls and top with the croutons and mint.