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October 30, 2009



Wow! This looks so good. Looks like a hearty, full meal. Any idea of the calorie damage? After reading an article here a couple weeks ago on calorie restriction and longevity, I'm trying to keep track of my calories. Not so easy!

The Healthy Librarian

I'm going to run it on "My Food Diary" software and report back! I don't think it's going to be that high--the "meatballs" and beans are the only foods with real calories--especially if you keep the oil down to 0-1 TBS.


You are the best!!


I made a half-recipe of this yesterday, and all I can say is WOW! I added a teaspoon of Italian seasoning blend and some fresh basil since my husband likes things spicy. I'm eating some leftover soup for lunch, and like so many soups, it's even better today. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.


I've become a lot more conscious about using canned beans after reading about the presence of Bisphenol A in the lining of most cans. Do you look for cans without Bisphenol A? I ask because I've pretty much stopped buying canned beans (even though they're quick and healthy) because I'm worried about toxicity and because the Eden Brands (without Bisphenol A) are too expensive.


When I have things together, I cook up big batches of beans and freeze them (very carefully) in half pint glass mason jars. Caveat: jars should be totally cool when placed in freezer and must not be filled to the top since the contents swell when frozen. I allow about an inch from the top.

The Healthy Librarian


I still use canned beans in spite of BPA in the liners--probably "not smart" on my part--but since I'm beyond having babies I'm not so worried.

That said, if you can muster up the time, as Linda said, it's super cheap, and very easy to make your own & freeze them.

Here's a bit about that from my "Staples for the Healthy Pantry" post.


OUT - Canned bean - except in emergencies (this would be a real hard habit to break!) And I'm still buying canned beans!

IN - Dried beans.

* More economical, better tasting, space saving and available in far more varieties.
* I don't think I've ever cooked dried beans, unless you count lentils or split peas. It means you have to plan a day ahead & it always seemed like too much trouble. But I think Bittman's on to something.
* First of all, all canned food, including most beans, have the "dread BPA" in their linings, not to mention they're loaded with sodium.
* Bittman says, "If you're not sold, try this: soak and cook a pound of white beans. Take some & finish with fresh chopped sage, garlic and good olive oil. Puree another cup or so with a boiled potato and lots of garlic. Mix some with a bit of cooking liquid, and add a can of tomatoes; some chopped celery, carrots and onion; cooked pasta; and cheese and call it Pasta Fagiole or minestrone. If there are any left, mix them with a can of olive-oil-packed tuna or sardines. And that's just white beans."
* I've got some beans soaking as I write this! According to Jane Brody the soaking method is more economical, produces a better product & gets rid of sugars that can cause the "dread gas". Here's how to do it: 6-8 cups of cold water for a pound. Soak overnight at room temperature, or at least 6-8 hours. Drain & rinse and you're ready to cook them. Place soaked beans and water in a pot. Add some onion, thyme, white wine, and a little olive oil. Simmer partially covered until beans are soft. Time will vary with age of beans. Allow 1 1/2 to 2 hours for steady simmer--longer if simmer is very gentle or intermittent. For step-by-step instructions, click here.

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The Healthy Librarian

Hi Linda,

So happy to hear you tried--and liked the soup. I definitely like your idea of adding basil & Italian spices. Don't you think it was so easy to make?


Yes, it was a quick, satisfying meal. I like to cook, and spend wayyyy too much time in the kitchen making things from scratch. I think I need a lot more recipes like this, since it puts my life in better balance. The day I made this soup, I actually had some time to go out for a nice walk with my husband. In all things, balance is the key.


Ever since you made this post, I have been making some form of it every week! Have you thought of putting Field Roast Italian Sausages in it? Absolutely fabulous!I had a "chili soup" recipe from the bad ol' days of Weight Loss Clinic that I have always enjoyed, as well.

Here's my question: I love putting spinach and kale in my soups and find it's a great way to get 'em in. But I wonder if it's better to eat them raw, or in a green smoothie?

The Healthy Librarian

Hi Kim,

I love this soup too! So glad to hear you're a fan of it. I like your idea of using the Field Roast Sausages in this--I'm definitely going to give it a try.

As for putting spinach & kale in soups--it's a great way to get your greens. Why only eat them raw? The taste & texture is great when they are cooked, and soup is such an efficient way of cooking & eating.

Re blending greens--this is from Dr. Joel Fuhrman:

"An even more efficient way to ensure you receive these needed nutrients is using a blender to puree raw, leafy greens. The blending process aids your body in the work of breaking down and assimilating nutrients. It guarantees that a higher percentage of nutrient will be absorbed into your bloodstream. If you add a glass of freshly squeezed vegetable juice to your diet periodically or daily, you can pump up your vegetable consumption easily and increase the availability and absorption of the anti-cancer phytochemical compounds."

Check out this post by dietitian Diana Dyer--a huge fan of kale. Her blog is 365 days of Kale! She is a cancer survivor. This post answers the question: How should I eat my kale, cooked or raw? But remember--raw isn't the same as "blended" in a VitaMix.


I love dried beans, especially Montelores Pinto Beans - 8 lbs for $4. 1 cup dry equals 2 cups cooked. Check out the book, "Easy Beans: Fast and Delicious Bean, Pea, and Lentil Recipes". It was life-changing for me. At the beginning of "Easy Bean" the author has a chart summarizing how long to cook various types of beans. Not all beans need to be pre-soaked (lentils, split). Those that do, soak them overnight or put the beans in a pot of water, bring to a boil, turn off, let sit for an hour. Pre-soaked or cooked beans can be frozen or used immediately. I always do more than I need at the time and freeze the rest. I was without a real stove for several years. I used a crock pot and froze leftovers. Put everything (or just beans and water) in the crock pot, turn it on, and when you come home it's done. I even did desserts in the crock pot :-) I'm wondering if the house was put into order and laundry done here-and-there during the week, what would Sunday feel like?
I count cleaning as exercise :-) Put on some loud music and workout clothes...

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