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TGO is an organised and thrifty soul who likes to prepare a week’s worth of lunches on a Sunday afternoon. This week, he chose Navy Bean Soup as the first dish to try from The Natural Vegan Kitchen, by Christine Waltermyer. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of dish that makes you feel worthy for eating it, rather than excited.

The basic rundown of the recipe is:
• Cook carrot, celery, onion, garlic and oregano in a mix of water and oil
• Add vegetable broth (TGO used just water as is his usual way in cooking soups), navy beans (TGO used kidney beans as he didn’t manage to find navy beans at the store) and a bay leaf, and cover to simmer.
• The final step is to add kale (again, TGO was unsuccessful in finding kale but substituted another dark leafy green), diluted white miso, and liquid to desired consistency, and once more cover to simmer.

Navy_bean_soup_leafy_greensOur kale replacement - so vibrant!

TGO had trebled the recipe to make sufficient for his lunches, and there was enough leftover for at least a meal each as well. However, neither of us were greatly impressed with the final result.

I don’t think that swapping the beans or the leafy greens made an impact on the dish, but I would definitely have preferred it with vegetable broth instead of water to give it a bit more oomph. As it was, I added some trusty Herbamare seasoning salt to make my serving more palatable. There certainly wasn’t anything actively unpleasant about the taste, it was just a tad bland. As the heading indicates: healthy, but unremarkable.


There are three other dishes in this cookbook that TGO is wanting to try out in the near future: Moroccan Vegetable Stew over Couscous, Fettuccine with Chickpeas, Corn and Kale, and Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts. The first two sound pretty good to me but I’m a bit dubious about that last one!

Incidentally, it’s only when typing out that last paragraph that I ever noticed the ‘s’ on the end of ‘Brussels’… I’ve always thought of them as simply “brussel sprouts”. I love learning things like this! Interestingly, this page acknowledges both spelling options, and then swaps back and forth between the two within the one page!




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# Emily 2011-10-07 08:44
Although it might have been a bit bland, that soup still looks really good to me. Of course, this cold weather has me craving anything hot and hearty.
Happy Mofo'ing!
# Elizabeth-Veganthused 2011-10-07 11:22
G'day Emily, yeah I have to agree it looked the part. I think with vegetable stock it would have rated a lot higher but TGO prefers to cook with as little salt as possible. He adds freshly ground pepper to his servings so maybe that would pep things up a bit. (Pepper's too strong a flavour for me.)
FYI - the recipe also suggested blending half the soup and mixing through to make it seem a bit heartier.
# Chryl 2012-12-11 09:03
As a long-time bean afficianado, I can assure you that the bean substitution would make a big difference. Next time you can't find navy beans, subtitute with another small white bean variety, such as Cannellini or Great Northern beans. White beans have a much softer membrane and a creamier texture than kidney beans, and they make wonderful soups. I prefer to soak my beans overnight and cook until tender without salt (but with heaps of chopped onions, garlic,celery and spices), as cooking in salted water toughens the beans and makes them take longer to cook ... you can always add salt to taste at the end, and a small amount may do. I suggest mashing a portion of the beans at the end with a fine potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, which will make for a soup that is both creamy and chunky.
# Elizabeth-Veganthused 2013-02-01 14:39
Chryl, firstly thank you for your in depth and valuable comment, and secondly apologies for taking so long to approve it and reply. (This post explains the absence:
I really appreciate you sharing your bean knowledge and I am inspired to give this recipe another go with white beans and also vegie stock. (TGO has since made it a couple of times for his workday lunches but stuck with the kidney beans and just water.)
Thanks again! :)
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