A meal in a bowl canellini bean, leek, fennel and noodle soup

by sophie on April 8, 2013 · 11 comments

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It snowed here again last week (in April!) so we’re still cooking wintery food and dreaming of fresh tomatoes and summer berries. On the stove are hearty soups like this one made of tomato, fennel, beans, leeks and wholewheat noodles providing a complete meal in a bowl.

There are two types of soup in the world, the sort that needs a good chunk of bread and the sort that is a complete meal in itself.  This soup is the latter type with at least 3 servings of veg per portion, wholegrain carbohydrate and plant-based protein from the cannellini beans.  As well as covering everything I look for in a balanced meal the combination of fibre, fluid and protein mean that the soup is really filling.

The recipe is completely inspired by a much loved ‘Chickpea and spinach soup’ from the 1st edition of An honest kitchen, a genius recipe which is much brightened by shoyu sauce and a handful of fresh mint.

It’s a very well though out recipe:

  • minimal pans are used, the noodles are just cooked by pouring hot water over and leaving them
  • shoyu sauce provides a complex salty note but with less sodium overall than adding salt
  • all of the ingredients are ones that we usually have in
  • You can swap in different fresh veg (I always try to include one from the allium family)

My version here keeps all of the cleverness of the original recipe but with ingredients well suited to a UK winter pantry, including parsley, the only soft herb to grow in my garden right the way through the Winter. Recipe étiquette is a tricky thing, but having just read Kathryn’s post on the Honest Kitchen blog on how much she enjoys seeing her and Lucy’s recipes tweaked and adapted, I think she will be more than happy to see her ideas put to good use.

chickens in the snow

chickens and snow

Recipe for meal in a bowl canellini bean, leek, fennel and noodle soup

Use a decent, not too sharp balsamic vinegar.  A spot of parsley wouldn't go amiss either but there's no need to buy some especially.  

Serves 2

1 nest of thin wholewheat noodles (about 50g)
1 medium leek
1 bulb fennel
1 400g can tomatoes
1tbsp olive oil
1 400g can cannellini beans, drained
1 tbsp shoyu sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A couple of handfuls of dark leafy salad greens
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Black pepper

Break the noodles into bite sized lengths and place in a bowl. Cover with freshly boiled water.

Slice the leek in half lengthways and then slice each half into thin ribbons.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the leeks on a medium heat for a few minutes, taking care not to colour them.  Cut the fennel into dice add to the leeks.

Once the leeks and fennel have both softened, add the tomatoes to the pan and then a tomato can full of water.  Cook for five minutes, barely simmering, then add the drained cannellini beans.

Cook for another five minutes then add the shoyu, black pepper, the noodles (roughly drained) and the rocket.  Heat for a couple of minutes longer to allow the flavours to mingle.

Add the balsamic vinegar.

Taste and add more black pepper and vinegar to suit your taste.

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