Saturday, July 17, 2010

White Bean and Vegetable Soup with Morels in a Tomato Base

Like most weekends we had a mid-day meal with my elderly omni parents today. This situation always pushes my culinary limits. It is not easy to make a healthy whole food plant based vegan meal that unhealthy omnivores will also enjoy. I rely on soups and salads often since those are healthy dishes that we can all agree on.

In keeping with the new information from the cancer lecture yesterday I have included mushrooms in our soup today. I did not list morels in the post yesterday but the message was that all mushrooms are protective but some maybe more than others. Since Dan loves morels, and we always have multiple packages in the pantry I though why not use those today.

In order to increase the nutrition in this soup I added a little turmeric. This is something I do often. I start with ¼ teaspoon stir it in, taste and keep adding until I can detect a hint of turmeric. Then I add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper since the piperine in the pepper makes the turmeric more bioavailable. This is just one of my “tricks” to enhance the nutrition of our food. Here is the soup I made:

White Bean and Vegetable Soup with Morels in a Tomato Base
Serves 6


1 cup dried white beans, presoaked and cooked until tender
½ ounce package dried morel mushrooms
2 cups water
28 ounces diced tomatoes, no salt
1 onion, peeled and finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
2 carrots, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
water to cover the soup ingredients by about ½ inch
4 cups finely shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper, to taste (if desired)


While the beans are cooking combine the dried mushrooms and water and microwave until the water just begins to boil. Allow the mushrooms to soak for 30 minutes so they soften completely.

Combine the beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrot, celery, spices and water and simmer over low heat. When the mushrooms are soft cut them into thin rings. Pour the mushroom soaking liquid through a fine wire strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth or a damp paper towel. Place this strained mushroom liquid into your soup pot.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking add the cabbage to the pot. You want it to be just tender, but not mushy.

Just before serving add the wine vinegar and stir to distribute. Taste the soup for seasonings and adjust to your taste.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 208.59
Calories From Fat (4%) - 8.89

Total Fat - 0.95g
Saturated Fat - 0.22g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 73.05mg
Potassium - 1091.17mg
Total Carbohydrates - 37.4g
Fiber - 11.53g
Sugar - 10.06g
Protein - 9.89g


While this isn’t something that you would think of as a summer dish it works if you are in the air conditioning. I was careful to not add too much turmeric and make the soup bitter. It did add a light yellow color to the beans. Paprika was added to tone down yellow color and that seemed to work well. Nutritional yeast was added until I could taste a little umami in the broth that reminds me of butter. If you add more the taste seems to go from butter to cheese, in my opinion. With this soup I wanted to stop with the note of butter.

What I liked is the soup was healthy, filling and didn’t require a lot of attention from me while it cooked. It is also nice to have some leftover for tomorrow. One of the benefits of making a pot of soup is that it always lasts more than one meal. Nothing like double duty cooking I always say.

To start the meal we had a simple salad of shredded romaine, shredded red cabbage, cucumber, shredded carrot, salsa, avocado and sun flower seeds. This was the first time I tried the concept of using salsa as salad dressing on my parents. Much to my surprise they both ate their entire salad and said it was good. I mention this for those of you that haven’t tried salsa as dressing. We think it works well, and it even gets the omni seal of approval. I will say I think adding the avocado helped the omnivores enjoy the salad more. ;-)

Unrelated note:

Sorry I bailed on Fun Facts Friday. Yesterday was far too busy at our house. I was lucky to accomplish half of my to-do list. Today has been a little more mellow, thankfully. Dan is still swamped at work but at least he is working from home, which is much better.

Yesterday I spent a bit of time on the phone with a friend talking about my favorite subject, nutrition. She asked me many questions about food and it gave me some good ideas for posts. I have decided to write a series of posts called “what is the matter with …..”. In those posts I will select one food and write about what I learned about the issues or concerns are about consuming that particular food. I thought some of you may find it interesting and other would enjoy reading the studies that I thought were noteworthy. Those posts are going to take me much longer to write with links to the studies since I will need to go back and find some of the studies again. I am mentioning this because if anyone is interesting in the science behind the health problems with a particular food let me know and I will add it to my list of topics.

Once I finish the series on which foods are to be avoided I may do another series on the foods we should all be eating and why. Whether I do that or not will depend on how long the first series takes to write and document. I would love to hear if you think this is a good idea or not. Please let me know.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. I will chat with you all again soon, either tonight or tomorrow.


  1. Love this soup recipe. This is a definite keeper! I love white beans in soups to begin with. This reminds of a Tuscan sort of soup.... Guess you'll you owe us a big Fun Facts Friday post next week ;-) Hope you're having a good weekend!

  2. Heather,

    I did drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on the serving for the parents and a sprinkle of sea salt. But Dan and I had ours as written and we enjoyed it. Now that you mention it, it is rather Tuscan bean soup like. There are no new recipe ideas you know, LOL.

    I will try to make next week a bigger Friday post.

    Thanks, it is a nice relaxing weekend. It looks like you are enjoying yours too! ;-)


  3. This soup sounds delicious
    --where do you get dried morels? I haven't actually looked for them, but will add them to my list. I bought the dried mushroom mix from Costco and am interested in any recipes you use them in (I need to do a search on your site).

    I love your idea about new posts on what to avoid and why. You go beyond the call of duty! But it sure is appreciated. If you'd like a special request, I could use a post on sugar! My sweet tooth has been back with a vengeance.

  4. Laura,

    The morels I buy are the "Melissa's" brand. I pick them up at Wegman's but I imagine Whole Foods has them. I have also seen dried morels in the "Fungus Amongst" brand. I imagine Amazon carries them.

    Sugar is a great idea. I just added it to my list. Sorry to hear your sweet tooth is on the rise.

    talk to you later,

  5. White beans are truly decadent! I love them in soup with tomatoes :)

  6. Tess,

    We agree completely with you on the white beans. They are favorite at our house.


  7. Ali, that soup look so warm and inviting. I think it's great, that although it can be challenging, that you have your parents over for meals often. I'm so glad that they ate everything up you made them. :-)

  8. When you want the cancer benefit of cinnamon or turmeric, etc., does it matter what kind you use? Like the regular spice bottles from a grocery store or something fresher? That salad looks pretty and delicious.

  9. It's great that your folks are enjoying the vegan all looks great. The salad looks especially yummy today.

  10. Your posts are usually so positive and affirming. How about keeping the upbeat energy flowing by instead writing a series: "What's so great about..."

  11. Blessed Mama,

    Being an only child I feel somewhat responsbile for my parents. I try to make certain they eat at least few healthy meals a week. My father loved salsa on the salad yesterday. I think we have a salsa salad dressing convert. That was exciting I thought. ;-) But I am easily amused.

    I left you a comment yesterday but it didn't show up. I think my husband was doing something with the net since yours wasn't the only one that disappeared/didn't show up. *rolls eyes* Congrats on your 15 pounds. That is very exciting news!


  12. Jenny,

    I buy regular cinnamon and turmeric from the grocery store. We go through so much of it ours doesn't really get a chance to go stale. But I agree that fresher must be better. ;-)

    The salad was very popular. I am still shocked my parents liked it without oil. ;-) They aren't exactly concered about health. In fact they are as unconcerned as I am concerned. *shakes head*

    I also left you a comment on the cheese spread application device. Brilliant idea. Sorry my comment didn't show up. I think Dan was doing something with the router, or some other device I don't understand. I really need to be more computer literate. LOL

    have a great Sunday,

  13. Rose,

    Thanks! I am always shocked when I can get them to eat my healthy cooking. They were always mostly okay with my less healthy vegan cooking, but as I have gottne more healthy I expect them to rebel. Thankfully that are still going with the flow. Dad loved the salsa for dressing. Can you believe it? That still amazes me.

    I hope you are having a great weekend,

  14. Heather,

    Sadly there are many vegan foods that aren't healthy and are in fact unhealthy. It took me a while to realize that and replace them with healthier foods. My intention is to explain what are the issues with these foods and give healthy substitutions. I think the posts will still be positive and empowering. After all we can't make changes if we don't know. But I understand your point and will keep it in mind when I am writing.


  15. Ali,

    I am excited about your "What's wrong with me" series!

    Thanks so much for your dedication.

    Your soup looks delicious. I don't think I know what morels look like?

    I like white beans too. I also agree salsa makes a great salad dressing. I enjoy a huge bed of greens topped with black beans, onions, carrots, avocado, and salsa! Delicious :)

    Thanks again for your hard work.

  16. Naina,

    Thank you so much for letting me know. I was hoping people would find it interesting to know what to avoid. I have been somewhat surprised to learn many of the health hazards of different foods. Initially I was a little overwhelmed by the things we needed to eliminate. But now that I have substitutes for everything it doesn't seem so daunting to cook, LOL.

    Salsa is probably my favorite salad dressing. I never thought my parents would enjoy it. My dad really shocked me with that one.

    Morels look like little brown chunky Christmas trees. They have a odd almost honecomb pattern on the cap. Since they are seasonal it is easier and cheaper to buy them dried.

    talk to you later,

  17. I will try to find some morels.
    I want to make this soup! :)

    You are so right, it is hard at first to give up so many foods. I also have come a long way.

    However, I think your up-coming posts will inspire me to new heights! I still need positive reinforcement daily. That is the reason I love your blog. You inspire me to do a better job of taking my health seriously. :)

  18. Naina,

    Awww, thank you so much. :-) What an incredibly sweet thing to say. You made my afternoon, seriously. That really means a lot to me.

    I only used morels because they are Dan's favorite mushroom. This soup would be good with any dried mushroom. I am particularly found of dried porcinis myself. ;-)

    enjoy what is left of your weekend,

  19. Depending on how long it takes to write the first list, I'd be very interested in seeing your "to be avoided" list. As always, thanks very much.

  20. Hi Jill,

    I thought you might be interested in the science behind why to avoid certain things. If there is anything specifically you are interested in let me know.


  21. Good Morning Laura,

    I think the dried mixed mushrooms would be great in here. Also the more the better. The bag of morelas was probably about 3/4 of cup when dried, but I think you could easily double that in the soup and it wouldn't be "too mushroomy" in flavor.

    hope you have a great Tuesday,


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