By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Photo credit: Yana Gayvoronskaya @123.rf
If you’re looking for a warming winter soup that basically makes itself, have I got the recipe for you! This white bean soup made with cannellini beans fills the house with delicious smells and your belly with a nutritious, hearty meal that offers a ton of health benefits. The best part is, you can set it and forget it – just throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker and come back hours later to a perfectly cooked soup with leftovers to spare!
Cannellini Bean Soup with Rosemary and Balsamic
Creamy in texture, cannellini beans have a mild and light flavor and pair beautifully with aromatic herbs like rosemary and basil. While we use Rosemary Olive Oil to flavor this soup, Basil Olive Oil could work equally as well. A sprig of fresh rosemary or basil leaves makes a lovely garnish.
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
- 2 large celery stalks, diced (roughly 1 cup)
- 1 lb dried cannellini beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for vegan soup)
- Savory Salt Blend
- Pepper Juniper Blend
- Rosemary Olive Oil
- Organic Balsamic Vinegar
Heat Rosemary olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and celery in it until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes. Place cooked veggies and Rosemary Olive Oil mixture in a slow cooker, then add chicken (or vegetable) broth and dried beans. Slow cook soup on high 8 hours or low 10 hours. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Remove a few cups of beans and set aside. Puree rest of beans with a handheld immersion blender then add whole beans back in for texture. Season with Savory Salt Blend and Pepper Juniper Blend, to taste. Serve each bowl of soup with a drizzle of Rosemary Olive Oil and Organic Balsamic Vinegar to taste.
Benefits of Beans
In addition to being a simple-to-make and satiating meal, this soup’s got a secret weapon…
Beans are a good source of magnesium, a nutrient that’s essential for healthy heart rhythm, blood pressure and arterial and muscle function. Our bodies actually use magnesium for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and we need it to make energy, or ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecules. Unfortunately, many of us are sorely lacking this vital mineral in our diets. Additionally, our bodies’ magnesium supplies are often drained by outside factors like stress, environmental toxins and many prescription drugs. Processed foods also don’t help in this regard, since they usually lack nutrients we need for optimal bodily functioning and good health.
If you’re magnesium deficient, your body will usually let you know through tell-tale signs like muscle cramps, high blood pressure, fatigue, and even depression. Beans are a terrific way to get your magnesium quota, as are seeds, nuts, and leafy greens. If you’re deficient, I also recommend taking a broad-spectrum magnesium supplement.
Magnesium can also reduce high triglyceride levels, which are associated with heart disease, obesity, stroke and diabetic complications. Triglycerides the most common form of fat in the body. When too many of our calories come from processed carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol, our body stores triglycerides as fat instead of using them for energy. Magnesium helps the body produce an enzyme that breaks down triglycerides circulating in your bloodstream into fatty acids so tissues can use them more efficiently.
Besides their magnesium content, beans also have cancer-fighting properties. Research continues to show that eating legumes reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Women benefit, too – legumes contain substances that the body converts into lignans, which are compounds that protect against estrogen-related cancers. Studies have shown that women with high levels of lignans in breast tissue are less likely to develop breast cancer.
It’s no wonder legumes are high on my list of Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean “PAMM” diet foods! While too high in carbohydrate content to be considered a safe keto food, beans are healthy carbs…they also contain protein and a lot of fiber, both of which help keep you feeling full so you’re less prone to mindless snacking. Beans can help you maintain a healthy weight, and their fiber content keep your digestive process moving smoothly (add in magnesium’s natural constipation-relieving effects and everything’s going to work better in that department).
All in all, beans are a wonderful, readily available and easy way to get vital nutrients that promote a healthy body, heart and digestive system all the way down to the cellular level. It doesn’t hurt that they’re hearty and delicious – I hope this beautifully simple cannellini white bean soup becomes a regular in your meal rotation no matter the time of year!
- Sinatra ST. Magnesium-Rich Foods. HeartMD Institute.com, last accessed February 3, 2020 at https://heartmdinstitute.com/diet-nutrition/foods-that-can-raise-magnesium-levels/
- Sinatra ST. Low on Magnesium? Here are 5 Signs. HeartMD Institute.com, last accessed February 3, 2020 at https://heartmdinstitute.com/heart-health/low-magnesium-5-signs/
- Sinatra ST. What Are Triglycerides? HeartMD Institute.com, last accessed February 3, 2020 at https://heartmdinstitute.com/heart-health/cardiovascular-disease-heart-conditions/what-are-triglycerides/
© 2020 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.