A hearty and healthy Harvest Vegetable and Bean Soup, featuring lots of Fall vegetables.
We are having some beautiful Fall weather here in Muskoka. The leaves are changing colour quickly and despite frost in the mornings, the days are warming up to perfect sweater weather. It’s a great day for soup and what could be better than a soup that celebrates the wealth of fresh, local vegetables still available at the market.
This healthy harvest soup features white beans with onions, carrots, butternut squash, oven-roasted roma tomatoes and spinach. I sauteed a bit of pancetta with the vegetables, but that’s totally optional. In the background is a bit of heat, from a red chili pepper and some cayenne, along with some other herbs.
Cook’s Notes for Harvest Vegetable and Bean Soup
You can make this soup with vegetable or chicken broth. I prefer the chicken for the flavour, but vegetable broth is great for a vegetarian option.
If you have the time, you can cook dried white beans ahead or use canned, for a quicker soup. If you happen to have some left-over chicken, it would be a prefect addition to the pot. Serve this with a crusty bread for a hearty and healthy lunch or dinner.
Oh … one last thing. If you’d like a thicker soup, puree it a bit with an immersion blender (just a bit, so you still have some chunks of vegetables) or if you don’t have an immersion blender, remove about 2 cups, run through the blender and return to the soup.
Harvest Vegetable and Bean Soup
- 4-5 roma tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/3 cup pancetta or bacon, diced
- 1 red chili pepper cored, seeded and diced (can substitute jalapeno)
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 1/2 cups carrots diced
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash diced
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Chunk of Parmesan rind
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups cooked white/navy beans 2 cans, rinsed, if using canned beans
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Shaved Parmesan for garnish
Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut roma tomatoes in half and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes, until shriveled. Remove from oven. Allow to cool 10 minutes, then remove tomatoes to a cutting board. Peel off skin and chop roughly chop tomato flesh. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add pancetta and saute until mostly cooked. Add chili pepper, onion, carrots and squash. Cook, stirring regularly, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add chicken or vegetable broth, Parmesan rind and spices. (*If using canned beans, add them now). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer about 20-25 minutes, until the beans and vegetables are cooked. (*If using pre-cooked beans, add them now and cook until warmed.)
Note: If you'd like a thicker soup, puree the soup a bit in the pot with an immersion blender or remove about 2 cups, run through a blender lightly and then return it to the pot. Stir in the chopped, roasted tomatoes and spinach and cook, stirring, just until the tomatoes are warmed and the spinach is wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (be sure to salt sufficiently to really bring out the great flavours). Serve with shaved Parmesan.