Italian White Bean Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil

Italian white bean soup

Soup is hearty, nourishing, and satisfying

Hearty and nourishing, Italian white bean soup is what you need to sustain you through a long work day, when taking care of children or nursing a baby, to refuel after a workout, or frankly anytime you want a satisfying meal. This plant-based soup is chock full of vitamins and minerals that are easy for your body to assimilate because all of the vegetables, beans, and sea salt are cooked together in a broth. Bean soups generally reheat well, so make a double or triple batch so that you can store some in the freezer and thaw it out for last-minute weeknight meals. I always add some fresh greens like baby spinach or kale when reheating my soup on the stove. It adds freshness and color to what would otherwise be a boring leftover meal.


Homemade or canned beans?

You can sub 2 cans of white beans for the homemade beans in this recipe, but it will not be as delicious. Homemade beans are truly wonderful, more digestible (when soaked, drained, and cooked with kombu) and flavorful than canned, but you do have to plan ahead. I usually soak a big batch of beans every week or two, and cook them until soft and season with sea salt. If you use a pressure cooker, it cuts down on the cooking time. I freeze whatever I’m not going to use in the next few days in quart-sized freezer bags. When it comes time to make a soup I thaw out a bag of beans instead of having to start from scratch. More detailed instructions on how to make beans from scratch are in my posts Homemade Black Beans and Macrobiotic-style Giant Peruvian Lima Beans.


Fresh ingredients are the key to a delicious soup

Choose ingredients that are fresh and full of life. If celery or carrots have gone limp, you can perk them up by cutting a little slice off the bottom of each vegetable and stand up in a quart-sized mason jar filled halfway with water. Within 30-60 minutes your vegetables should be rehydrated and ready to use. The last few years I’ve been growing fresh herbs in pots on my back porch. You can even put a little planter in a sunny windowsill if you don’t have a yard or porch to garden in. It’s amazing how much more delicious herbs are when picked right before you use them.


Learn how to prep veggies with skill and ease with my knife skills cooking video

Once you have a few knife skills under your belt it is so easy to whip together a big pot of soup. Check out my latest cooking video on how to slice and dice veggies for this soup here. In the video I show how to dice an onion into perfectly even pieces, how to slice a zucchini into half or quarter moons, how to dice carrots, and how to slice celery on the bias.

 

Italian White Bean Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian, Macrobiotic, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • Beans
  • 1 cup dried organic white beans (cannellini, navy, or giant white lima)
  • kombu, 1” square
  • spring or filtered water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Soup
  • 1 small yellow onion or sweet onion, diced
  • pinch unrefined sea salt
  • 1 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced in diagonals
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in quarter moons
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 4 cups water or vegetable stock (Imagine brand no-chicken vegetable stock
  • recommended)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • sea salt, to taste
Instructions
Beans
  1. Sort, rinse, and soak the beans in spring or filtered water overnight. When beans are rehydrated, discard the bean soaking water.
  2. In medium pot, add beans and enough water to cover beans by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Skim foam and add kombu. Cover, turn to low, and simmer until beans are tender. Season with sea salt and set aside. Alternatively, pressure cook white beans instead of boiling after skimming foam and adding kombu. Once beans are up to pressure with lid locked, turn to low and cook for about 15 minutes. Then turn off heat and let come down from pressure naturally before opening up pot.
Soup
  1. In medium-sized soup pot, sauté onion with a pinch of sea salt in olive oil until soft.
  2. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, and rosemary, and cook a few minutes more.
  3. Add cooked beans and water or stock. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until flavors are blended.
  4. Add basil and season with more sea salt, if needed.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley or other seasonal herbs and serve warm.
Variations
  1. Garnish with pieces of pan-fried dulse instead of parsley.
  2. When reheating, add a handful of baby spinach or kale.
  3. Make a large batch and freeze half to warm up later.
  4. Use chicken stock or chicken bone broth in place of the vegetable stock.
  5. Add 1 cup cooked shredded chicken for a heartier soup.

 

Watch these videos I made with Dr. Jonathan Schultz of Family First Chiropractic (Austin, TX) on making Italian White Bean Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil:

Italian White Bean Soup video:

 

Knife skills and veggie prep for Italian White Bean Soup video:

 

Related recipes on my blog:

Italian Chickpea Soup with Fusilli Pasta

Giant Peruvian Lima Beans

Homemade Black Bean

 

Upcoming Classes and Workshops:

I’m teaching the kids’ cooking classes at Con’ Olio Oils and Vinegars shop in the Arboretum (NW Austin) this summer! Please check out the schedule here.

For the schedule of classes at my home in SW Austin, click here.

For private and group classes, click here.

Corporate team building workshops centered around cooking and wellness:

Check out my web site for corporate team building and contact me if you have a group interested in doing a workshop with me!

Italian Chickpea Soup with Fusilli Pasta

Over the years, this Italian Chickpea Soup has been a family favorite and has always gone over well with children visiting our home.The addition of pasta makes the soup heartier, like a minestrone, and can definitely be considered a one-pot meal.

I recently had the opportunity to teach a cooking class at my daughter’s elementary classroom where I decided to serve the soup with pasta and bread, which was a real hit! An added bonus is how economical this recipe is. We made this recipe X4, which fed about 35 people, using all organic ingredients, for under $2 per person including soup, pasta, bread, and butter.

Day 1 of our cooking class involved walking to the grocery store, selecting our groceries, and carrying our groceries back in a wagon! When we got back to the classroom, we soaked the chickpeas so they would be ready to cook the following day.

Day 2 of our cooking class involved cooking the chickpeas in the pressure cooker, and slicing, dicing, and sautéing vegetables for the soup.

The secret to making this soup delicious is to make your chickpeas from scratch. Make your chickpeas in advance, as it takes a good 8-10 hours to rehydrate the dried chickpeas (I usually do this step overnight), and some more time to cook them. I use a pressure-cooker to make my chickpeas, but they can be made in a regular pot (it just takes longer). I recommend making a big batch of chickpeas and freezing some away in quart-sized freezer bags that you can use later on to make hummus or another batch of soup. Here is my recipe for Homemade Chickpeas.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Italian Chickpea Soup with Pasta
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Homemade Chickpeas or 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds or half moons
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into half or quarter moons
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 organic bay leaf
  • ½ cup fresh parsley or basil leaves, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (such as farfalle, fusilli, twists, wheels, or shells)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Follow instructions for making Homemade Chickpeas. Set chickpeas aside. Do not drain, as the chickpea cooking liquid will be used in the soup. If using canned chickpeas you will need to drain the liquid from the can.
  2. In 3- to 5-quart soup pot, sauté onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of sea salt for about 10 minutes over medium or medium-low heat. Add rosemary and stir to coat onions. Add another tablespoon olive oil, celery, carrot, and another pinch sea salt and sauté about 10 minutes more. Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add zucchini and sauté a minute more.
  3. Place chickpeas and chickpea cooking liquid into soup pot and add stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer until zucchini is soft, about 8 minutes. Add half of fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve pasta in soup bowls and pour chickpea soup over the pasta.
  5. Garnish each bowl with remaining fresh herbs and/or grated cheese (if using).
Notes:
  1. Make this recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free variety of pasta.
  2. If using canned chickpeas, add 3 cloves minced garlic along with carrots and celery.

By noon our cooking crew was ready to serve their homemade soup, pasta, and bread to the class.

Enjoy making soup on a cold winter day and share with some friends!

Creamy Polenta with Sweet Corn

This is the first recipe in a series of Healthy Comfort Foods for the Holidays! Corn polenta is full of complex carbohydrates, which will help stave off sugar cravings during the holiday season.

This is a soft-cooked polenta recipe that calls for more liquid than the typical polenta recipe. The result is a very soft, sweet, and creamy dish (with no milk or cream added!) that is easy to digest and popular with children and adults. I use 5 cups water to 1 cup polenta. Many recipes only use 2-3 cups water, leaving the polenta undercooked and gritty.

I recommend using a flame tamer or heat diffuser to prevent burning. If you don’t have one, just be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pot (like an enamel-coated cast iron pot) on a very low flame.

serving-polenta

At home we often eat polenta for breakfast with a sprinkle of iron-rich shiso powder and a side of greens or miso soup. But we also have it for lunch and dinner, perhaps topped with pesto, or eaten with a side of beans and avocado. It is an easy, nutritious item for child’s lunchbox that you can keep warm in a thermos, and leftovers are great heated up the next day.

polenta
Polenta with sweet corn and broccoli sprinkled with shiso powder

To warm up leftover polenta, heat up enough water to cover a small saucepan until simmering. Add the amount you’d like to heat up, turn to low, cover, and steam for 2 or 3 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit until ready to eat. Stir to mix any remaining water in the bottom of the pan. For a greener variation, add some chopped broccoli or kale greens to the simmering water before adding the polenta.

polenta-broccoli
Isabel making polenta with chopped broccoli

corn polenta

I recently made this dish for a friend who is undergoing cancer treatment and needs foods that are nourishing and easy to digest. She loved it!

Creamy Polenta with Sweet Corn
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Grain
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry corn polenta
  • 5 cups spring or filtered water, divided
  • ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt, or more to taste
  • kernels from 1 ear sweet corn or 1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or grass-fed butter (optional)
  • a few pinches shiso powder
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together polenta, 3 cups water, and sea salt.
  2. Turn heat to medium. Stir constantly while polenta comes to a boil to prevent sticking or clumping.
  3. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of water and sweet corn, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to prevent polenta from splattering.
  4. Lower heat, cover, and simmer with a flame tamer beneath pot for 20-30 minutes, or until polenta is thick, soft, and creamy.
  5. Stir in olive oil or butter, if desired. Season with additional sea salt if needed.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of shiso powder.
Variations
  1. Add finely chopped broccoli to the polenta during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  2. Serve with sautéed zucchini, mushrooms, or kale.
  3. Make in a pressure cooker by adding polenta, 5 cups water, sea salt, and corn all at once. Put pressure cooker lid on and bring up to pressure on medium heat. Turn to low and cook for 5 minutes more. Turn off heat and let come down from pressure naturally. Remove lid and stir in olive oil or butter, if desired.

 

Macrobiotic-Style Giant Peruvian Lima Beans

The macrobiotic way of making beans involves washing, sorting, and soaking dry beans, cooking slowly with kombu until soft, then seasoning with sea salt and sauteed vegetables (if desired) and simmering a while longer. These steps ensure that your beans will be soft, flavorful, and digestible. Once you master this technique, you can make any kind of bean from scratch. Just vary your seasonings depending on the bean. For example, try pinto beans with garlic, onion, and cilantro, garbanzo beans with garlic and parsley, or black-eyed peas with bay leaf, onion, celery, and carrot.

Macrobiotic-Style Giant Peruvian Lima Beans
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Bean Dish
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups giant Peruvian lima beans
  • spring or filtered water
  • 2 inch piece kombu
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
  • zest of ½ lemon (optional)
Instructions
  1. Sort through beans, 1 cup at a time on a large plate, Discard any pebbles, broken beans, or other debris. Rinse beans and drain into a colander.
  2. Place rinsed beans in a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of spring or filtered water. Let soak for 6-12 hours (or overnight).
  3. Drain water from soaked beans and place in heavy-bottomed pot with enough water to cover beans by 1-2 inches.
  4. Bring beans to a boil. Let simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes and skimming foam that comes to the surface with a fine mesh skimmer.
  5. Add kombu and garlic, turn heat to low, and put lid on pot. Leave lid cracked a little so that the pot does not boil over. Periodically check the water level to make sure beans do not cook dry. More water should be added as needed to keep water just above the level of the beans.
  6. Cook beans for about 60-90 minutes, or until soft throughout.
  7. Add sea salt and simmer another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve in a bowl garnished with parsley, red bell pepper, and lemon zest, if desired.
Variations
  1. Add sautéed onion to the beans during the last 30 minutes or so of cooking.
  2. Pressure cook beans for creamier consistency.
Notes
  1. Serve with corn polenta and homemade pesto.

 

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds

salad with fresh figs, avocado, marcona almonds

Mmmm… fresh figs! Late summer and early fall is the height of fig season. Right now in Austin, the grocery stores have been fully stocked with varieties of figs from California that range in color from dark purple to bright green on the outside, to various shades of pink on the inside. They are best when heavy, plump, unblemished, and slightly soft on the outside. Figs that are squishy are probably overripe. Check out this article to learn more about how to choose figs.

Varieties of ripe figs
Varieties of ripe figs. Photo Credit: Photo © Patrizia Savarese/Getty Images

In this recipe, I have chosen to marinate the fennel in citrus, olive oil, and salt before adding it to the salad. This slightly softens the fennel and makes it more flavorful. Fennel bulbs are easy to slice if you first trim the stems and fronds from the bulb, cut into quarters, and then thinly slice each quarter. If the stems are juicy and flavorful, they can also be thinly sliced and added to the marinade.

FennelTrim fennel root and stems. Cut in half.

fennel- quarteredCut each half in half.

Fennel-4Slice off the hard core from each fennel quarter. Slice thinly.

I recommend using a good quality, aged balsamic vinegar that is less acidic and slightly sweet. I used the Central Market brand Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena from Italy for this recipe. It costs about $16 and can be bought online or in the Austin Central Market stores.

balsamic vinegar

I used a tangerine-infused olive oil from Vom Faas specialty store. You can sub a good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can’t find this ingredient.

Be creative and try substituting ingredients that are seasonal in your area. For example, as winter approaches, pomegranates will be in season and can be used instead of figs. Mango can be used in place of oranges, celery for fennel, and toasted pecans for almonds.

Fresh Arugula and Fig Salad with Citrus Dressing and Marcona Almonds
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 small or ½ large fresh fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 cups mixed field greens with baby arugula
  • up to 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • up to 2 tablespoons citrus-infused olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 fresh figs, sliced in quarters
  • 1 small avocado, cut into chunks
  • slices of 1 orange or 2 clementines
  • ¼ cup Marcona almonds (toasted and salted)
  • black pepper, freshly ground (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together fennel, orange juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Allow fennel to marinate for at least 20 minutes. This step can also be done up to one day ahead, storing the fennel mixture covered in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad.
  2. Rinse and spin dry mixed greens. Spread evenly onto large platter or into large salad bowl.
  3. Drizzle greens with balsamic vinegar and citrus-infused olive oil. Top greens with marinated fennel, figs, avocado, orange or clementine slices, and Marcona almonds.
  4. Top with a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
Variation
  1. Use mango chunks in place of orange slices.

Salad at Sami & Lorraines (3)

Bon appetit!

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle

Make these for your next gathering of friends and family. Kids and adults will love them!

This recipe has been a hit when macrobiotic teacher and counselor David Briscoe teaches his “Macro-Vegan Italian Buffet” class to the professional students at The Natural Epicurean several times a year.

Almond-Orange Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle
 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal (ground flax seed)
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons coconut spread
  • ¾ cup maple sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, or soymilk (room temperature)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make 2 “flax eggs” by combining flax seed meal and water in a small bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until mixture is thick.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, almond flour, and baking powder. Add toasted, chopped almonds.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together coconut spread and maple syrup until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla, almond, and orange extracts, orange zest, and flax eggs. Stir to combine well.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and combine well by hand.
  6. Separate the dough into 2 halves. Using your hands, form 2 logs, each about 4 by 10 inches. Place each log on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, slice into ovals about an inch thick, place back onto cookie sheet, and bake again for 10-12 minutes. Cool biscotti on cooking rack.
  8. Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over very low heat with milk. When chips start to melt, remove from heat and whisk until smooth. While still warm, pour melted chocolate into small squeeze bottle (or Ziplock bag with a tiny piece of the corner cut off) and drizzle onto cooled biscotti. Work fast so that chocolate does not cool and become hard.
  9. Alternately, biscotti can be dipped into melted chocolate and coated with extra toasted almonds.

 

“The Great Stromboli” No-Tomato Sauce on No-Uh-Meat-Uh-Balls

A tomato-free sauce is served with vegan meatballs to create a delicious Italian feast! Serve over capellini or your favorite pasta. The secrets of this recipe are using fresh lemon juice to create the tangy tomato taste and fresh cooked beet puree for color. In studying macrobiotics, I have learned that nightshade vegetables (such as tomatoes) can cause inflammation in the body and aggravate conditions such as arthritis and IBS. This recipe is perfect for those trying to avoid nightshades that really miss eating Italian food!

My macrobiotic teacher and friend David Briscoe comes to Austin to teach at The Natural Epicurean for the macrobiotic unit I teach there four times a year. He treats us to this Macro-Vegan Italian Feast each time he comes, and it is always super delicious and packed with nourishment. These dishes are complex in flavor and nutrient-dense. I hope you’ll make the effort to try these recipes as they are truly special!

The sauce starts with a saute of onions, carrots, olive oil, herbs, spices, and garlic.

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After the vegetables are soft, they are pureed and returned to the pot for additional seasoning.

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Finally, a puree of steamed beets is added to create a beautiful tomato-like color.

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"The Great Stromboli" No-Tomato Sauce
 
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 1 cup beets, sliced into rounds
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin half moons
  • 1 clove minced garlic (optional to add more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups carrots, cut into thin diagonal slices
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons dry basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion granules or powder
  • spring or filtered water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 - 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 -2 tablespoons kuzu, dissolved in ¼ cup water
Instructions
  1. Steam beets until tender. Puree until smooth and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Saute the onions and garlic together in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add carrots, basil, oregano, and onion granules/powder. Continue to saute a few minutes.
  3. Add enough water to almost cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cook covered until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Do not allow the water to cook completely away.
  4. Put the cooked vegetables into a blender, and then add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE BEETS. Blend until smooth. Add more water to the ingredients in the blender so they will blend into a thick sauce.
  5. Place the blended ingredients in a pot. Slowly bring to a boil on a medium-low heat. Careful to avoid bubbling and splattering of the thick sauce. Reduce the heat. Slowly whisk in some of the pureed beets, until you create a reddish color like tomato sauce.
  6. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and/or lemon juice if needed.

These mushroom and brown rice meatballs are the perfect complement to the no-tomato sauce

IMG_3957IMG_2520

No-Uh-Meat-Uh-Balls
 
Pressure cooking the rice by far creates the best consistency for making these balls. Cook the rice with slightly more water to make it softer and stickier. Serve this on top of capellini or other pasta or solo, smothered in "The Great Stromboli" No-Tomato Sauce.
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12 meatballs
Ingredients
  • 3 cups pressure-cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup bread crumbs (Italian) or puffed brown rice
  • 2 cups sauteed, chopped portabella mushrooms, measured after sautéing
  • ½ cup chopped scallion, roots, white and green parts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons barley miso or red miso
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Break the walnuts into pieces. Warm the oil in a frying pan, and then add the walnuts. Saute briefly.
  3. Add the scallion. Saute briefly until the color turns a brighter green.
  4. Add the miso and saute it with the scallions until the miso is evenly distributed throughout the scallion. Remove from heat.
  5. Place the cooked rice, sauteed scallions, miso, walnuts, portabellas, parsely in a bowl. Mix well. Form the mixture into 1½ inch balls, cupping the mixture with your hands firmly like making a snowball.
  6. Test to make sure the balls hold their shape. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
Note:
  1. This recipe can be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free red miso (instead of barley miso) and puffed brown rice (instead of bread crumbs).

 

Add some fresh cooked pasta and a crisp salad and voila! An Italian Feast is born!

italian feast

Authentic Italian Pesto

Round out your summer Italian feast with some pasta and homemade basil pesto (recipe from Monica Pesoli of Cook Like An Italian)! For a dairy-free version, omit Parmesan cheese and add 2 teaspoons sweet white miso or 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar and sea salt to taste.

Authentic Italian Pesto
 
An authentic Italian pesto, versatile and delicious. This would traditionally be used as a pasta sauce, but would also be good on bruschetta, meats, fish, or vegetables. Recipe courtesy of Monica Pesoli of "Like an Italian" cooking classes, language instruction, and Italy tours.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups of basil leaves (no stems), tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, Montebello brand recommended
Instructions
  1. Use all organic ingredients to the greatest extent possible. Wash basil and parsley nonetheless; de-vein basil leaves w/ largest veins.
  2. Add to a blender parsley, half the oil, garlic, nuts, cheese, and some salt if desired. Puree with lid on.
  3. Turn off blender, and add all basil, drizzling remaining oil over leaves. With blender off and using a rubber spatula, help to direct leaves under the blades by forcing them down along the sides of the blender. With the lid on, pulse the blender switch a number of times, catching leaves in the blades to puree. Continue to alternate forcing leaves down the sides of the blender towards the blades (with blender off and lid removed), and pulsing blender switch with lid on to puree leaves.
  4. Pesto is ready when leaves are evenly pureed, but mixture still has some texture (with no leafy bits). Use as pasta topping/sauce or on a multitude of other foods!

 

White Bean and Tuna Salad (Insalata di Fagioli e Tonno)

We continue “Eat Your Way Through Summer” with a couple of tasty authentic Italian recipes by Monica Pesoli, owner of Like An Italian cooking and language school in Austin, Texas. If you haven’t met Monica yet, you must change that! For more information about her cooking classes, visit her Facebook page, Cook Like An Italian!

White Bean and Tuna Salad (Insalata di Fagioli e Tonno)
 
A hearty and flavorful side dish to be served with the second course, the meat course. Recipe is courtesy of Monica Pesoli, owner of "Like An Italian" cooking and language school in Austin, Texas. Monica recommends Montebello brand all organic olive oil and Cento brand tuna. Note: you must start this recipe the day before to allow the beans to soak overnight.
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
Beans
  • ½ lb. dried cannellini or navy beans
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
Salad
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 5.5-ounce can tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Soak beans overnight. Drain soaking water.
  2. Finely chop the onion. In a 4 quart pot, heat ghee to medium. Add onion and sauté 3-5 minutes.
  3. Two minutes before onion is translucent add garlic, oregano and drained beans. Sauté another 2 minutes.
  4. Add water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until tender (45–50 min), stirring often to prevent beans from sticking to bottom of pot.
  5. Drain beans, reserving ¼ cup of cooked liquid.
  6. Whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  7. Combine vinegar mixture with beans and reserved cooked liquid; transfer to a serving bowl.
  8. Top chunks of tuna, sprinkle with parsley.