Soup

 

 

Tuscan Leek & Bean Soup 

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Description:
Welcome those crisp winter days with a pot of hearty Tuscan bean soup. Leeks are a unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, the allium vegetables belong in your diet on a regular basis. Like their allium cousins, onions and garlic, let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking to enhance their health-promoting qualities.
A good source of dietary fiber, leeks also contain goodly amounts of folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Easier to digest than standard onions, leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties.
Leeks contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
Leeks are low in calories. 100 g fresh stalks contain 61 calories. Further, their elongated stalks provide good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities.
Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide (NO); thereby bring reduction in the total blood pressure. It also blocks platelet clot formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels, which helps decrease overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
Leeks are great source of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their leafy stems indeed contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions. 100 g fresh stalks provide 64 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Their adequate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
In addition, leeks are one of the good source of vitamin A (1667 IU or 55% of RDA per 100 g) and other flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, xanthin, and lutein. They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin C, K, and vitamin E. Vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Further, its stalks have small amounts of minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
Often overlooked in leeks is their important concentration of the B vitamin folate. Folate is present in leeks in one of its bioactive forms (5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or 5MTHF) and it is present throughout the plant (including the full leaf portion, not only the lower leaf and bulb).
Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help them to retain moisture.
Tips for Preparing Leeks - Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion. Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
With a more delicate and sweeter flavor than onions, leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Although leeks are available throughout the year they are in season from the fall through the early part of spring when they are at their best.


Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large leeks - remove dark green leaves and dice
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes - peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 - 6 cups vegetable stock or chicken broth
3 cups shredded white cabbage
1 can (14 oz) white kidney beans or Great Northern beans - drained
1 tbsp fresh oregano or fresh parsley - chopped fine
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


i Large pot
¼ Grated sheep Romano cheese


Directions:
In a large pot, sauté diced leeks and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add broth, diced potatoes, and cabbage. When vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes, add drained (rinsed) white kidney beans, herbs and salt and pepper.
Heat and stir another few minutes.

Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese.

Serve with a selection of gluten free breads or rolls.


Servings: 4


Special Diet: Vegetarian, High Protein


Category: Soup


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VEGETARIAN DIETS AND IRON
Are you a vegetarian or mostly a vegetarian? Our registered dietitian recommends consuming plenty of iron-rich plant foods such as lentils, kidney beans, black beans, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and whole grains. Iron-enriched products such as cereals and breads are also good sources. To enhance iron absorption, consume vitamin C-rich foods at the same time you eat iron-containing foods. These include strawberries, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and citrus fruits. By following these simple guidelines, most non-meat eaters will get enough iron.


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