Lenten Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

The Lenten season is here, so I’m offering a vegetarian version
of one of my favorite soups. Hope you’ll like it!


Swiss chard and white bean soup

Lenten
Swiss Chard and White Bean Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 large bunch Swiss chard, thoroughly washed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. Aleppo red pepper (NOTE: ½ tsp. paprika with a dash of cayenne pepper
may be substituted)
½ tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
¼ tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. dried basil leaves, crushed, or to taste
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (or red pepper paste)
1- 16 oz. can diced tomatoes – including the liquid
4 cups water
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
Directions:
1. To prepare the Swiss chard:
      ~Trim the stems from the leaves and wash well.
Chop stems into small pieces.
      ~Thoroughly wash
each leaf of the chard to remove every particle of grit and sand. Remove thick
ribs from leaves. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside until ready to
use.


Step 2

2. In an 8 quart pot, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Sautė
onions, garlic, and Swiss chard stems until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Season with Aleppo red pepper, salt, pepper, and basil leaves. Stir in tomato
paste, diced tomatoes with their liquid, and 4 cups water. Cook about 10
minutes, stirring on occasion.


Step 3

3. Add the Swiss chard leaves, white beans and lemon
juice; continue cooking for about 20 minutes, or until chard leaves have wilted
and softened. Adjust seasonings according to your taste preference.

NOTE: The soup tastes better the next day, after flavors
have blended.

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