Tuscan bean vegetable soup with mint olive salsa

The salsa adds a real boost of flavour to this soup, but it is also lovely without it. You can also use the salsa as a dip or as a topping for grilled fish or vegetables.

100 g C/2 cup) dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight 1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 L (8 cups) Chicken or Vegetable Stock (page 159)

4 cloves garlic, chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

6 egg (Roma) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm chunks

200 g green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces

MINT & OLIVE SALSA

100 g Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped 4 green (spring) onions, chopped V2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp lemon juice

To make Mint & Olive Salsa, combine all ingredients in a small food processor and process until just smooth, then season to taste.

Cook drained cannellini beans, uncovered, in simmering water about 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook onion over low heat until soft, adding a little stock if onion is sticking to pan. Add stock, garlic, carrots, celery, tomatoes and potatoes, season to taste and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat about 35 minutes until vegetables are just tender. Add cooked cannellini beans, and green beans and simmer another 15 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve topped with a spoon of Mint & Olive Salsa.

SERVES 6-8

Salsa can be made 3 hours ahead. Will keep, covered, in refrigerator.

pumpkin & garlic soup with smoked tofu

You will find smoked tofu at health food stores, but if it's not available you can use spicy tofu or plain tofu. Grate it coarsely or shave it with a vegetable peeler.

4 slices gluten-free, rye or spelt bread, crusts removed 1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 L (8 cups) Chicken or Vegetable Stock (page 159)

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 kg pumpkin, peeled and chopped 80 g firm smoked tofu, shaved or coarsely grated

2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Cut bread into 1 cm pieces, place on an oven tray and bake at 200°C for 10 minutes or until crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook onion over low heat until soft, adding a little stock if onion is sticking to pan. Add stock, garlic and pumpkin, then simmer, uncovered, about 40 minutes or until pumpkin is very soft. Remove from heat and puree mixture in a food processor, in batches, until smooth or use a hand blender to puree soup in pan. Season to taste and reheat.

Ladle soup into bowls and serve topped with croutons, tofu and coriander leaves, and drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil.

SERVES 4

Soup and croutons can be made a day ahead. Soup will keep, covered, in refrigerator, croutons in an airtight container.

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