Lemony Spinach and White Bean Soup
(serves 6-10 depending on serving size)
4 cups vegetable broth (you can also use chicken)
2-4 cups water (depending on how brothy you like it)
1 cup packed baby spinach
1 cup small-shaped pasta, such as ditalini
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup small white beans (cooked)
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for topping
1 tsp lemon zest + extra for topping
Salt and pepper to taste + extra for topping
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Cook the pasta separately, then set aside tossed with a little olive oil so it doesn't stick together. Heat the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in large pot, then add the garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add in the broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir in the white beans then bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the rest of the ingredients. Serve in bowls or mugs topped with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of lemon zest, and as much grated Parmesan as you like.
This is a very simple to make soup that is full of lots of fragrant ingredients. The garlic and lemon go together wonderfully, and are balanced nicely with the subtle flavor of the white beans and crisp green spinach. The garnishes really make this soup, so don't forget to add those or it's just not the same!
For older babies and toddlers, you can serve this soup up to them with a slotted ladle so they don't make a mess of or get burnt by the broth. The soup is full of yummy goodness to help a little one grow. Kids should like this soup too as it doesn't have too many spicy flavors, maybe just go easy on the pepper and add extra cheese ;)
Black pepper is normally taken for granted as a standard table top condiment that doesn't get much thought other than whether you're going to use it to spice up your food a bit or not. It may surprise to find out, then, that it's also full of lots of vitamins and minerals such as manganese, vitamin K, and iron. It can also aid in disgestion and has anioxidants and antibacterial properties. Using freshly ground will give you the most benefits!
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