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Healthy Recipes: Mediterranean White Bean and Spinach Soup

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Mediterranean White Bean and Spinach Soup

from the American Institute for Cancer Research

This wonderful soup combines a host of Mediterranean flavors including cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, commonly used in dishes from Tuscany. The balance of beans, vegetables and pasta make this soup warm and satisfying without being over filling.

The popular orange carrot originates from the ancient wild carrot. The first cultivated carrot may have been in Afghanistan around 800 CE. These early carrots included purple and yellow varieties (some of which are appearing in farmers’ markets today). Centuries later the cultivated carrot found its way to Europe where the orange carrot we enjoy today was bred. Carrots are packed with a fat-soluble antioxidant, beta-carotene which you’ll absorb better thanks to the olive oil in this recipe.

The rich red tomatoes and bright green spinach provide more color, flavor and the vitamins A and C. Together with the Italian spices and Parmesan cheese, these vegetables complete the Mediterranean quality of the dish.

For a quick midday or evening meal you could serve the soup with a turkey breast sandwich on 100 percent multigrain bread. If you have extra, this soup makes great leftovers.

Mediterranean Soup

Mediterranean White Bean and Spinach Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced finely
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes (fresh may be substituted)
  • 1 (14-oz) can no-salt added cannellini beans (any white bean may be substituted)
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • Dash freshly ground pepper
  • Dash red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 oz. small whole-wheat pasta shells
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 4 tsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic, carrots, and onions until the carrots are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add stock, tomatoes, beans, pasta shells, rosemary, Italian seasoning, and pepper to skillet. Bring to boil.

Add shells and cook 14 minutes. If soup is too thick simply add a bit more stock.

Stir in spinach and continue cooking until wilted.

Serve in soup bowls and sprinkle parmesan on top.

Makes 6 servings. Per Serving: 1 1/3 cups

Per serving: 199 calories, 4 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 32 g carbohydrate
10 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 85 mg sodium.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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