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Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Cooking
by Beverly Lynn Bennett & Ray Sammartano
This simple soup is a classic Italian comfort food packed with fiber, protein, calcium, and tons of flavor from the white beans and slightly bitter-tasting escarole.
Prep time: 5 to 7 minutes
Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes
Serving size: 1 cup
Yield: 6 servings


• 1 (1- to 1½-lb.) head escarole, coarsely chopped
• 2 TB. garlic, minced
• 1 TB. olive oil
• 3/4 tsp. dried basil
• 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
• 4 cups water or vegetable broth
• 1 (15-oz.) can cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
• Sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Vegan soy Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes

In a large pot, combine escarole, garlic, and olive oil, and sauté over medium heat, stirring often, for 2 or 3 minutes or until escarole begins to wilt. Add basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 1 minute longer.

2. Stir in water and cannellini beans. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until escarole is tender. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Top individual servings with vegan soy Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes as desired.

Variation: This soup can also be prepared using 2/3 cup dried white beans. Add an additional 2 cups water and simmer, covered, until beans are tender. For extra flavor, add 'A cup each diced onion, carrot, and celery, or 1 or 2 sliced vegetarian Italian-style sausages.

Definition: Escarole is a member of the endive family, which also includes curly endive and frisee, and is closely related to chicory and radicchio. It has dark green, broad, flat leaves, and like all endives, it has a slightly bitter flavor. Escarole is sometimes used in salads but is most often served sautéed, steamed, or added to soups or other cooked dishes.


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