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Creamy Roasted Garlic White Bean Soup

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When I think of soup like this, I think of snow storms, wool socks, oversized sweaters, and slow weekends. That description is something I LOVE in November/December, but late March? Not so much.

And yet…my hands are still chilled when I take the dog out. My boots are still on my feet and still covered with salt, and so here we are. Soup it is!

I’m hoping this is my last soup of the year, because I’d love to go out with a bang. To be honest, this is probably not a weekday soup. It could be, if you’re patient, but for me this is a long-simmer weekend soup. Those flavors get deep, the soup gets thick and super creamy (psst – without any dairy at all), and you cook dried beans during the simmer.

Yes, dried beans! This might be their first official appearance on the blog. For a long time I’ve been a canned bean person, because they’re so convenient and easy, but I have to admit that canned beans lose big time in terms of taste, texture and price.

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Several years ago I had my first run in with dried beans. I bought a huge bag of dried black beans, and soaked them overnight. I somehow missed the multiple online articles that tell you how to cook beans, so I literally thought you just soaked them until they were soft. Days went by and I pinched my hard beans, wondering what I was missing.

Ummm, past-world Katie: you have to cook those beans. Face palm.

Fortunately, I revisited the process and saw my (huge) error. Soak your beans, then cook your beans, and all will be right in the world. It’s really not that difficult, as long as you know what you’re making a day beforehand…that is something I’m trying to get better at all the time.

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For this soup, we roast garlic in the oven until deeply golden – you have time for this, because it can roast while your soup cooks. The base starts with olive oil, leek, carrot, celery, and a bit of sage. The dried beans go into the pot with a mix of salty, savory vegetable broth and creamy Silk Unsweetened Cashew Milk. Bring it all to a boil and let simmer for about an hour, stirring often.

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All dried beans cook differently, because the amount of time they need depends on several factors, including how long they were on the shelf. You’ll want to check them frequently after about 45 minutes of cooking. If your beans take longer, you may need to add a little more liquid – you can use water, broth, or more cashew milk.

After the beans are ready, I pureed a cup of the mixture along with the roasted garlic, and stirred it back in.

SO. CREAMY. Yet no cream (or dairy) to be found.

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If it’s going to be soup season for a little longer, I’m happy to have this luxurious soup. Also, if you are able to eat gluten, make sure to have some crusty grilled bread for dipping – so good!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for rubbing on the garlic
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaf
  • 1 cup dried navy beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (divided)
  • 2 cups Silk Unsweetened Cashew Miik
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste (I used ¼ teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. For the Garlic: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off of a head of garlic, so the top of each garlic clove is visible. Drizzle on a little olive oil (~½-1 teaspoon), and rub in with your fingers. Wrap in foil and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour, until golden (reference image in post).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and a small pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened (about 3 minutes). Stir in the carrots, celery and sage, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Pour in 2 cups of the broth (reserving ½ cup for later), along with the milk, pepper and beans. Boil over medium heat, uncovered, until beans are softened and soup is thickened. For me this took about 50 minutes, but all dried beans are different so taste as you go. If your soup takes longer than 50 minutes and you’re running low on liquid, add a little water (¼ cup at a time) as needed.
  4. Once the beans are tender, transfer one cup of the soup to a blender along with the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and 4-6 cloves of roasted garlic, and blend until smooth. Stir the blended soup back into the pot. Taste and add salt as needed to taste – I added about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.

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