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Lemony Herb and White Bean Soup

Okay. I first encountered this recipe on Instagram, where author and podcaster Liz Moody posted it. She called it the "soup version of the green smoothie". While that's not the creative direction in which I would have taken the copy, it's not an inaccurate description.

This soup is healthy, delicious, and vegan. It goes down just as well on a cold winter's night as it does on a light summer evening. The beans bring the brawn, but the lemon and fresh herbs lift this zesty concoction to something closer to gazpacho. Plus, because the ingredients aren't cooked for longer than it takes to warm the soup through, the nutrients packed into those fresh herbs aren't nuked to death.

I went through a serious phase with this soup. I think I made it five times in a row. Once you get over the unsettling realisation that you are, indeed, simply making a green smoothie and then heating it up, it's a joy to make. Right, I hope I've sold you on the soup. I'm about to tell you how to make it.

What you'll need from the shops:

  • Two cans of white beans (I used cannellini beans)

  • Two lemons

  • Garlic

  • Stock cubes (any flavour will do, though beef might come on a bit strong)

  • Loads of fresh herbs! My favourite combination for this soup is coriander, parsley, and mint - but get whatever is seasonal and to your taste

  • A loaf of fresh, crusty bread to serve on the side

Listen, I know that I said that my favourite herb combination for this soup was coriander, parsley, and mint, but they didn't have any coriander at the shops when I last made this soup. That's why dill is pictured here instead. If you hate coriander (okay, Team Soap), dill is a nice substitution. Okay, that's all. I just didn't want anyone to call me a liar. Because I'm not.

How to make it

Step One: Prep your kak

I know I'm always going on about the meez, but there isn't much to do for this one. Because you'll be blending all the ingredients together before cooking, there's no chopping involved. You should, however, peel and cook your garlic cloves before blending unless you're really committed to the alleged health benefits of raw garlic.

We're also going to blanch our herbs today, which basically means giving them a shock to preserve their lovely, verdant green colour. No, I don't mean frightening them. I mean pouring boiling water over them before submerging them in an ice bath. So, prep a bowl of water with some ice cubes in it. The colder the better!

You can also zest your lemons if, like me, you actively try to eliminate food waste from your kitchen. It's a divine garnish for the finished product.

Step Two: Make it fancy (optional)

I made this soup for a dinner party once and, to zhuzh it up, I roasted some lemon sliced in the oven for a gorgeous garnish. I also genuinely enjoy eating cooked lemons. This is totally optional.

If you're down for some finery, then thinly slice one of your lemons. Pop them onto a baking tray (I really do recommend getting a silicone baking mat like this one from Humble & Mash), and drizzle with ollie oil and a sprinkle of brown sugar. The thyme is another garnish, to be honest. It adds very little except for drama, flourish, and a titillating scent.

Grill for fifteen minutes, or until they look like this:

These lemon slices also go very nicely with salads and fish. Just saying!

Step Three: Blanch DuBois those herbs

I have always relied on the kindness of blenders. To blanch your herbs, all you have to do is pour boiling water over them, let them sit for a few seconds, then drain and plop them in an ice bath. They can sit there until you're ready to blend, so I would recommend doing this process when you are Prepping Your Kak.

Step Four: The actual soup bit

Righto, this is the part you've all been waiting for. First, cook your garlic cloves for a bit in the same pot that you'll use to h up your soup. Once those are golden and fragrant, pop them into a blender or a food processor along with the beans (plus the liquid they're in - it's called aquafaba, dahlin'), the blanched herbs, and the juice of your un-grilled lemon.

The proportions are totally up to you. I know that's not very helpful for beginner cooks, but you must actually grow up and learn how to cook with your senses and not with a blog, okay?

I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. You're doing great, sweetie.

Okay, keep scrolling to blend:

Wow! You're a natural!

Step Five: Heat and serve

Okay, now all that's left to do is heat the soup through on the stove until it's warm. Don't boil it or you'll turn it into a weird swampy green colour. Just heat it gently. Add about two cups of stock broth per can of beans you used to thin out the soup and add some more flavour to it.

Finally, toast some bread, smear with butter, and top the soup with any lemon garnishes you've prepared plus a pinch of flaky salt and cracked black pepper.

Voila! You have made a nutritious, summer-friendly soup for your green smoothie-loving friends. Pat yourself on the back, kid. Good job.




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