Wholesome Foods:

by Laura Mancuso, I.V. Wellness Resources, programs director

Have Easter leftover ham to use? This recipe is not for my vegetarian friends, but eliminating the ham and using some of your favorite vegetables will always make a wonderful bean soup.
Ham and Bean is one of my favorite soups. Just one bowlful will fill you up along with a nice side salad and roll or crostini. Beans are not just “the musical food.” They are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. With all the carbs for energy, beans are one of the most perfect foods.
This recipe is intended to be fast due to cooking all weekend. I made it for dinner on my busy Monday schedule and used organic canned beans for quickness.

Ham & Bean Soup
serves 5-6
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
big pinch dried thyme or 1 tsp of fresh
2 tablespoons whole wheat or oat flour
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
3, 15 ounce cans Great Northern Beans
1 pound ham steak, cubed
1 cup of garden fresh kale, chopped
One-eighth teaspoon of red pepper flakes optional if you like a little bite
Green onions chopped, optional .
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion/shallot, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, 10 minutes. Place a lid on top with a splash of chicken stock or water if the vegetables are taking a long time to soften. Add garlic and dried thyme then saute until garlic is extremely fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour then cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Slowly add glugs of chicken stock or broth while stirring until a smooth sauce has been formed then pour in remaining stock. Turn heat up to high to bring broth to a boil then add beans and ham and kale. Turn heat down to medium-low then simmer for 20 minutes with a little red pepper if you would like, stirring occasionally. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle with green onions (optional) then serve with crostini (directions below.)
To make crostini: slice a baguette into one-fourth inch slices then arrange on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil then season lightly with garlic salt. Bake for 8-12 minutes at 350 degrees, rotating the baking sheet once, or until crostini are golden brown.