Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Harvest & Tomato White Bean Soup & Swiss Chard Bruschetta

I never thought I’d actually be able to harvest something from the garden so quickly! We’ve had strange weather this month and this past week we’ve had a bit of rain and cooler temps – apparently that was good news for many of the plants in our garden. This swiss chard that I was worried about after a bunny got to it has grown leaps and bounds the past few days and today I was able to harvest some of it to use with dinner. Thad and I were out there cutting leaves and out of nowhere came this downpour with big huge raindrops! We ran for the house!


Tonight’s dinner featured two recipes from my new favorite cookbook, Fresh & Fast Vegetarian: Recipes That Make a Meal. Everything I’ve made from this book so far has been excellent and flavorful. It was a chilly 65 degrees out today and rainy off and on – perfect day for soup! I altered the bruschetta a little bit, so my version is here.


Tomato and White Bean Soup with Spinach Pesto

serves 4

Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 TB tomato paste (I bought a tube at Whole Foods – under $2 and great for these types of recipes that just need a little bit, I hate wasting a whole can of tomato paste!)
  • 2 TB torn fresh basil (also harvested from my garden!)
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1 can rinsed and drained cannellini beans
  • freshly ground black pepper

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 TB pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Heat oil in soup pot over med-low. Ad onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 min. Add garlic and cook for 1 min.
  2. Add 3 cups water, tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil. Stir beans into the soup. Cover and cook over low for 20 min. Add a generous amount of black pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Spread the nuts in a small skillet and toast over med-low heat, stirring, until they turn a light golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Then, using a food processor, combine the nuts, garlic, salt and spinach and process to a coarse puree. With it running, add the oil in a slow steady stream. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cheese if using.
  4. To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls. Add a generous spoonful of pesto to each and serve at once. Garnish with additional cheese.


Braised Swiss Chard Bruschetta

serves 4


  • Swiss Chard leaves
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or sliced
  • coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
  • crusty bread, sliced (I found some amazing crusty chewy walnut bread at Whole Foods today!)
  • Pecorino Romano cheese wedge


  1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash the swiss chard and tear leafy parts away from thick center ribs. (I chopped up the ribs and threw them into the soup). Tear the leaves into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Combine 1 TB oil and garlic in a skillet and cook for 1 minute. Add the swiss chard leaves to the pot and cook, covered until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and drain any excess moisture.
  3. Drizzle 1 TB oil across the slices of bread spread on a baking sheet. Put in the oven for several minutes until toasted lightly. Remove from oven, spread swiss chard on bread slices and top with curls of cheese (I used a veggie peeler). Put back into oven for a couple minutes til cheese starts to melt. Serve immediately.

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