Fresh Borlotti Bean and Spring Vegetable Soup

Yesterday I felt like a nourishing but healthy meal, and when I saw borlotti beans at the greengrocer I felt inspired to make something with them.  This seasonal soup is fresh with spring flavours – asparagus, peas, mint – and perfect, I feel, for a light dinner at this time of year.  Its also quick and very easy to make.

I just love the beautiful pink marbliness of borlotti beans (although they do turn a pale grey or brown when cooked).

If you can’t be bothered shelling fresh beans, you can use a tin of borlotti beans, but I would urge you to try the fresh ones, the texture is so much better.  If you use dried borlotti beans, you will have to soak them overnight, and simmer the soup for longer.

  • 300-400 grams fresh unshelled borlotti beans
  • 1 leek, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas (use fresh if you can be bothered shelling these too!)
  • 1 medium-large potato, peeled and diced
  • 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • About a tablespoon each fresh chopped parsley and mint
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Shell the beans and rinse.  Saute the leeks in some olive oil until soft, stirring regularly.  Add the celery and garlic, and saute for a few more minutes. Add the bay leaves, beans, potato, stock, water and some salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the asparagus, peas and herbs, and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.

This would be lovely with some garlic, cheese or herbed crostini.  I had mine last night with grilled goat cheese on toast.

Serves 3-4

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