The CSA is abundant this time of year and I have more veggies than I can handle. It’s a good thing to have so much organic food at my fingertips but it challenges me—how do I use all of this healthy food before it wilts or turns or isn’t fresh anymore?
The way the CSA works is that I ride up to the farm every other week and pick up two, maybe three, huge bags of vegetables. The tables in the harvest room are neatly organized and piled high with organic produce. Each shareholder gets a specified amount of each type of vegetable: 1 lb. cooking greens, 3 beets, 1 1/2 lbs. summer squash, etc.
Then it’s home to sort it, put it away and plan how to use it all—what needs to be used first so it doesn’t spoil, what can be stored for awhile, what items can be used together. That’s the challenge—not wasting one lovely organic green or herb or succulent veggie. You have to love cooking because you do a lot of it when you belong to a CSA.
When I saw Tongues of Fire beans last week I had to have them. They’re so appealing with their red and ivory candycane-like appearance. The 3/4 lb. that was allocated yielded maybe a cup or so of beans. Not a lot. But, it’s only me and the hubs since the kid went back to school so it seemed like the beans would make us just enough soup for a light dinner.
The beans are paired with garlic, a small onion, a small green squash, and a tomato. I could have stopped there because that mix alone would have been a nice side dish. I wanted soup. I’m a soup kind of girl.
As soup goes, this one was fresh and light. Simple. Delicious. It made a nice warm dinner for a chilly end-of-summer evening.
Simple Summer Squash & Bean Soup
¾ pound Tongues of Fire beans*
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 small onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
1 ½ cups water
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
salt and pepper
Prepare the beans
Shell and rinse the beans. Place them in a medium pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes until the beans are soft. Remove the pan from the heat and set the whole thing aside to cool while you’re making the soup base.
Make the soup
Put a few turns of olive oil into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Smash the garlic and fry gently in the oil.
Meanwhile medium dice and add to the pan: onion, zucchini, and tomato. Sauté about 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
Add the chopped parsley, tomato sauce, and water. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer over a medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.
Rinse the cooked beans and add to the pot.
Warm through and serve drizzled with olive oil and minced basil.
Makes about four servings.
Notes: *Tongues of Fire beans are similar to cranberry or borlotti beans so go ahead and use them (or another type) if that’s what you have. You could also use canned beans (1 small can) if you don’t have fresh beans—cannellini or small white navy beans would work well. Dried beans would also work—prepare according to the directions on the package.
This recipe, like most soups, is even better the next day.