Happy 2012 and welcome to my first Meatless Monday post of the year!

I can’t think of a better way to start this year than with a warm, healthy, hearty bowl of soup!

This recipe is from my Esalen cookbook – I love it and hope you do too!


  • 1/2 pound uncooked small white beans or cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon dry sage
  • 1 tablespoon dry thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dry rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dry savory
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 medium-size red onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 medium-size carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 medium-size zucchini, cut into 1/2 -inch dice
  • 1 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup reserved white bean stock
  • 1 cup cooked small pasta (cooked al dente)
  • 4 large Swiss chard leaves, chopped into 1/4-inch ribbons

1. Sort the dry beans and discard any rocks, dirt clumps, or broken beans. Place beans in a 4-quart saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then take off the heat and let sit for 1 hour. (as an alternative, you can soak the beans in the water overnight).

2. Pour the beans into a colander and rinse well – this rinsing can help make beans less “gassy” if you know what I mean.

3. Return the beans to the pot and add fresh water, sage, thyme, rosemary, savory and salt. Cook the beans until tender, about 1 hour. Drain but save the stock.

4. Saute the onion in the vegetable oil over high heat until it turns translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more and then add the carrots and zucchini sauteing for 2 minutes more.

5. Add the wine and lower the heat to a simmer letting the mixture simmer for a few minutes.

6. Add the tomatoes, water and reserved bean stock. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.

7. Add the beans, pasta and chard to the soup and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.


If you’re starting a day before, it might be a good time to try this Simple, Tasty Bread Recipe (no kneading necessary) which goes so well with this soup!

P.S. The Esalen Cookbook is one of my favorite cookbooks – and it’s available at Amazon!