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Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups broth
1 can white beans, drained & rinsed (or 1 cup dried white beans, soaked 4-8 hours)
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 strips bacon**
1 cup chopped greens - kale, arugula, spinach, or broccoli rabe
1 TBSP Italian herb blend (or 1 tsp each thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano etc)
1 bay leaf
pinch crushed red pepper
small piece parmesan rind
salt & pepper
fresh grated parmesan for garnish
lemon zest & juice for garnish

Directions:

1. In a pot over medium heat, sautee the bacon. Remove and set aside to cool, keeping some of the grease in the pot.
2. Sweat the onion, carrot, and garlic in the bacon grease for 3-4 minutes.
3. Chop the cooled bacon while the vegetables are cooking.
4. Add the bacon, broth, beans, seasonings, and parmsan rind to the pot.
5. Heat to simmer and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the greens to the pot and simmer 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaf and parmesan rind (if it didn't dissolve).
7. Garnish each bowl with fresh grated parmesan and a dash of lemon juice and zest.
8. Serve with fresh bread.

*Bacon can be ommitted and vegetable stock used for a vegetarian soup, vegetables should be sweated in olive oil.