To look outside today, you’d never know that Monday was a preview of fall in QV land. Overcast, windy and chilly, it was a day for cozy sweaters, warm coats and hot tea.
It was also the very first day this season that qualified as “soup weather.”
Oddly enough, I made this soup back in early August, when said “soup weather” was nowhere to be found. But August and early September afford unique opportunities for making soup. Summer squashes are still abundant, and the first potatoes are just starting to appear. Tomatoes and carrots are easy to come by, as well. It’s all in this pot along with mushrooms, green beans, onions and garlic. Because I just can’t resist throwing together everything in the fridge and seeing what happens!
The star of the show here, though, is sprouted mung beans. During a recent foray into the clearance bin at the co-op (always a fun place to browse), I found a bag of TruRoots dried sprouted mung beans on sale for all of 99 cents. Given that I later found out the shelf price is $7.99, that was quite a savings! I couldn’t pass it up.
I brought the bag with me to my parents’ house on one of my regular Sunday afternoon visits. Every week, I head over after church and hang out for dinner. This particular day, I knew I wanted to make soup. At first I had thought of using lentils, but dehydrated sprouted beans were new to me and thus quite intriguing. These take only about 13 minutes to cook: five minutes active boiling time and around eight minutes resting in the hot liquid. That makes them a quick and hearty addition to salads, grain dishes and, of course, soups!
Sprouted beans of any kind are neat. When any food is sprouted, the germinating sprout takes up part of the starch and converts it, changing the original nutrient structure. Therefore, the relative protein content is higher, as is the concentration of water-soluble vitamins. Proponents of sprouting claim that these nutrients are easier to digest and assimilate from sprouted foods. As someone with chronic digestive issues, I’m not going to argue–besides, sprouts taste awesome!
Thanks to the bountiful combination of mung beans and veggies, one serving of this Invented Family Soup (based on 4 servings) provides:
- 15 grams of fiber
- 18.5 grams of protein
- An array of B vitamins, including folate
- A generous dose of vitamins A and C
- Over 1,000mg of potassium
All this, and only 1.5 grams of fat! Whether or not you’re a fan of low-fat diets, you have to admit that’s pretty impressive.
I added some balsamic vinegar and nutritional yeast for extra flavor near the end of cooking. Mark Reinfeld seems to do that a lot in his Soup’s On book, and I find that it adds a nice depth to the soup broth. I also experimented with cooking the mung beans separately from the soup and saving the cooking water to use as part of the liquid. Needless to say, that worked out very well. It not only made the soup taste richer but also ensured that the maximum amount of nutrients from the beans stayed in the pot!
You don’t have to wait for a cool day to enjoy this soup with a hunk of your favorite crusty bread. With the summer produce in it to balance out the potatoes and carrots, it’s a fairly light dish, and yet the savory ingredients make it suitable for the dead of winter.
Come to think of it, this would be awesome with dumplings plopped on top. I’m going to have to give that a shot next time I make a batch…
- 1 cup dried sprouted mung beans (I used TruRoots)
- 3 cups water
- 1 ½ cups onion, chopped large
- 4 garlic gloves, chopped
- ½ cup sliced celery
- 1 cup zucchini, diced
- 1 cup yellow summer squash, diced
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 8 ounces green beans, trimmed & cut into 1-inch lengths
- 12 ounces potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes, or 1 14.5oz. can, drained
- water as needed
- ½ tsp black pepper, ground
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- Cook the mung beans in the water according to the package directions. Drain, reserving the liquid, and set aside.
- Place the onions in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Splash a little water in the pan if the veggies start to stick.
- Add the carrots, green beans, potatoes and celery to the pan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 more minutes, or until the potatoes begin to soften.
- Add the zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pepper, pepper flakes and bay leaf to the pot. Place the mung bean water in a measuring cup and add more water to make 3 cups. Add this mixture to the pot.
- Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat to a robust simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the reserved mung beans, the nutritional yeast and the balsamic vinegar and stir well to combine. Heat through and serve hot.
Do you enjoy “soup weather?” What’s your favorite soup to make when it starts getting chilly?