White bean soup with garlic is a classic comfort dish in the Mediterranean region.
Usually, itís loaded with heavy cream, which also loads up the fat and calories. My version uses no cream at all, getting its body from adding extra garlic plus a lone starchy potato, and then blending most of the soup itself up into a luscious creamy consistency. (A few of the beans are reserved and added back in after blending for texture.)
What I love about this soup is that it takes under a half-hour to make, and I usually have the needed ingredients on hand: cans of beans, a potato, some herbs, stock and a little white wine, which Iíve been known to skip when I donít happen to have it on hand.
With white beans being so full of protein and fiber ó 1 cup of beans has about 20 grams of protein and over 12 grams of fiber yet almost no fat ó this meatless soup is filling without making you feel stuffed.
Serve it with a green salad with a tart Dijon and lemon vinaigrette for a typical Sunday supper, or serve a half portion as a first course, and youíll eat less at your main meal, which means you can stretch your meat budget in a sneaky and healthy way.
Or simply make this soup because itís super easy and comforting. A final note: Donít let the garlic quantities intimidate you. Boiling the garlic tames the flavor and youíll be left with a mellow, slightly sweet complement to the creamy beans.
Food Network star Melissa díArabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."