Week two has come and gone, and we are still going strong here with the brown bag challenge. We ate a lot of leftovers again this week but I did make a few interesting things. Those interesting things were white bean and rosemary soup, and artichoke pesto.
On Saturday we had a few friends over for dinner, and some of them are vegan. I had seen the recipe for white beach and rosemary soup in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and thought it would make a great late summer dinner, so I tweaked it just a little to make it vegan. For dinner on Saturday I served the soup with a salad and bruschetta, but there was quite a bit left over for lunch throughout the week.
Once the soup ran out I whipped up the artichoke pesto to get us through the rest of the week. We ate it mixed with whole wheat noodles, but it would also be good as a sandwich spread with tofu, roasted chicken breast, or simple tomato and mozzarella.
White Bean and Rosemary Soup (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
1 pound dried white beans (cannelloni if you can find them)
3 yellow onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large branch fresh rosemary (6 to 7 inches)
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1-inch and soak them for at least 6 hours. Drain.
In a large pot over low to medium heat, saute the onions with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes. Add the drained white beans, rosemary, vegetable stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Remove the rosemary branch (most of the leaves will probably have fallen off by now) and the bay leaf. Puree all or some of the soup, depending on what sort of texture you prefer, in a food processor or blender. Return the soup to the pot to reheat and add salt and pepper, to taste. (I failed at taking pictures of the process on this one, but there’s a small picture of the final product up top).
Artichoke Pesto (Adapted from Circle B Kitchen)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained
Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and all other ingredients in a pan and toss the artichokes to coat thoroughly. Place the pan in a 325 degree oven and cook for 35 minutes.
Allow the artichokes to cool completely, and remove the bay leaf. Scrape everything from the pan into a blender and blend, adding the final 2 tablespoons of olive oil while the motor is running. You will end up with a thick, mayo consistency, pesto.
For our pasta I added a generous scoop of the pesto and about half a cup of reserved pasta water to cooked whole wheat noodles. I also threw in some chopped tomatoes, pan seared tofu, and mixed in some goat cheese.
We’re teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #brownbag.