This gluten free lite bean and pumpkin soup will warm even the coldest heart! Growing up we ate a lot of beans or as they are properly called, legumes. People with Celiac disease, especially those just diagnosed, often experience malabsorption of vital nutrients due to damaged intestinal microvilli. This puts Celiacs at higher risk of folate deficiency. Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. They are also rich in folates, potassium, iron and magnesium, low in fat and contain no cholesterol. They contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat. This is all great stuff but the reason we ate a lot of beans is because they are cheap! We couldn't always afford meat so we had beans, in every possible shape and form. I love beans now but I have to admit I went through a period that I just avoided beans at all cost.
These days I can't get enough of legumes. They are a staple in latin kitchens and are usually eaten with a side of white rice, meat and avocados. However, this can be addicting and compromises any weight loss strategies you may have in place. I thought it was best if I just stay away from beans all together because it just didn't make sense for me to make them if I couldn't enjoy my traditional sides.....got me? That is, until my teenage son started asking me for beans without the rice. He was devouring bowls of my beans and saying, I love your bean soup! It's not soup! It's beans and meant to be eaten as a side, right?! No, I was totally wrong! I now make the beans without the side of rice and just not as thick.....soup. I throw a little meat in the soup and lots of veggies and I have a hearty, low fat, satisfying meal.
I usually make a whole 1 pound bag of dry beans and freeze them for later use, they taste even better with time. However, as good as beans are for you we all know that there is an undesirable side effect for many of us....gas. The body lacks enzymes to digest some sugars in the beans. Since the sugars are not digested, they ferment in the digestive tract creating gas. There are some ways to alleviate this effect. I soak them for 1-2 days and change the water at least 3 times. I also take Beano (when I remember) before I eat the beans. Beano adds the enzyme we lack to digest the sugars. I know they also sell beano in liquid form that can be added to the food but I have never tried it. Also, since I am calculating nutritional content I am realizing I could decrease my sodium intake. I used chicken broth in this recipe and I think next time I will just use water. Trust me I have used water in the past and the results were just as good.
GF White Bean and Pumpkin Soup with Ham
Serving size: 6, Size: 1.5 cups, Smart points: 6, Calories: 196.6, Fat: 9.3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 580mg, Carbs:18.5g, Fiber: 5.4g, Sugar: 28g, Protein: 9g
- 6 oz Boneless smoked ham steak (Boars Head)
- 1 cup white Kidney beans
- 11/2 cups fresh pumpkin, chopped
- 1/2 head of escarole, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 green pepper
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 sweet hot peppers (ajicitos), optional
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/3 cup tomatoe sauce
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 envelope sazon w/azafran
- 1/8 tsp thyme
- 1/8 tsp organo flakes
Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. Soak beans overnight and change the water at least 3 times. Change the water right before cooking. In a large pot, filled with water, cook on medium heat for about 1.5 hours beans should be tender
In a blender, add green pepper, cilantro, sweet peppers (optional) and puree
In a pan, saute onions and ham in 1 tbsp of olive oil about 3 minutes, add chopped garlic saute another 2 minutes. add wine and cook for about 2-3 more minutes. add the puree from the blender, tomatoe sauce, sazon, thyme, oregano and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes this really brings the flavor to life.
After the beans have been cooking for at least 1.5 hours add all of the above into the pot of beans. Let all it all cook together and add the pumpkin and the escarole for the last 30 minutes. I put my pumpkin in too early but it really doesn't matter it was still delicious. The total cook time was between 2-2.5 hours depending on how tender you like the bean. Remember the more tender the bean is the less gas you will have!