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Provencal Vegetable Soup

This soup is flavorful and satisfying, yet still very healthy.

  • Servings: 6

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 1996


  • 3/4 cup dried navy beans
  • 4 leeks (1/2 pounds), white and light-green parts only
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ̇ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ̇-inch dice
  • 2 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into ̇-inch dice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
  • 6 half-inch-thick slices country-style bread
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach, washed, stemmed, and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup fresh chervil, for garnish


  1. Place navy beans in a large bowl and add water to cover. Let soak overnight in the refrigerator.

  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Slice leeks into 1/4-inch rounds; add to water. Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to rid them of dirt and sand. Lift leeks out of water and drain in a colander. Set aside.

  3. In a medium, heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks and garlic; sauté until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, carrots, potatoes, and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes; lower heat if mixture browns.

  4. Drain beans, discarding soaking liquid. Add beans and stock to vegetables. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low; cook until beans are tender, about 40 minutes. About 10 minutes before the beans are done, add salt.

  5. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle Gruyere over bread. Place on a cookie sheet; toast until cheese is melted and golden, about 10 minutes.

  6. . Add spinach to soup; cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Divide soup among bowls and serve immediately, garnished with chervil, if desired, and Gruyere toast.

Cook's Notes

The beans can be quick-soaked instead of soaked overnight: Bring to a boil in a saucepan of water; boil for one minute, then let stand in the liquid for one hour.

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