Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add fennel, onion, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 6 minutes or until crisp-tender (do not brown), stirring occasionally.
Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 cups water, vinegar, and beans. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Place half of mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining mixture.
Combine almonds, mint, rind, and cheese. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with almond mixture. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons oil.
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Flavorless and a lot thinner than I expected. My 11 year old daughter & I both doctored it up to give it some flavor...lots of cracked black pepper, lemon juice, extra parmesan, and a dash of salt made it more palatable. Although it wasn't terrible, I won't be making it again.
In reading the reviews I was not going to make this soup but then decided I could make this good and just had to try. I made a few changes and the soup came out really good and tasty. I used 2 fennel bulbs, 1 onion, 4 gloves of garlic, 1 can of Low Na+ Chicken broth and added water to make the 2 1/2 cups, 1 tsp white wine vinegar, I just chopped up some whole almonds, omitted the mint, sprinkled on dried lemon peel, and used the regular shredded parmesan cheese. I also peppered the fennel, onion and garlic mixture. I did let the mixture boil for a bit to bring in the flavors and tenderize the fennel just a bit more then took off the heat and covered for a few minutes. I have a large blender so I just put the whole thing in the blender and blended at once instead of the 2 batches. I sprinkled on the almonds, dried lemon peel and shredded parmesan to taste....
I really wanted to like this recipe. And it *was* interesting. My taste buds were entertained. But it just wasn't fabulous or even very good, even when I mixed in the toppings and added an extra 1/4 t. salt. The suggestion of other reviewers to add more white wine vinegar is intriguing -- I think I will try that with my leftovers and see if that helps. But the base is boring, as others say, and the toppings, while tasty and interesting, just can't make up for that.
The base of the recipe is rather bland (the fennel/bean); I agree, it's the toppings that flavor the soup. It definitely needs more of the vinegar to brighten the flavor, then adjust the rest to taste - it becomes yummy. I did let it simmer/sweat for longer than written, don't know if this hurt the delicate flavor or not. (Maybe the delicate flavor is why they call for water vs stock?) I'd certainly try again, since it was easy and tasty after tweaking.
I love CL. And I LOVE 95% of their recipes and I love fennel. This recipe isn't bad, but there is nothing about it that I would make it again. You must make the toppings, do not leave anything out. I measured and made this exact. The soup itself was so boring without the toppings. Maybe it's just me, I don't get this. And why water vs chicken broth/stock?
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