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This sounds like the ultimate health-food dish from the '70's, but today this hearty main-dish soup graces the tables of fine Italian restaurants. Start this soup early in the day, or the night before, as the beans and wheat berries (unprocessed kernels of wheat) require long soaking and cooking times.

Recipe by Cooking Light October 1999


Credit: Randy Mayor

Recipe Summary

6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Sort and wash beans; place in a large bowl. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain.

  • Place wheat berries in a medium bowl; cover with water to 2 inches above wheat berries. Cover and let stand 8 hours or overnight. Drain. Place wheat berries in a large saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above wheat berries. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.

  • While wheat berries are cooking, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, and 3 crushed garlic cloves, and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, 8 cups water, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Partially cover, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Discard bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. Stir in wheat berries, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

  • To prepare garnish, combine chopped parsley, cheese, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and chopped garlic. Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle each serving with about 2 tablespoons garnish.

  • Note: Wheat berries can be found in most health-food stores and many larger supermarkets.

Nutrition Facts

399 calories; calories from fat 13%; fat 5.7g; saturated fat 1.7g; mono fat 2.5g; poly fat 0.8g; protein 22.9g; carbohydrates 69.9g; fiber 9.4g; cholesterol 5mg; iron 5.9mg; sodium 649mg; calcium 222mg.