Slow Cooker Northern Bean and Spinach Soup

This hearty soup is perfect for when there is a chill in the air, and you want dinner waiting for you as you walk in the door.


Minutes to Prepare: 15
Minutes to Cook: 480
Number of Servings: 4
Per serving: 2 cups


1 cup dried Northern beans, rinsed and picked over NOTE: You must soak the beans overnight.
2 carrots, peeled and chopped, (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped, (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
1 cup diced tomatoes, no salt added
6 ounces Fresh Express Baby Spinach (about 2 cups packed)


Soaking the beans overnight will ensure your beans are cooked and tender. Some chefs add baking soda to the soaking water to tenderize the beans, but I omitted it to save on sodium. Soaking and adding the tomatoes toward the end of the cooking time will ensure tender beans. We used dried beans because they have almost no sodium.


Place the dried beans in the slow cooker and add 1 quart water. Cover and let soak overnight. (Do not turn on the slow cooker.)
In the morning, drain and rinse the beans
Return the beans to the slow cooker, along with the carrots, onion, garlic, spices, and stock, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the beans are tender.
About 20 minutes before dinnertime, use an immersion blender to puree half the soup. (Or transfer to a blender, and leave the cap off the top but cover with a dishtowel to avoid splatters. This will allow steam to escape as you puree the soup. Return the pureed soup to the slow cooker.)
Add the tomatoes, spinach, to the slow cooker. Replace lid and cook on high for 20 minutes.

Ladle two cups into each bowl. Serve with crusty whole-wheat bread or place a scoop of mashed potatoes in the bottom of each bowl.


Source: Spark Recipes