Zuppa di Fagioli (Italian Bean Soup): #74 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

There’s nothing like a bowl of good old-fashioned comfort food: beans, rice, veggies, and a delicious broth. It tastes like being in an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. Even better if you soak your own dry beans the night before!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($5 total for a big pot of soup)

4 cups dry pinto or romano beans – $0.60
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40
2 celery sticks, chopped – $0.18
4 garlic cloves, minced – $0.15
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or sage – we got this free from the garden
1 cup dry rice – $0.36
1 lb green beans, chopped – $2.99
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight. Rinse them in the morning, then cover with a good amount of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few hours until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just starts to brown, then add the celery and sage/basil. Let it cook for another 5 minutes to soften the celery. Add in the beans, green beans, rice, and enough water to make a thick soup (several cups). Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat to simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. Check the soup during the 30 minutes to make sure there’s still enough water, then after the time is up, give it a good stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal (delicious but some of us get gassy)
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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