This Sun-dried Tomato Pesto White Bean Soup is extremely comforting and flavorful! What’s not to love about white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, Asiago and wine! The white beans give this soup its heartiness and the sun dried tomato pesto adds a rich savory flavor. Dip an Asiago cheese crostini into it and you’re good to go!
Last week after Robby and I had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants the “West End Tap and Kitchen, we decided to check out a cool new spot to ride our bikes. It’s called Wilder Ranch and it’s located off hwy 1. There is a self-guided walking tour at the State Historical Park Cultural Preserve and a dirt path next to cliffs that overlook the ocean. The Cultural Preserve was an old Dairy farm that opened in 1859. Everything is still intact, including the original 1897 Victorian house. There is a garage that houses a water powered battery charger for the cool 1930 Ford Model A and 1916 Dodge touring sedan. There is also a working woodworking shop, blacksmith shop and a workroom full of saws, drills, grinders; etc. that were all powered by a water wheel which turns a myriad of belts. It was the first water-powered belt used to generate electrical power in Santa Cruz. There is an old barn, stables, and farmhouses that still have animals like a Clydesdale horse, some sheep, goats, and chickens.
We parked on Shaffer Street and then rode our bikes down the bike path that was laden with beautiful flowers and gorgeous views of the organic farms along the ocean. The path ends at the entrance to Wilder Ranch where we walked our bikes through the old dairy farm. We then rode to the parking lot that led us to the bluff trail, which goes in a complete circle on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. It has to be one of the most breathtaking picturesque spots in Santa Cruz. Next time, we will bring food and enjoy a nice picnic on the bluffs.
This soup goes great with a red or a white wine. A light Pinot Noir is perfect with the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes. I prefer one from Oregon as they tend to be light and dry without the thick date qualities. If you are more into white wine, try a Pinot Gris, Rueda or Sauvignon Blanc.
Approx. 10 – 12 servings
- 3 Cups Dried White Beans
- 12 + 5 Cups Filtered Water (Depending on how old the beans are, you might need to add more, but careful not to overdo it.)
- 1 Recipe Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto – recipe below
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 White Onion – diced
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube – unsalted
- 1 Cup Greek Yogurt (Greek is much creamier than regular yogurt) or Sour Cream
- 2 Large Tomatoes – cut in half and grated
- 1/2 Cup Aged Asiago Cheese – finely grated
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt or to taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper or to taste
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- 1 1/4 Cups Sun-dried Tomatoes, Oven Dried Tomatoes or jarred, drain the oil)
- 1 Cups Fresh Basil
- 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
- 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
- 1/2 Aged Asiago Cheese – finely shredded
- 1 1/4 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt or to Taste
- 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 Dried Thai Chilies or Arbol Chilies
- 12 Slices of French Bread
- Approx. 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- About 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Finely shredded Aged Asiago Cheese
- Minced Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Drizzle of Chili Oil – recipe above
- Asiago Crostini – recipe above
Measure beans and sort thru to make sure there are no rocks then rinse and drain.
Add 12 cups of water and bring to a boil over med-high heat, continue boiling until beans are soft adding the other 5 cups of water as the beans soak it up. (make sure and keep an eye on them)
(I often make this the day before) make sure to puree really well.
Measure sun-dried tomatoes and place into a food processor or blender and turn on until they are minced up. Add all the other ingredients and blend everything while slowly adding the olive oil. Blend in sour cream and grated tomato pulp.
Add oil and chilies to a small saucepan. Turn the stove on, in between low and medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool then pour into a jar.
Add the onion and 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan and heat over medium-low heat.
Saute until really soft then add the wine and reduce until syrupy.
When the beans are cooked add onion mix, pesto sauce, Asiago, lemon juice and spices to the beans.
Turn the oven to broil.
Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices.
Place slices on a baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil. (I use a small pastry brush)
Place on the top shelf of the oven and broil for 1 – 2 minutes then flip them over and top with Asiago and broil for about 1 more minute or until cheese is melted. Make sure and watch close, they can burn fast.
I usually put the timer on for 1 minute and check then put on for 1 more while watching. They can cook faster on the 2nd side because they are already hot.
White Beans are a super source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure). They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes are very high in antioxidants; just one cup has 23 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 16 percent of vitamin A. The Vitamin C in dried tomatoes helps your body absorb the high iron content as well. They are high in potassium which helps prevent and lower high blood pressure. These tomatoes are very high in dietary fiber compared to raw tomatoes.
Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zeaxanthin an antioxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease. It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver. It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.