Ham and Bean Soup with Corn Bread

Soup is true comfort food. Finding one that is flavorful and yet super easy to make it even more comforting. One of the reasons I really like this recipe is because it is also so healthy. You mash some of the beans to make the thick broth rather than adding flour, corn starch or cream.

Healthy, easy and delicious?? Comforting indeed!

Ham and Bean Soup

3 (15 oz) cans great northern beans (rinsed & drained)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups water
1 (15 oz) can carrots, undrained
8-12 oz cooked ham, cubed or diced
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper

Rinse and drain beans. Mash approximately one can of beans in a slow cooker or large soup pot.
Place chopped onion in water and microwave until tender. (Or you can saute the onion in a bit of oil.) Add the water and cooked onions to the mashed beans and stir gently to combine. Add the remaining beans and rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Adding more water if necessary to cover all the ingredients. Heat on low 4-6 hours in a slow cooker or heat thoroughly on the stove.

We love cornbread, but a lot of recipes are either too dry or too high in fat for my liking. I played around with one of our favorite recipes to try and come up with a balance between the two. My family likes this version better than the full-fat one!

Low-Fat Cornbread

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup light butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy.
Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.
Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until light golden brown on top. Serve warm or cool.

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Kielbasa Bean Soup – My favorite!

Until I was in my 30’s, the only soups I would eat were canned tomato and canned chicken noodle. It probably didn’t help that I hadn’t learned to like most vegetables or beans yet. Amazingly, when I forced myself to try them, I found out I actually *love* most beans and veggies! I now make a wide variety of soups, with this healthy and flavorful option being my absolute favorite.

The original recipe was from Weight Watchers. I have, as usual, tweaked it to better suit our taste and to make it more convenient to prepare. The original recipe had you use fresh carrots. They never seemed to be done though, so I switched to canned.

I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it could be prepared on the stove rather than in a slow cooker. I usually serve it with Beer Bread…recipe to follow!

Kielbasa-Bean Slow Cooker Soup
Servings: 6-8

INGREDIENTS
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups of water (about)
16 ounces low-fat smoked sausage (turkey kielbasa)
15 oz. canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 15 oz. cans carrots, undrained
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained (sometimes I double it)

DIRECTIONS
Chop the celery and onion and place in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup with the bouillon cubes and enough water to cover. (Or you can use chicken broth) Microwave on high for about 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
Meanwhile slice the kielbasa in to bite-sized pieces. Place in the slow cooker.
Add beans and carrots and cooked celery and onions. Add enough water/broth just to cover all the ingredients. Sprinkle Italian seasoning in and top with tomatoes.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.