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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lenten Meals from The Little Catholic Kitchen: Soup's On! Hearty Stuff in a Bowl Served With Satisfying Muffins

by Kathleen Blease

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Looks Like a Soup Day!

On this fine spring morning, we awoke to six inches of snow on the ground. Looks like a good day for soup! Here's a quick and healthy recipe from The Little Catholic Kitchen. Serve this hearty dish with my favorite bran muffins. There are two recipes below: one that uses whole wheat flour and bran, and one that's 100% bran. Both are delicious and just sweet enough to please everyone.

Kathleen's Lenten Bean and Vegetable Soup

I made this for Ash Wednesday. It requires no chicken or beef stock. Everyone gobbled it up! Be sure to rinse the canned beans before using them. If you use whole barley, it will require more time to cook, so add it to the vegetables at the start of the soup.

2 14-oz. cans your favorite beans (I like 1 can black beans and 1 can navy beans), drained and rinsed
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, including liquid
4 carrots, diced to size of beans
2 stalks celery, diced to size of beans
1 large onion, diced to size of beans
6 cups water
2 handfuls pearled (or whole) barley
1 c. frozen corn
3 bay leaves
tbs. rosemary leaves
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
shredded cheddar cheese for serving

Yields: 6 servings

In dutch oven or large sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Reduce and add carrots, celery, onions, bay leaves and rosemary. Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, barley, corn, salt and pepper. Simmer until soup is thick, the vegetables are fork tender, and the barley is done, about 45 minutes. The longer the soup is simmered, the better, for a fuller flavor. Stir in parsley. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Bran Muffins

Just sweet enough, this muffin is excellent with the raisins. If you're looking for a wheat-free recipe, check out the one that follows. You may use wheat or oat bran. These are most delicious served warm, but they keep and freeze well, too.

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. bran, wheat or oat
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. molasses
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. raisins

Yields: 12 standard muffins

Preheat the oven at 375. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, soda, and salt. Stir in the bran. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, brown sugar, molasses, egg, and milk. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until almost combined. Add the raisins, and mix again until just combined. Do not mix any further, or else they will not rise. Bake in muffin tins until skewer inserted comes out dry, about 30 minutes.

100% Oat Bran Muffins

Here's a wheat-free version. Wonderful served warm!

2 1/2 c. oat bran
2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. honey or maple syrup (or 1/4 c. honey and 1/4 c. maple syrup)
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/4 raisins

Yields: 12 standard muffins

Preheat oven at 425. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients until they are completely incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix until almost combined. Add the raisins, and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.


  1. Kathleen, your bean and vegetable soup sounds so good! It seems to me that there just aren't enough recipes out there that call for good old-fashioned barley.

  2. Yes! I love barley. Makes a soup extra satisfying.

    Everyone, please visit Celeste at Perpetual Jubilee. Her blog's link is in the right column of this blog. She has more recipes for Lent. Enjoy.


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