1/2 cup dry cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans), soaked overnight (TIP: Substitute with 1½ cups BPA-free canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.)
1 dried bay leaf
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 tsp olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 redskin potato, scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tbsp unsalted tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/2 zucchini, trimmed and diced
To a medium saucepan, add cannellini beans, 4 cups water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain; discard bay leaf.
Meanwhile, prepare pesto: In a blender or with a mortar and pestle, pulse or pound basil, garlic, cheese and lemon juice. Drizzle in 4 tsp oil and process until smooth; add 1 to 2 tsp water as needed to reach desired consistency.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium-high. Add onion and carrot and sauté, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add potato, tomato, green beans, tomato paste, broth, salt, pepper and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potato is just tender, about 6 minutes. Add cannellini beans, chicken and zucchini and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Divide soup among serving bowls and swirl in pesto.
Sun-dried tomatoes add quick, inexpensive color and savory sweetness to our creamy thyme and mushroom sauce, while fragrant rosemary perks up our earthy sweet potato and onion toss. One serving of this meal provides more than half of your daily value of protein. Your body needs protein to build and repair cells and muscles, and it's also needed to maintain the health of your hair and nails.
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