This spicy and delicious soup was adapted from the Classic Greek Bean Soup recipe from the marvelous cookbook, The Greek Vegetarian, by Diane Kochilas.
4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 t red chili pepper flakes
1 T finely chopped garlic
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
3 T tomato paste
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 t salt
4 cups water
2 vegetarian vegetable bouillon cubes, chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cans organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well*
1 T fresh lemon juice
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is nicely browned and nearly caramelized. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the celery, carrots, and bay leaf and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomato paste and stir until everything is well blended.
Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft.
Mix in 4 cups of water, raise the heat and bring to a boil.
Add the bouillon cubes, stirring until dissolved, and then add the parsley.
Gently stir in the cannellini beans, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the beans are heated through.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the lemon juice.
Turn off the heat and let the soup rest a while before eating.