Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup

Hello!  I hope you have enjoyed your Monday.  This one was not quite as manic as last week’s, but a snow day does tend to help with that! 


I’m also happy to report that we will be enjoying another snow day tomorrow!  Woot woot!  🙂

This afternoon I decided to strap on my big girl shoes and do a workout video.  For Christmas this year, Larry got me “One-on-One Training with Jackie.”  Up until this point I have been unable to do heavy duty, high impact workouts, but I decided today just might be the day to get back into the swing of things. 


This video is split into three 20 minute workouts: upper body, lower body, and abs.  All that was needed was a mat and some hand weights. 

Overall the workout was great!  It increased my heart rate, got me moving, and I could definitely feel the burn!  There is nothing like feeling the burn to know that you are doing a great workout!

  I only have two minor complaints.  One complaint is that Jackie does not tell you what size hand weights to use.  I just assumed that we would be doing high reps (I was right!), and chose two 5-pound hand weights.  I would recommend choosing lighter hand weights until you have mastered the correct form. 

Another complaint would be that there was not enough time between cardio intervals and stretching at the end of each 20 minute segment.  My heart rate was-a-pumping, and I felt pretty faint when we stopped jumping around and went straight into stretching.  This may be because I have lost some of my cardio endurance in the past month, but even still, I recommend walking around while you stretch to safely bring your heart rate down… especially if you are new to working out. 

After working out it was time to start thinking about making some dinner.  Tonight I decided to make a recipe that was recommended to me by my lovely sister-in-law: Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup.  I must say it was rather tasty, so I hope you will give it a try.

Before making the soup, I decided to take my own advice and make some small changes to make it a bit more “clean” and closer to the source.

Clean Change #1

The original recipe called for two 16 oz. cans of cannellini beans.  Instead of using canned beans, I used dry great northern beans.  I soaked half a bag of beans in water all day long.  Before adding them to the recipe, I cooked them by following these simple steps.  I first drained and rinsed the soaked beans.  Next, I re-covered them with water, brought them to a boil, reduced the heat and simmered them with a tilted lid for about an hour.  Right before adding them to the soup recipe, I drained and rinsed them one last time.

(This helps to eliminate the somewhat unfortunate side effects of eating beans.  You know…  beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…  It’s a good idea to follow this step when eating canned beans as well!) 

Clean Change #2

I replaced 1/2 cup of couscous with 1 cup of Quinoa.  Quinoa is a whole grain DSC01064that is considered “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom” by the National Academy of Science.  It is a complete protein with all essential amino acids, and does not contain any gluten (for you, Kim!), or wheat.  One quarter cup serving of quinoa contains 6 grams of complete protein.

Here is what I came up with:


  • 4 leeks, bulbs only, chopped
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 ounces cooked great northern beans (please read above)
  • 2 16 oz. cans low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 cups fresh spinach

Sauté chopped leeks and garlic in olive oil until clear.  Add broth, beans, and cumin.  Bring to a boil.  Add quinoa and reduce to low heat for about 5 minutes.  You want the quinoa to appear soft and translucent, with the germ ring visible along the outside edge of the germ.  Add spinach and wait 5-10 minutes before serving. 

DSC01059Yum!  Larry and I like soup that is  a little on the thicker side, so if you like your soup to be more broth-y, reduce the quinoa to 1/2 cup.  And if you’re like Larry and want meat, add a small can of chicken breast. 

According to the Daily Plate 1/8 of this recipe has about 200 calories, 2 grams of fat, 27 mg of sodium, 42 grams of carbs, 2 grams of sugar, 9 grams of fiber, and 12 grams of protein. 

If I had used the canned cannellini beans my 1/8 serving would have had 135 mg of sodium.  See how small “clean” changes can really add up! 

Well, I’m off to relax with the hubbers before bed!  Let me know what you think of the soup!

Have you tried to make any small changes to your diet that could be considered clean and closer to the source?  If so, what are they?  🙂


Filed under clean eating, exercise, recipes

2 responses to “Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup

  1. Kim

    Thanks for the shout out Jen – I started eating quinoa about a year ago and since going gluten free have eaten it more frequently just as an alternative to rice and potatoes all the time. It’s really quite good and I can’t wait to try your soup recipe – sounds delish!

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