Winter soup of flageolet beans simmered with tomatoes, sage and thyme.

vegan soup, vegetarian soup, Plum Tomato and Flageolet Bean Soup - The Wimpy Vegetarian

I’m a list person. Every night I record things on my smart phone that I need to do the following day, and prioritize them. Keeping them on my phone means they’re close at hand for updating all through the day and evening. It makes me feel oh-so-organized and superior as I whip out my iPhone at a dinner party to add something to the list someone’s asked of me. Each morning, then, I pull on my sweats, and pad from the bedroom to my small office off the kitchen in thick comfortable socks to check off my list, full of super-efficiency as I tick down the items.  My transition time between tasks is an Olympic fraction of a second. Check, check, check.

A couple of days a year it actually works like that.

But mostly I add five new ‘to do’ items for every one completed. Some days, nothing gets checked off. Half the time, I don’t even know where my phone is. A couple of years ago, I started adding things to the list at the end of the day that I’d done but had never listed, just so I could cross them off the list. Pretty soon ‘brush teeth’ and ‘get dressed’ were added as if to prove just how productive I’d been that day.

One week, for fun, I estimated the amount of time it would take to actually do the things on my list. It took so long due to the length of the list that I needed to add ‘estimate time’ to the list (after ‘floss’ and ‘make bed’). In short, I need 36 hour days, sometimes longer, to accomplish that list.

My life-long challenge is that there’s nothing I want to eliminate  – I want to do it all. Join a book club? Count me in. Work out four times a week with an exercise buddy? Sure. Cantonese classes, write a food column, and fly to Russia to meet Putin? Absolutely. I am woman. Hear me roar. But as we get closer to launching into a kitchen remodel that the contractors all swear can be done in 3 weeks, 4 tops (I’m already sensing some good blogging material there) I need to find ways to simplify life. As my husband, Carnivorous Maximus will attest to, when I get over-extended, my roaring has a plaintive, desperate tone to it that makes me bitchy less pleasant to live with.

One thing I’ve done to simplify is to make more soups. They’re easy, filling, a great opportunity for vegetables, grains and legumes, and can be made ahead. Best of all, a recipe is frequently an unnecessary added burden. I just perform a scavenger hunt through the refrigerator to see what odds and ends I have on hand, make sure I have a good combination to build an aromatic base, and then decide on a star. Last week it was celery root. This week I had some plum tomatoes. The result is a great soup without the fuss, leaving more time to work down that list.

I can’t be the only one with this overbooked life challenge. What do you do to simplify life?

Cooking Notes

The reserved bean broth can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks to add to soups and casseroles as an alternative to, or in addition to vegetable broth.

You can soak the beans the night before and eliminate the first step. In that case, use three and a half cups of vegetable broth when cooking the following day.

For the Vegetarian – Omnivore Table

Divide the soup in half and add a smoked ham hock to the omnivore’s portion. Alternatively, keep the soup vegetarian (or vegan, without the Parmesan finish), and serve slices of roast ham with the soup for the meat eaters at the table.

A potato gratin make a great side dish.


Flageolet Bean Soup with Plum Tomatoes and Sage

     by Susan Pridmore

     Serves 4

       Prep Time: 15 minutes

       Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1 cup dried flageolet beans
  • ¼ good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 plum tomatoes halved
  • 10-12 sage leaves
  • 2 large thyme twigs
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Leek Confit or 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup reserved bean broth
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, depending on how thick you prefer the soup
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


Pick through the beans, discard any stones, and rinse well. Place in a wide, heavy pot and cover with two inches of water. I use a Le Creuset pot that allows the beans to lay in a single layer. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, and maintain a simmer for about an hour. Drain the beans but reserve any bean broth left. I frequently have a good 2 cups or more left over.

Put the beans back in the pot and add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the salt and vinegar. Simmer for 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Add salt and balsamic vinegar.

Serve with a few grates of Parmesan cheese on top.

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19 Responses to “Flageolet Bean Soup + Plum Tomatoes & Sage” Subscribe

  1. Lynda - TasteFood January 16, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    Lovel soup and use of sage – I made a similar sageless one last night as I emptied the contents of our refrigerator. And I do lists too, except I can’t find mine; the movers packed them. :)
    Lynda – TasteFood recently posted..Pork Stew with Prunes and ArmagnacMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 16, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      I remembered yesterday that you’ve moving right around now! Good luck with it, and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Flageolet Bean Soup with Plum Tomatoes and SageMy Profile

    • Rosemary January 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      oh my, you’re my gal with lists! I may not be as ambitious but my list is on paper — and yes, I do add things already done so I can cross them off! Soups are a good salve for busy days and for using my CSA veggies. The CSA is one of my ways of simplifying. I cook what and invent with what I get.

  2. Trish @infinebalance January 16, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    I love making soup. It always makes me feel so accomplished :) I may not have gotten the laundry put away or or closet organized, but “Look! I made enough soup to feed a small army”

    Making bean soup with dried beans makes me feel especially accomplished. Lovely soup!

  3. Oui, Chef January 16, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    I love flageolets, and I’m with Lynda, sage makes everything better! Great photo too, Susan.

  4. apuginthekitchen January 16, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    I love soups that incorporate ingredients on hand, you feel good that things did not go to waste and for some reason I find the soup always tastes so so good. This is a beautiful soup, love the flageolet and adding sage is such a great touch. Good luck with the kitchen reno! Yikes.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Oats for Breakfast- Two Quick And Easy Recipes That I love!!My Profile

  5. lizthechef January 16, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    I make a lot of soup this time of year and freeze a portion of every batch because 2 people get tired of a huge pot of soup. I can’t find a commercial soup that is low sodium and tastes half-decent, so I’m motivated for sure – even though it is going to hit 84 DEGREES today!
    lizthechef recently posted..A Lighter Panettone Bread PuddingMy Profile

  6. julia January 16, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    I have never used flageolet beans in cooking or soups but this sounds delicious! I must try this! I love the sage in it too!

  7. cheri January 16, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    I love making soup as well. My husband not so much. I just happened upon your blog and I enjoy the way you write. Calling your husband Carnivorous Maximus is very humorous. My husband is a big meat eater as well. Great looking soup, the addition of the vinegar sounds interesting.

  8. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious January 17, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    I can identifiy with every single thing you said here!

    Lovely soup, and…um…3 weeks, 4 tops? No way. Just no way ever, anytime, anywhere, on this Earth.
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious recently posted..Brooklyn Popcorn and a #Giveaway!My Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

      Exaaaaactly what I’m thinking, Dorothy. No way, no how, this remodel gets done in 3 weeks. Three MONTHS maybe. Sounds like you’re a list person too :-)

  9. Mary @ Fit and Fed January 18, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    You really had me going with that first paragraph, I believed every word until, maybe, the end of that last sentence! Soup is so versatile and it really is the season for it. I’ll bet the sage and thyme are the real stars of this soup of yours.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Dal-Inspired Red Lentil SoupMy Profile

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