The Protein-Packed Ingredient Giada De Laurentiis Adds To Soup For Added Creaminess

New Englanders will wear shorts even after temps dip below freezing, while Southerns wrap themselves in coats as soon as the thermometer flirts with 70 degrees. Like our clothing changes, seasonal shifts also influence what we want to eat and how we cook our food.

Studies have shown when our bodies are warm during our brutal summers, we eat less and look for foods that have a cooling effect. Since our bodies convert food into energy to keep our bodies warm, we require less of it in the warmer months. We are more apt to enjoy salads and fresh fruit and require more liquids, whereas, during the colder months, our bodies are hungrier, craving soups and stews, per the National Library of Medicine.

According to New York Times Cooking, soups can be separated into puréed, brothy, or chunky categories. Brothy soups begin with a flavorful stock and don't require hours of cooking. Chicken soup and Passover's matzoh ball soup fall into this category, as do consommés and take-out favorite egg drop soup. Chunky soups require more time on the stove to marry flavors and break down starches to thicken the soup. Italian minestrone loaded with vegetables and Manhattan or New England clam chowders are wintertime favorites.

Puréed soups are velvety smooth. They can be fancy, like silky vichyssoise or lobster bisque, or pure comfort food like creamy tomato soup. Try adding Giada De Laurentiis' protein-packed ingredient for a creamy tomato soup without a drop of cream.

White beans thicken the soup

Creamy tomato soup is one of the most satisfying and comforting meals on a cold winter day. In an oversized mug for sipping or a big bowl for dipping its BFF, buttery grilled cheese, creamy tomato soup is like a warm hug with a dose of nostalgia.

Since most ingredients are pantry staples, tomato soup is quickly whipped up any day of the week using canned tomatoes, onion, stock, and spices. Many recipes use up to a cup of heavy cream to achieve that thick, luscious texture.

In place of cream, Giada De Laurentiis adds a 15-ounce can of cannellini beans to the simmering pot of soup (via Instagram). According to MasterClass, cannellini and other white beans, such as navy and Great Northern are a good source of protein and contain high amounts of fiber, carbs, and potassium. Beans are a neutral addition and take on the taste of other more prominent ingredients. Cannellini beans have a mild nutty flavor and a creamy texture that complement the soup, although any white beans could be substituted. 

After simmering the tomato soup for 30 minutes, it can be puréed with an immersion or traditional blender to create the creamy texture associated with cream soups without all the fat and unnecessary calories. According to the Giadzy Instagram post, white beans make the soup "hearty and satisfying while not being heavy."