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Legume soup! We call it Mesciua

Updated on November 16, 2014

From food for the poor to great restaurant dish!

This is a lovely, healthy and warming dish, perfect for the fall. It is vegan and very nutritious.

This legume soup is typical of La Spezia, a seaside and port town in north Italy.

This dish is believed to have originated in the 14th century in the town but has strong Arabic connections.

The name for the dish is "mesciua" which means mixture in local dialect. Together with many other dishes it is part of what is known in Italy as "cousine for the poor" and was consumed regularly during war times as an alternative to meat.

It is very easy to cook but a little time consuming. I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe!

The recipe!

This recipe will feed 6 people.

300 g dried chickpeas

300 g dried canellini beans

100 g spelt (also known as dinkel wheat, or hulled wheat)

bicarbonate of soda

extra virgin olive oil



Immerse the cannellini beans in warm water with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. Immerse the chickpeas and spelt in another bowl again in warm water with a pinch of bicarbonate.

Leave it all to soak for 12 hours.

Drain the chickpeas and spelt, put in a large pan with abundant water and boil for 2 hours. In another pan boil the canellini beans for 1 1/2 hour.

Drain some of the liquid from the chickpeas and spelt so that you're left with 1/2 liter of water. Combine the cooked beans with about 1/2 liter of the liquid with the chickpeas and spelt so that the legume mixture is now in 1 liter of liquid. Cook together for about 15 minutes. Dish up, add a pinch of salt and pepper and about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

The nutritional facts

As I mentioned earlier, this dish was consumed regularly during times of rations and by poor people. The main reasons are it is very cheap and also very nutritious.

Beans, chickpeas and spelt are rich in Iron, Calcium, vitamin B and magnesium, they are cholesterol free, low in sodium and fats. A portion of this legume soup will provide the recommended daily amount of Iron, proteins and fibers.

Would you try this recipe?

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    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Oh yes, I love this simple recipe.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Yes. It looks really yummy!