Tuesday, October 9, 2012

White Bean Kale Soup

It's Fall, one of my favorite times of year. When the air is crisp and wood-fire smoke scent wafts on the breeze, I turn to comfort food -- especially soups and stews. This White Bean Kale Soup is a family favorite. 

I first experienced kale in academy, when I worked for a garden nursery and greenhouse. We planted hundreds of pots of flowering and decorative kale for people to use in their Fall/Winter landscaping. I never knew you could actually eat it! :0) Now that I am older, I've found that kale is a very versatile and delicious addition to our diet. Add it to smoothies, toast it into "chips", replace spinach or collard greens with it in soups, toss in salads...the possibilities are endless. And the best part? Listen to this: Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! Read Web MD's article here. 

"What makes kale so exceptional? Here is why it's a superstar vegetable -- One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw."  

Fantastic! I think I'll serve up another helping of soup... 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
32 oz. vegetable broth
4 cups chopped, de-veined kale
2 cups diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (14.5 ounces)  cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. salt
Pepper, opt.
1 tsp. dry basil or several leaves fresh basil, torn

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add basil, broth, kale, beans and tomatoes and cover. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the broth has reduced and soup is thickened slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parmesan or parmesan style sprinkle and toasted crusty bread.

1 comment:

  1. That looks like a great recipe for Kale, Beth. I also loved the WebMD info about Kale's nutritional benefits. Especially the part of eating it cooked versus raw. I'm gonna have to have the local chef (wife) give this one a try.