Monday, January 31, 2011

white bean and kale soup

A hearty, healthy, soul-warming soup- white beans and kale together create a perfect combination of taste and comfort. This recipe is tweaked from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen. Do you own that one? I highly recommend it – everything in it is outstanding. Very soon I plan to make the name sake of this book – the enchanted broccoli forest…. it’s a lovely rice pilaf in which you stand up spears of broccoli. Can you picture it? Just like an enchanted broccoli forest!  It’s so great!

My other favorite veggie dish comes from the same cookbook, Swiss Green Beans. I’ll wait till the green beans are fresh in the summer to introduce that one to you.

This was the first time I have used kale in my cooking. The recipe calls for escarole, which I could not find, so I substituted kale. I think spinach would be nice here as well.

I often cook at night in preparation for lunches for the work week – I love hot lunch. This made about 4-6 servings; enough for dinner and some for lunch tomorrow. My other standard dinner/lunch meal is spinach quiche. I often bake that at night to have as a hearty and healthy lunch during the week.

Here’s what you need:
1 T olive oil
2 C chopped onions (don’t skimp)
1 bay leaf (adds so much flavor – don’t skip this)
2 stalks celery, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
6 C liquid (I used 4 C chicken stock and 2 C water, which was a great balance. Vegetable stock would be appropriate here also. I highly recommend chicken stock over chicken broth)
2 cans cannellini beans – rinsed thoroughly
4 large cloves garlic – minced or squeezed through garlic press (don’t skimp here either)
1 bunch kale – rinsed and minced
Fresh black pepper
Parmesan cheese for the top when serving

Here’s what you do:
Sautee the onions, carrots, celery and bay leaf in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the liquid (broth and/or water), cover, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are nice and tender.

You need all this time to prepare the kale! With great patience, remove and discard every stem and large vein and then mince each leaf. I actually used two bunches, which was too much. It did not really shrink down much when I cooked it. I also recommend mincing it very small. I thought it would kinda shrink, but it didn’t.

Add the beans, garlic and kale. Use only the leaves and not the stems of the kale.  Stir in all the garlic thoroughly!  Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the kale is cooked. Your kitchen will smell wonderful!

Serve with lots of fresh pepper and parmesan cheese. I think the regular ‘dry’ kind of parmesan cheese from the shaker container would be just fine in this soup.

Please try this! You’ll like it!

(printable recipe)

I’d love to hear your comments about my current ‘soup craze.’ I think it might continue for a while.  My next soup might be either Galician Garbanzo Soup or Tuscan Tomato Soup. Your thoughts?


  1. Yea, it was really, really good. That kale made the best broth. I ate it for lunch all last week and was the envy of the lunch table!

  2. Kale is the best vegetable on the planet. Enough said.

  3. This was the first time I ever used kale and I must agree- it was excellent!

  4. My dad just brought me some kale and I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with it. This will do the trick! Nice timing!

  5. This looks so good! I love kale and have been thinking about making a soup with it lately!


Thanks for stopping by my Living Cookbook! I appreciate each and every comment!