Tuscan Kale & Bean Soup
This hearty, winter bean soup is the perfect Italian comfort food on a cold February night. You can make it vegetarian or with some Italian sausage. Either get ground sausage and cook it up in a skillet with some oil and add to the soup for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Or you can slice sausage (remove the casings first) and cook it in a pan with a bit of oil and add to the soup for the last 10 minutes it’s simmering. Mmmm….enjoy a little slice of easy, satisfying and warming comfort food.
Tuscan Kale & Bean Soup
Yields: 8 cups of soup
Serves: 4 heartily
1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons safflower or sunflower oil
3-4 cloves garlic
1 bunch curly leaf or lacinato kale
2 cups cooked cannellini or white navy beans (canned or cooked from dry beans)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes or 3-4 large fresh tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano and/or dried basil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
⅓ cup parmesan cheese (optional for serving)
Slice the onions thinly. Heat a large saucepan or stockpot (with lid) over medium heat and add the oil. Saute the onion for 5 minutes, or until translucent. You can saute longer if you want the onion to be sweeter. Mince the garlic and add to the onion.
Cook for 30 seconds and then add cooked (drained) beans, vegetable or chicken broth, tomatoes (crush them in bowl first if using fresh tomatoes), dried herbs, salt and red pepper flakes if using. Season with black pepper. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt and you can always add more later if needed.
Bring to a boil. Then cover and reduce to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove the stems from the kale and then tear the kale into 2 inch pieces. Add kale pieces to the soup for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings as needed. Remove from heat and add heavy cream. Juice the lemon and add ½ the juice of the lemon to the soup. Taste and add more lemon if needed. Serve hot. It’s great with crusty bread for dipping! You can even drizzle the soup with a little olive oil and top with parmesan or more red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
The Empowered Kitchen Tips:
To make this a meat dish, you can add cooked Italian sausage to this dish near the end, about 5-10 minutes before the end of the simmering time. You can also substitute 1 inch cubes of potato for the beans if you prefer to make it a potato soup. This soup doesn’t freeze well, so you can enjoy it for the next 5 days when kept in your refrigerator.