Rustic Kale and White Bean Soup topped with Gremolata
I have never in my wildest dreams thought about becoming a vegetarian. I take that back… there was a brief stint in high school where I believed that I was while continuing to eat chicken and turkey 4 times a week. So, here I am today, a year in, and I am feeling more energetic than ever, not tired, lean, and functioning as if my body is a well oiled engine. Not bragging, just saying.
All whole foods serve a purpose and a function, and when that function is that of creating energy for our bodies, we humans accel. This soup in particular has rich sources of fat soluble vitamins (A and K), fiber, protein, potassium, iron and magnesium- all of which benefit you, the consumer, in many ways (tune in for “The Micronutrient Breakdown- What You Need to Know to Function” article for more facts on these nutrients). Additionally, it took me, aside from cooking the beans, about 20 minutes to make! I hope you all enjoy- Cheers!
RUSTIC KALE AND WHITE BEAN SOUP TOPPED WITH GREMOLATA
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth**
- 1 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 bay leaves + 1 large or 2 small sprigs rosemary
- 1 large Yukon gold potato (about 6 ounces or 170g) cubed
- 3 ½ cups cooked cannellini or white navy beans, or 2 (15-ounce) cans of white beans, drained and rinsed**
- 5 cups lacinato kale, ripped up into bite size pieces with hands, discarding the stem
- 1 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves loosely packed and chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Coarse or flaky sea salt
*For the beans- if they are dried (bagged) beans, which I highly recommend using, see instructions below:
*Rinse about a cup and a half of dried beans in a colander, removing any dirt or bits from the beans. In a Dutch oven or a large sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat. Add 1/2 small onion, diced, 1 celery stalk, diced, and 1 carrot, diced (this mixture is otherwise known as a mirepoix, pronounced as “meer-puah”). As they sauté, add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the veggies and continue to cook until the onion becomes translucent. At this point, add the dried, rinsed beans to the pot, stirring around to get the beans coated in the mirepoix. Turn the heat to high, and add enough water to cover bean/mirepoix mixture by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer (medium-low heat) for about 45 minutes depending on your stovetop. I recommend covering the pan 3/4 of the way to create and build steam to perfectly cook the beans. Stir occasionally and monitor for doneness (the beans should be slightly al-dente, but soft and chewy when done). When done, strain the beans through a colander, but drain over a boil to capture and save the broth that was created.
- In a Dutch oven or a large (5 qt) soup pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat.
- Once the olive oil becomes aromatic, add the diced onions, diced carrots, and diced celery to the pan (this is a separate mirepoix from the beans if you cooked the beans). Cook until the onion becomes translucent (6–8 minutes).
- Add the 4 large cloves of garlic, minced. Allow this to become aromatic as well, about a minute.
- To the pan, sprinkle the red pepper flakes all over the veggies and stir making sure to coat the mixture with the seasoning.
- Add the broth to the veggies**use the saved broth from the cooked beans if you are using them, otherwise, use the vegetable broth. Scrape with your wooden utensil across the bottom of the pan to get up any goodies left by the vegetable mixture.
- Add potatoes, beans, and the rosemary/bay leaves to the pot. Stir around and bring to a boil. Add another generous pinch of salt and immediately reduce to a simmer (about a 2 or 3 on the stovetop) and cover the pot. Allow to cook until potatoes are fork tender, around 15 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, prepare the gremolata by adding the chopped parsley, minced garlic, lemon zest and flaky salt. Gently mix these ingredients together and let sit for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add enough olive oil to coat the mixture. Serve atop the soup or even on a piece of toasted sourdough when ready to eat.
- Once the potato is fork tender, taste the soup to see if it needs more salt/pepper (to your liking) and add if necessary.
- Take the soup off the heat. Remove the bay leaves and the rosemary sprigs (the sprigs will likely be just the sticks as the rosemary has cooked into the soup). Then remove 1/2 of the soup from the pot and place in a bowl to the side. Add the remaining soup from the pot to a blender, or if you have an immersion blender, this could be more convenient. Blend the soup until creamy and add back to the soup pot. Add the soup that was set to the side back to the soup pot and mix together.
- Gently stir the kale into the soup and allow to soften from the heat of the soup (3–5 minutes). Add additional salt if needed, and serve with gremolata on top.