If it’s not snow it’s rain; if it’s not rain it’s an ice storm; if it’s not an ice storm it’s bone chilling cold. From New York to Texas it feels like spring is a million miles away. My advice: hibernate indoors with a big bowl of warming soup.
This classic Northern Italian soup is hearty, comforting, low-fat, and full of nutrients that will keep your immune system fighting off the worst of winter colds. With carrots, onions, beans, and kale constituting the base, it is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and protein. Maybe hibernation isn’t an option, but at least this soup will make you feel like you’re tucked away by the fire in a cozy Italian villa.
* It is important to note that you must soak your beans overnight prior to preparation.
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale
Yield: 6 eight-ounce servings
- 1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 ribs celery, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
- 2 cups loosely packed kale, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, optional
- 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- In a medium saucepan, combine the drained white beans, vegetable stock, 1 teaspoon of the salt and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Heat the ¼ cup of olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for 6-8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute.
- Add the beans with their cooking liquid to the soup pot, along with the 1 1/2 cups of water. Season with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat, cover the pot, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook the soup, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
- Stir kale into soup and cook 15 more minutes uncovered or until greens are tender. Remove bay leaves and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, adding freshly grated Parmesan to each. Garnish with chopped parsley.
** For a vegan option, omit Parmesan cheese.