Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuscan-Style White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup

Happy December!

So... I first made this recipe in Iowa with ingredients from my mother-in-law's cupboard. I was craving something warm and toasty to combat the snow piling up outside. It worked.

Now that I'm back in LA, I decided to make it again, this time with my slow-cooker. That worked beautifully. This soup is rich enough and hearty enough to be the centerpiece to a meal. It's also great leftover. Homemade chicken stock is an added bonus if you've got it. I always keep some in my freezer. Here's my easy stock recipe using a slow-cooker.

I used a combo of cannellini and garbanzo beans. I like to make it thick, almost like a stew. But you can add more or less beans depending on your preference. Usually, this sort of soup would have a glutenous pasta component, but I made it with quinoa—gluten free! And still delicious.

I also pop a parmesan rind into the broth for added richness. It's not required, but it sure is amazing tasting. I'll write this recipe up with chicken broth, but it's super easy to make vegan. Just use vegetable stock instead.

This is the perfect mid-winter recipe. Enjoy!

To make in a slow-cooker, just add all the ingredients and simmer on high for 4-6 hours. 

Tuscan-Style White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup
Serves 6-8 people
Cooking time: about 40 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten-free

4 cups low sodium chicken stock (preferably homemade)
28 ounce can cannillini beans
14 ounce can garbanzo beans
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
pinch of chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups kale, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 parmesan rind (optional)
parmesan reggiano, for grating (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute for one more minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, stock, beants, quinoa, thyme, bay leaf, parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about twenty minutes. 

3. Add the kale, cover, and cook for ten more minutes, or until the kale is tender. Then pick out the bay leaf and parmesan rind. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, ladle a generous portion of soup into a big bowl. Top with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly ground pepper, and a healthy drizzle of good olive oil. Enjoy!