Kale & Cannellini Soup
The weather in the Midwest is still quite cold. So much for springtime. Typically by now I’m bringing out all the fresh fruit and brightly colored veggies to eat raw. With this constant cold snap I’ve been craving fresh earthy vegetable soups piping hot to keep me warm and cozy, like this Kale and Cannellini Soup.
There’s a restaurant here in town that I tend to frequent called Union Loafers. They have the most incredible bread ever! I also love their little gem salad with lardon, chicken and their special ranch dressing. I never eat creamy dressings but honestly I just can’t resist theirs. During my most recent visit I decided to get a cup of their Kale & Garbanzo Soup with carrot and fennel. I loved the soup but not as much the garbanzo.
I decided to try and reinvent this soup using Kale & Cannellini Beans. Cannellini Beans are softer and creamier beans that I thought I’d enjoy better in this soup. Then added a few ingredeints that I felt would lend a nice flavor. I also purchased some spices from La Boîte, a biscuit and spice shop in New York that I wanted to try called Yagenbori. The flavor blend sounded appealing for this soup. Honestly I’m not sure how it would taste without it since this is the first time I’ve made the soup, but it tastes great to me.
In addition I decided to add some Farro to the soup and puree it, all except for half the Kale. I added the other half to the soup after I used the immersion blender. This way some of the leafy Kale was apparent in the soup giving it some texture and appeal, in my opinion. I’m thrilled I did that.
If you’re not familiar with Farro it’s the Italian name for emmer wheat, an ancient strain of hard wheat from the Fertile Crescent in western Asia. Often confused with spelt due to their similar taste and texture, farro comes in perlato (pearled – takes less time to cook (20-25 minutes)) and semi-perlato(semi-pearled – longer cooking time (60-65 minutes plus overnight soaking)); the semi-perlato has more fiber- and nutrient-rich bran intact.
Farro has a roasted, nutty flavor, and distinctive chewy texture. Its tough husk makes it more difficult to process than other commercially produced grains, but that husk also helps protect the grain’s vital nutrients. With a higher fiber and protein content than common wheat, farro is also especially rich in magnesium and B vitamins.
If I were to make any changes to the soup I might leave the farro out the next time. Mainly to see the difference in flavor, thickness of the soup, and to make it grain free. My Kale and Cannellini Soup was quite flavorful and somewhat earthy, but leaving the farro out would make it smoother. That said I loved the way this tasted and hope you will as well.
This recipe is vegetarian, and vegan. While it’s not grain free, by simply eliminating the farro it would be, as well as gluten-free.
This hearty soup is packed with nutrition. Kale is:
- low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat
- high in iron
- high in Vitamin K
- filled with powerful antioxidants
- a great anti-inflammatory food
- ideal for cardiovascular support
- high in Vitamin A
- high in Vitamin C
- high in calcium
- perfect for detoxifying your body
Cannellini Beans are:
- Low in calories
- Low in fat
- High in protein – a 1 cup serving contains 19 grams
- High in fiber & carbohydrates – since there’s plenty of fiber to compensate for the higher carb content it’s excellent balance of energy and fiber slows down sugar absorption.
- Rich in Calcium
- Rich in Iron
Even though it feels like winter outside my Kale & Cannellini Soup had all the elements of spring in it. I found it appealing, hearty, packed with nutrition and light.
I hope you’ll give this a try.
Kale and Cannellini Soup
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 large sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- fresh ground salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp. *Yagenbori spice blend
- 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed to remove sodium
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, rinsed, stems removed, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 6 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
- 1/2 cup farro
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or soup kettle. Add onion, carrot, and celery; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, chili flakes, thyme, spices, salt and pepper; sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add cannellini beans and half the kale; stir to wilt. Add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add farro; simmer, until tender, about 10 minutes. Turn heat off.
- Using an immersion blender, puree soup. Add remaining Kale and heat until wilted.
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