Y’all. Thisssss soup. This soup. OMG. This soup.
I used to be vegan. For just about two years I subsisted on an entirely plant-based diet. This was during graduate school, so most of my calories were from distilled potatoes and cereal with almond milk, but still. I was vegan. I was glowing and healthy and humane.
I’m not vegan anymore. And I’ll tell you why: because it’s incredibly difficult to feed yourself (not to mention your family) deliciously and cost-effectively strictly on a plant-based diet. It just is. Veganism is a wonderful personal solution to animal cruelty, global warming, heart disease and cellulite, but straight up, it’s just not very practical. (Cue all my vegan friends un-friending me on Facebook and PETA requesting my resignation from my unpaid blogging gig.)
That said, I still find myself doing a lot of vegan cooking. We don’t eat a ton of meat in our house, and there are plenty of reasons to eat vegan as often as you can: it’s lower in cholesterol and saturated fat, rich in nutrients and fiber, and reduces our carbon footprint. (Not to mention it’s compassionate!)
Inspired by Whole Foods’ version of this soup, I made this last night expecting just another hot pot of veggie gruel. I was amazed how flavorful and hearty the end result was. This recipe calls for a lot of garlic and a whole onion – don’t be shy, it’s crucial for the flavor.
Once the garlic and onion are sautéed in olive oil, you add the kale and wilt it (I used a whole head of the flowering variety, but you can use any kind you like). The pungent aroma of the earthy kale and spicy garlic and onion are appetizing on their own, and once you add the tomatoes, beans and veggie broth, it’s really on. This soup doesn’t just smell good, it’s beautiful to look at – the bright green leafy kale, juicy red tomatoes, and crisp white beans beckon you for a taste.
The flavors in this soup are distinct and pleasant, and the texture is not mushy (unlike Whole Foods’ version!). I had two bowls for dinner, and plan on a another for lunch. Even my meat-loving boyfriend enjoyed it, which to me, is saying a lot. Bon Appetit!
White Bean and Kale Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cups chopped raw kale
4 cups vegetable broth (I always use Better Than Bullion, it really surpasses any pre-made broth or bullion cube option)
2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic and onion; saute until soft. Add kale and saute, stirring, until wilted. Add 3 cups of broth, 2 cups of beans, half of the parsley, and all of the tomato, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. In a blender or food processor, mix the remaining beans and broth until smooth. Stir into soup to thicken. Simmer 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley.