Friday, September 28, 2012

Vegan Navy Bean and Kale Soup

In my last post I mentioned I've been enjoying leftover Spaghetti Squash in my soup for dinner. It's something I've never thought to do before but am so glad I did now as it's crunch and slight sweetness has been a perfect accompaniment to an otherwise smoky and hearty stew-like soup.

My local health food store has had in some gorgeous Lacinato Kale. Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale is my most favorite. (It is also known as Tuscan kaleTuscan cabbageItalian kaleDinosaur kalecavolo nero,black kaleflat back cabbagepalm tree kale, or black Tuscan palm). I think it has the perfect texture, once cooked, to win over anyone leary of adopting kale into their diet as a staple. It gets tender like spinach but still keeps it's form. I prefer boiling mine over all other methods so putting into a soup seemed like the perfect idea.

I had bought a can of organic navy beans remembering loving the ones my mom used to make. Hers were so rich and yummy I asked her about them to see what her secret was. Her reply? Lots of butter and a bunch of cheese. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen, but my navy been craving would not go away so I hunted the internet for a soup idea.

One recipe kept showing up all over the place. Here, and here, and here are just a few places I saw it turn up (tho none of them are vegan varieties). Inspired by what seemed to be a favorite blend I followed the recipe with a couple adjustments and have been enjoying the result. 

Navy Bean and Kale Soup (Guest Starring Spaghetti Squash!)
serves 4, approximately 

1 T olive oil (I use a mild variety, not extra virgin)
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 large bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
2 cups veggie broth (I used Better Bouillion's Organic Vegetarian paste. two tsp for two cups of hot water), divided
1 can navy beans (any white beans would be equally good, I bet!), divided*
*remove 1/3 cup beans with some liquid. rinse remainder of beans and set aside
1 cup tomatoes (approx. I used about that much from a box of chopped, but wished I'd had whole to avoid so much tomato juice. I'm not typically a huge fan of tomato-based soups, but this was pretty great)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme/oregano blend
course sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
2 c cup baked spaghetti squash
hemp seed for topping (optional)

Put beans with liquid and about 1/3 cup broth in blender or tall cup and blend to creamy with immersion blender. In stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch or two of sea salt. Saute until just turning golden brown and add garlic. Do not let garlic burn. Saute for another minute or two then add carrots,  cauliflower, and kale. Once kale starts to wilt and other veggies are crisp tender, add broth. Cover and simmer on low/med heat for about 20 minutes or until veggies are cooked to desired softness. Stir in tomatoes, beans and blended beans, and heat thru. Place servings in bowls and top each with 1/2 cup squash. Dust with hemp seed and cracked black pepper to taste.

Great with a side salad and some vegan french bread (I love La Dolce Vegan's recipe) for sopping up the soup-y goodness! Enjoy!

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