The weather on the East Coast has been interesting to say the least. After weeks of ridiculously cold and dreary weather, we’re now benefitting from 70-degree days and lots of sunshine. While the sunshine has definitely made my commute much better, I can’t help but wonder where the fall temperatures are. I expected October to be a bit chillier; it seems wrong that the pumpkins and fall decor are out when the weather is decidedly spring-like. After all, I can’t justify my search for a new fall jacket if there are no fall winds to be found…
In my eagerness for fall weather, I decided to make some white bean soup. This recipe makes a pretty sizable amount of food, and I usually freeze some of the leftovers so that there is something to eat when the temperatures finally drop. While I was never much of a soup person before, I’ve found that bean soups are becoming an increasingly important part of my diet. They have just the right amount of protein, and it doesn’t hurt that they are easy to make and super budget-friendly.
You don’t have to use kale in this soup–any dark green will work (though I have found spinach to be a bit too watery for my liking). The recipe is pretty versatile and can be made with just white beans or with a variety of different ones; I just love the white beans because of their creaminess. Feel free to reduce the stock by half if you would like to make this into more of a stew (which I love to eat with an egg over easy and some toast. Yum!). You can also omit the bacon and just use a bit of butter or olive oil if you’d like to make the dish vegetarian or vegan. And, as always, wine can be replaced with some extra broth.
Kale and White Bean Soup
- 1 lb kale or other dark green
- 1 slice of thick bacon, cut into small pieces (can substitute with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 stalks celery, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 onion, cut into bite-size pieces (I used ½ of a red onion and ½ of a yellow onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano or thyme
- 2 cans white beans (I prefer Cannellini)
- Scant 1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add in your kale and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or until just tender. Drain, squeeze dry, and chop into bite size pieces. Set aside.
- Dry the pot. Heat your olive oil over medium heat and add in the bacon. Allow to cook for about 1 minute, until bacon has rendered some of its fat.
- Add in your carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring often and allowing the vegetables to color a little–be sure to keep them from burning!
- Once vegetables have cooked for 15 minutes, add in your white wine. Deglaze the pan, being sure to scrape up any leftover brown bits and allow the wine to reduce by at least half.
- Add in your crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano/thyme, beans, and broth. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
- Allow to cook for five minutes, then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove your bay leaf and add in the reserved kale. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
- Serve warm.