Kale & White Bean Soup

I came across this recipe in my January issue of Real Simple (which I am a little behind in reading). I was intrigued because of the kale. I didn’t think I’d ever had kale before and wanted to try it out. Here’s how we made it this past week for dinner.

Kale & White Bean Soup
Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (15.5 oz each)
1 cup whole wheat elbow pasta
1 bunch kale, thick stems discarded and leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
2 tsp dried rosemary
8 cups water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, celery, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4-6 minutes.

Add the beans, pasta, kale, rosemary, and 8 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta and kale are tender, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice before serving. Serve with warm bread.

The steam kept getting in the way of the picture!

My take on it: I didn’t change much from the original recipe. I used whole wheat elbows instead of the pastas they suggested and also omitted the optional parmesan rind and cheese. I used dried rosemary instead of fresh. One other change I didn’t notice until now is that the recipe called for Kosher salt and I used sea salt. Not sure how much of a difference that would make.

Overall the soup was easy to make. Once again the hardest part was washing and cutting the kale, which I successfully delegated to my husband. It was fairly quick to make as well and was a one-pot meal. It also made a lot of soup. Plenty for dinner and lots of leftovers.

The taste, however, was a bit sub-par. It was a little bland, which was surprising considering the amount of salt. It seemed like something was missing. We both thought it was odd that the recipe called for only water for the liquid instead of stock or broth. We did like the kale part. I expected it to wilt like spinach does in soup, but it held its shape and bite better. Kale has a different flavor than other greens and I could see myself using it in other recipes.

The next day I took some of the leftovers for lunch and afterwards I felt thirsty all afternoon. I think it was because of all the salt. I didn’t notice it as much in the taste but I sure felt it later.

Bottom line: We said we would try this recipe again with some changes – using veggie broth or boullion instead of just water and maybe adding some carrots for color. However there are so many great soup recipes out there that I doubt we ever come back to it.

Not all was lost though. It was a great exposure to a new ingredient – kale! We might try growing it in the garden this year now.

Other soup recipes:
Tuscan Bean Soup
Roasted Eggplant Soup
Summer Stew


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