Tonight’s dinner is this wonderful Tuscan Bean Soup in a recipe adapted from one I found on The Food Network. We have bought into a local organic farm, so I am trying to find ways to use our kale, and this recipe incorporates kale with beans and other vegetables I love. Kale is something that I had never eaten before we became part of our CSA. If you’ve never tried it, give it a chance. It is one of the best heart-healthy foods you will find.
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This recipe for Tuscan Bean soup has three key elements to making it a winner for my family:
- It’s inexpensive.
- It’s super healthy.
- It tastes wonderful!
I made a loaf of whole wheat bread in the breadmaker to go with this and it was a nice addition to the meal!
Beans: I just used what I had on-hand, 1 can cannellini and 1 can chickpeas, but you could use 2 cans of any white bean (kidney, northern, cannellini), use whatever you have.
Pancetta: This is an italian type of bacon, so you can substitute w/ ham or bacon. Or you can omit entirely!
Veggies: You can omit the celery and carrots and just use onions, it is just healthier w/ the veggies.
Garlic: Substitute jarred minced garlic, about 2-4 tsp.
Tomatoes: You can leave out, or even substitute w/ roasted red peppers
Fresh Herbs: There are 2 modifications you can do here; use fresh herbs loose and just pull out before you add kale, or can use dried, I would do about 1-2 tsp of each. You can also omit red chili flakes if you don’t want the heat, but adds a nice kick!
Leftovers: Day 2 pour it over any kind of pasta, or mash the beans and put it on crostini (or just toast little pieces of bread).
- 1 (14-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (Use whatever white beans you have on hand.)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
- ½ pound diced pancetta (or bacon or ham. Leave out entirely for a meatless meal!)
- 2 cups diced yellow onions
- 1 cup diced celery (optional)
- 1 cup diced carrots (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14-ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
- 2 quarts chicken stock, plus extra water if needed
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- 2 heads kale, stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, for serving
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the pancetta, rendering the fat and cooking until slightly crispy about 3 minutes.
- Saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Add the diced tomatoes, the cooked and drained kidney beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, and the chicken stock.
- Using kitchen twine, tie the herbs and the bay leaf into a bundle and add to the pot.
- Season with the red chili flakes, salt, and pepper.
- Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then add the kale.
- Continue cooking until the kale is completely tender and wilted.
- Serve the soup in large bowls with grated Parmesan.