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Vegan Planet: Beans and Greens Soup

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Beans and Greens Soup

Soup and cold weather go hand in hand and in the same way I like to have a salad for lunch in the summer, a big bowl of soup is my favorite winter midday meal.  I often make a huge pot of soup on Sunday and it's usually enough for lunch for the two of us for several days, when I'll make another kind of soup and on it goes.

I have a few favorite soups in rotation, usually alternating between a hearty lentil, black bean, or split pea soup followed by a lighter minestrone-type soup that includes one or two kinds of beans and lots of vegetables.  I rarely follow a recipe when I make soup, but prefer to let the contents of my refrigerator and pantry dictate what will go into it.

One of our go-to favorites is a spicy kale soup which I make with either white or red kidney beans.  The two ingredients that set this soup apart from other kinds of "beans and greens" soup is the inclusion of hot red pepper flakes and a generous splash of sherry.

The soup in the photograph started out as spicy kale soup -- until I discovered that I was out of sherry.  (I can't believe I let this happen, but it's been that kind of year so far.)  To cut my losses, I added a can of diced tomatoes to round out the flavors a bit.  It turned out great and is actually a good basic "beans and greens" soup recipe that can be altered to suit what's on hand:

(Versatile) Beans and Greens Soup

Make this soup on top of the stove or in a slow cooker and change it up using one or more of the variations listed below. For a broth use your choice of homemade or storebought or combine water with vegetable broth paste or bouillon cubes.

1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on the saltiness of your broth)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups cooked white or red beans
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
6 to 8 cups chopped fresh kale or other dark greens

In a large pot or slow cooker, combine the onion, carrot, potatoes, broth, salt, basil, marjoram, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Add the cooked beans and tomatoes.
If using a pot on the stove: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
If using a slow cooker: Cover and cook on High for 3 hours or Low for 6 hours.
For either method, stir in the kale and cook until tender, about 20 minutes longer.  Taste to adjust seasonings.


IN OTHER NEWS:  If you haven't heard already, that irrepressible feline we call Gary now has his own blog and Facebook page. (I know he'd be a happy kitty if you "like" his FB page and subscribe to his blog.)

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This looks really yummy! I eat certain things in the winter too. Like oatmeal for breakfast and soups, I have a cookbook that has over 100 soup recipes... (Some I had to veganize)
But with the soups, I usually have sandwiches. Before I went vegan that meant chicken, tuna or egg salad, something that stays on the bread so I can dunk them in the soup without them falling apart. So now, I am making vegan substitutes of these sandwiches and they taste guilt-free! And of course, yummy!
Yum. That sounds great, Roxanne. I sometimes make sandwiches to go with our soups too. Often it's a quick quesadilla filled with whatever I have on hand, from a chickpea "tuna" filling, to some melty vegan cheese, or mashed leftover veggies and potatoes.
I'm always glad to find more ways to get kale into my diet! Thanks, this looks wonderful. I appreciate that so many of your recipes use the basic ingredients that I keep stocked. It has become a great resource for me since I do not live close to a well stocked health food store.
Thanks, Valerie. I don't live near a natural food store (or a decent store of any kind, really) so I make a special effort to develop easy and approachable recipes that anyone can make.
I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing! I used collards instead of kale and added some veggie sausages. It really was one of the best soups I have had. Even my picky husband liked it. We also had over a couple sailors who didn't even know what vegan was, and after having me describe it were really hesitant to try it. They went back for seconds and thirds. I guess they missed home cooked meals so much, they got over the meatless part.
Thanks for this recipe. It is a keeper!
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