As the days get colder, more soups and stews are part of my dinner creations. Last week Omar requested a “brothy soup with lots of vegetables” for dinner. We’d just had several meat heavy meals and both of us where in need of a few meatless days. I whipped up a vegetable soup using kale, carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions. I added kidney beans and black beans for protein, and presto! a “brothy soup with lots of vegetables” was created. You can easily substitute collard greens for the kale and navy beans, or even ½ of a cup of brown lentils for the kidney and black beans. In truth, this recipe isn’t vegetarian because I used chicken broth, but you can easily substitute with vegetable broth to make if Vegan.
This soup was warm and hearty, but not rich or heavy. When making soups, I often start with a mirepoix- a fancy way to say, carrots, onions, and celery.
These three vegetables serve as an aromatic and flavorful base for many soups and stews. Some even refer to this as the “holy trinity” in the aromatics of French cuisine. Personally, I don’t have the gusto to cook a lot of French cuisine, but I definitely subscribe to mirepoix. In addition to the mirepoix, I also added red pepper flakes to give it a kick. It takes about 45 minutes to put this soup together if you use canned beans, so it is quick enough for a weeknight dinner and is hearty enough for a meal by itself.
Carb-junkies can enjoy this with some nice crusty bread. I happened to make this soup over the weekend so instead of bread, I made a Tomato-Onion Tart to go with the soup. The tart is very rich and compliments the soup very well. I know it isn’t exactly tomato season anymore, but I’ll post the tart next.
VEGETABLE SOUP FEATURING KALE
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
½ cup mushrooms, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (if using)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth (in a pinch, I use about 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of Knorr chicken bouillon powder with water)
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 to 2/3 lb. kale, washed and torn or chopped into large pieces
In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms and cook until the veggies start to get soft, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the oregano, basil, parsley, black pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the kale. Don’t worry, it looks like a lot, but just add it in batches, pressing it slowly into the soup and cook for another 7-10 minutes. Salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!