You know Christmas is coming when Pinterest begins sneaking in holiday cakes and decor in between your usual autumnal boards of squash and pumpkin recipes. I must confess I put a Christmas album on my phone this morning and on my chilly walk to school I listened to Baby It’s Cold Outside. I just had to! It was just so fitting!
Winter is definitely on its way here in Vancouver. This past week I pulled out my down jacket and wool scarf to wear out and about. I know some of you are laughing at me because you are already deep in snow, but us Vancouverites are wimps when it comes to the cold so this is serious business. We sure know how to use an umbrella though.
Enough about the weather already, let’s get to the food! Like most people, when it gets cold all I want to eat are bottomless, piping hot bowls of soup. (If you didn’t already figure it out, I’m sort of soup obsessed. See here, here, here and here.) I’m all for enjoying some good fatty, carb filled comfort food once and awhile, but I’m much more interested in keeping as healthy as possible throughout the colder months. Autumn and Winter are always the busiest times of the year in my world, so keeping my immune system in pristine condition is a high priority. That means lots of sleep, healthy food and plenty of exercise.
This particular soup is incredibly healthy, and chocked full of my favourite herbs. The tomato base complements the herbs perfectly, and the kale and beans make the soup super hearty and filling, not to mention delicious! Whoever was the first to put leafy greens in soup was a genius I tell ya. I topped my soup with grated romano cheese for an added creamy element and a bit of extra flavour, but if you want the soup to be 100% vegan, you can leave it out and it will be just as delicious!
This soup takes under an hour to make from start to finish, so is a great weeknight meal, and served with a side of toasted and buttered crusty bread is highly recommended.
HEALTHY HERBED TOMATO, KALE AND MIXED BEAN SOUP – serves 5-6
- 1 TB olive or grapeseed oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 28 oz can salt-free diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried fennel seeds
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 bunch of kale, de-ribbed, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 19 oz can beans of your choice (I used a medley which had a mixture of pinto and kidney beans) drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Romano cheese for serving ~optional
In a large pot set over medium heat, saute onion, garlic and carrot in oil until softened.
Stir in tomatoes, bay leaves, dried herbs and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in kale and continue simmering for 10 more minutes.
Remove bay leaves, stir in beans and cook until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
Add in a good pinch of both salt and pepper to taste, and serve topped with shredded romano cheese and a side of toasted and buttered crusty bread.