Kale. Who would’ve thought such an un-inspiring ingredient could be so incredibly delicious? Mark me down as shocked. I mean… seriously: a cold, leafy, crunchy, green plant with a slightly cruciferous odor is the secret to this amazing soup I waited ALL DAY to come home and eat??Yep. It’s kale. Now, to be absolutely honest here, I’ve never really eaten kale before. I’ve never had a kale smoothie – sounds gross; never ate a kale salad – sounded weird; made some homemade kale chips once – they weren’t great. So, really, I shouldn’t judge it since I barely even know what it tastes like – it really could be my favorite-ever-but-yet-to-be-discovered superhealthfood. But, alas, I have managed to get to this point in my life with almost no experience eating kale.
So – whatever in the world prompted me to try this recipe is totally beyond me! Can’t explain it. All I know is that I am soooo glad I did. Like, super-duper glad. Over-the-moon-and-back glad. Because this soup is just about one of the best things you could eat on a chilly fall or winter day.
It’s hard for me to adequately describe this soup. It would be easiest to just shove a spoonful into your mouth, saying “Taste this soup, isn’t it amazing?” But, since I can’t do that, I will try instead to tell you. The flavor is rich and garlic-y with a touch of spicy warmth. The kale blends easily into the soup, imparting subtle flavor, gentle texture, and lovely color. Great Northern beans (my fav!) are pureed to give the broth creamy substance while the remainder of the beans are left whole. And finally, bites of sausage peek out of the soup, giving each spoonful a little jolt of hearty, intense, spicy flavor. Eating this soup is like wrapping up in a cozy flannel blanket, warm and comforting. Not only that, but it’s really easy and fairly quick to make… perfect for a weeknight dinner. It makes a large pot, enough for leftovers or lunches the next day. There is quite a hearty amount of kale in this recipe, so you can feel good about getting plenty of your greens as well.
So go ahead… give up your fear… conquer your demons… and eat kale. It is truly delicious, and this soup is the perfect introduction.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 12 ounces sausage (see note below), cut into ¼ inch slices
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups chicken broth, divided
- 8 ounces kale, tough stems removed and finely chopped
- 1 small bay leaf
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 5 (15 ounce) cans white beans (such as Great Northern Beans), rinsed and drained
- A few dashes hot pepper sauce, to taste, if desired
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese, for topping
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally until slices are lightly browned on each side, about 5-6 minutes. Remove sausage and place on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
- Add the minced garlic to the pot and saute for about 1 minute, or until slightly softened and fragrant. Pour 4 cups of chicken broth into the pot. Add the chopped kale, bay leaf, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place 2 cans of beans (rinsed and drained) into a food processor. Add the remaining cup of chicken broth. Process until the beans are fully pureed and smooth.
- When the kale is tender, add the pureed beans, the remaining 3 cans of whole beans (drained and rinsed), and sausage to the pot. Add hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper, if desired, to taste. Stir and bring just to a simmer, or until soup is heated through. Remove bay leaf prior to serving.
Prepping kale is super easy. Just fold the leaf in half, leaving the stem exposed and just slice closely along the stem. Then just chop away, or process in your food processor.
Recipe slightly adapted from FiveHeartHome.