Kale & White Bean Soup

Melbourne has been a bit of a bitch this summer, throwing curve balls left right and centre when it comes to the weather. Yes yes, I hear you say, isn’t that just standard Melbourne? Perhaps it is, but for some reason this year my beautiful city seems determined to challenge my weather-based meal planning abilities.

Enter, this deliciously cleansing soup.

It was Monday night and it was cold — way too cold for February — and I had a bunch of kale in the fridge that was practically screaming to be used up. And who am I to argue with a bunch of screaming kale? One way or another, it was going down.

Being a Monday I wanted something quick and easy, so I made this ‘recipe’ up on the fly based purely on what I had in the fridge/pantry. I guess I should probably describe it as more of a rough guide than a recipe…

But Peet, what the hell does that mean exactly? Isn’t this a recipe blog? Well it means just go with the flow — no need to get all caught up in measurements and vegetable varieties — it’s meant to be quick, healthy, and most of all, TASTY. No fuss, no stress.

Can’t find cannellini beans? Switch them up with chick peas. No risoni? Add macaroni or skip it altogether. Like I said, this is simply a guide my friends.

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2 litres water
2½ vegan chicken stock cubes (I use Massel brand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ bunch tuscan kale, stalks removed and sliced
3 baby carrots, washed (skin on) and sliced into rounds
2 stalks celery, diced
1 can (400g) cannellini (white) beans
¼ cup risoni (or any small pasta)
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp ground chilli powder
1 tsp onion powder
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Shaved parmesan, for garnish
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, and sauté the garlic, celery and baby carrots until just tender, then add the water, stock cubes, risoni, onion powder and chilli powder. Stir continuously whilst bringing to the boil, ensuring the stock cubes are fully dissolved and the risoni isn’t stuck to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is almost cooked.

Add the kale and cannellini beans, and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on things at this point and be careful not to overcook your veg — you want the kale and carrots to retain their texture and fresh flavour.

Once you’re happy with the veg and the pasta is cooked through, turn off the heat, add the parsley and chives, and season well with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and top with a few shavings of fresh parmesan (or leave off for a vegan version).

Now to figure out what to do with the other half of that bunch of kale…

Serves 4.

 

 

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