We are having some much needed spring rains here in California so it feels like a soup day today. I didn’t want to spend hours chopping and cooking so I opted for a super easy and very quick soup with only a handful of ingredients. We have some gorgeous heads of escarole (close cousin to endive and curly frisee but less bitter) growing in the garden so I used one of those but ANY hardy green, like kale or chard, will work just as well. This is the first year I have grown escarole but it won’t be the last. It thrived in our wet, clay soil and was mostly left alone by the snails and slugs! Additionally, it is a powerhouse of nutrition with lots of Vitamin A, B-complex vitamins like folic acid and niacin plus it also contains minerals like manganese, iron, potassium and copper. It might be hard to find in the grocery store but is worth looking for and when cooked it’s mild bitterness disappears.
You can make this soup in about 30 – 40 minutes so it is a great for weeknights. Serve with some crusty French bread and maybe a small salad and you have a super healthy, filling, comforting meal 🙂
RECIPE for FAST & EASY ESCAROLE (or KALE/CHARD) BEAN SOUP:
(makes a big pot of soup, enough for 6 – 8 servings
1 head washed escarole, cut off bottom part & chop into small pieces or 2 bunches of chard or kale, washed & chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 or 5 small cloves of garlic
1 veggie bouillon cube
1 quart vegetable or chicken stock + 4- 5 cups water
1 can rinsed organic white beans
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 chunk parmesan cheese rind (optional but really adds flavor) substitute Nutritional Yeast for vegan version
Seasonings to taste: oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper
Wash the escarole or greens well and chop into small pieces, set aside.
Heat a few glugs of olive oil in a dutch oven and add one onion, peeled and diced.
Cook until onion softens, then add garlic and cook a few more minutes.
Add the greens and cook, stirring them around, until they begin to wilt, about 10 minutes.
Add the stock, bouillon cube and water and bring to a simmer.
Add the drained white beans and the entire can of diced tomatoes and return to simmer.
Let simmer for about 10 more minutes then add seasonings, if desired, and a chunk of parmesan cheese rind and/or 1 TBSP nutritional yeast. For vegans leave out cheese.
Continue to simmer on low until greens are completely cooked and you are ready to serve.
Sprinkle with a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese or a bit more nutritional yeast and some freshly grated black pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with some crusty bread. Yum, yum, comfort food for a rainy day 🙂