|A Meatless Monday Slow Cooker Soup with Cannellini Beans, Kale, and slivers of freshly-grated Parmesan!|
As much as I whine about the cold weather, when you look at the Soup, Stew, and Chili section of my recipe archives you can tell I love cold-weather dishes, especially soup. Some of my favorite soups are the ones where I start with an idea and add things until it tastes good, but even when I have a recipe to start with like I did this time, I tend to improvise with most of the soups I make. This slow cooker soup that can cook all day while you're at work was adapted from one I saw in The Italian Slow Cooker, a book that's loaded with good ideas. I increased the amount of stock (and might use even more next time), added some dried Italian herbs, and served the soup with shaved Parmesan Cheese instead of croutons, for a Phase One soup that was warm and filling, and loaded with flavor.
I used chicken stock because that's what I had in the freezer, but if you used vegetable stock and skipped the Parmesan, this would be a tasty vegan slow cooker soup. If you're not making a vegan version, this is the perfect soup to add some Parmesan rinds and let them melt into the soup while it cooks all day. If it's soup weather where you are, this soup would make a perfect Meatless Monday dinner! (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch. For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web or visit my Meatless Monday Pinterest board.)
I know some of you hate to have to saute things for the slow cooker, but I promise that sauteeing the onions and garlic with the Italian Seasoning for a few minutes really does increase the flavor. (If you skip that step, I promise I won't take it personally!)
Put the sauteed onion mixture, pureed beans, 1 can tomatoes with juice, stock or broth, chopped kale, and sage leaves into the slow cooker (with Parmesan rinds if using) and cook about 4 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
The soup that won't win any beauty contests, but it was delicious! (Next time I might add one more cup of stock for a slightly thinner soup.)
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe adapted from The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone.)
I used my Crock-Pot 5-Quart Smart-Pot for this recipe.
2 T olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped small
2 T minced garlic (or less if you're not a garlic fan)
2 tsp. dried Italian Seasoning (contains oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
2 cans (15 oz. can) Cannellini beans and juice (or use 4 cups cooked cannellini beans and a little water)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with juice
8 oz. finely chopped kale, washed if needed (about 8 cups finely chopped kale)
4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used 4 cups, but next time I would probably use 5)
4 fresh sage leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1-2 pieces of Parmesan rind to add flavor (optional)
freshly shaved Parmesan, to garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan; add the onions and cook 4-5 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Add the garlic and Italian Seasoning and saute 1-2 minutes more, being careful not to let the garlic brown. Spray the slow cooker with non-stick spray; then put onions and garlic into the slow cooker.
While the onions are cooking use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the cannellini beans and juice, keeping them a little chunky if you prefer. (If you're using freshly-cooked beans I would add about 1/4 cup water.) Finely chop the kale (cutting away thick center ribs if you have them) and wash kale in the salad spinner if you're using garden kale.
Put the pureed beans, chopped kale, chicken or vegetable stock, canned tomatoes and juice, and sage leaves (or dried sage) into the slow cooker with the onion mixture. (Add one or two pieces of Parmesan rind if desired for extra flavor.) Cook 4 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Serve the soup hot, with strips of Parmesan shaved over if desired.
This soup will keep for at least a week in the fridge, and it freezes well.
South Beach Suggestions:
Even though they are a low-glycemic ingredients, dried beans are a limited food for Phase One of the South Beach Diet, but in a soup like this with lots of other ingredients you can have a normal serving, even for Phase One.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Meatless Ideas with Kale:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Spaghetti with Kale and Tomato Sauce from Bell'Alimento
Vegetarian Lasagna with Kale and Mushroom-Tomato Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegetarian Whole Wheat Pasta with Fried Kale, Tomato Sauce, and Goat Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen
Roast Pumpkin and Kale Lasagna from Mountain Mama Cooks
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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