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At first, I was completely on board with having a cold, because it meant bundling up on the couch, reading, ordering pizza and watching so many episodes of Supernatural. But I guess I’m getting over it, because I woke up this morning wanting Real Food. The kind that comes with nutrients instead of cheesy bread.

This White Bean, Kale and Tomato Soup was just the ticket.

Canned white beans might sound like no rock n’ roll fun, but simmer them in a restorative vegetable broth with roasted garlic, onion, celery, herbs and tomato, and they’re ready to dance on the table with their tops off. 

And, as soon as my chest doesn’t smell like eucalyptus, I will be, too.

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White Bean, Kale and Tomato Soup 

Adapted from Art Smith (O Magazine, November 2013)

Serves 4

For the Roasted Garlic:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed
  • 6 ounces kale, stems removed and lightly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. To Roast the Garlic: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Turn your garlic bulb on its side, and cut in half. Place the garlic, cut side up, on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle the cut sides with olive oil, and put them back together.  Wrap the garlic in the foil, and roast until tender, about 50 minutes. When the garlic cools, squeeze it out of the skin. You’ll be using 1 tablespoon for the soup, but if you’re a garlic fan, feel free to add more. (You can store the rest in the refrigerator for several days.)
  2. For the Soup: In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the celery, thyme, chili flakes and oregano, and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato and roasted garlic, and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the broth and basil, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the beans, and bring the soup back to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes more. (Check the pot every once in a while to make sure the soup isn’t boiling and breaking apart your beans.)
  7. Gently add the kale. Bring the pot back to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  8. Serve warm, and top each bowl with a little Parmesan, if using.