Meatless Monday is a worldwide initiative to help people improve their health my cutting out meat for one day a week. As someone who has been hard at work overhauling her diet into something less refined and lower in saturated fat, the idea was something I was very interested in. The only problem - I adore meat and usually find anything other than a double cheese pizza or gooey grilled cheese as being meatless purgatory.
The rumors are true - I was the kid with the poodle who secretly ate all my vegetables. Beans had to be pulverized into creamy hummus before I would even look at them. And forget green beans - they squeaked when I chewed them. Yick! So how to do this? How to eat vegetarian and not feel punished? That my friends is the big question. If you are going to work hard and give up the unhealthy food, you need to be sure that each meal is spectacular and doesn't taste like a compromise. Into the kitchen I went, stocked with beans and veggies. With spoon in hand and full of trepidation, I took a bite. What's this? It tastes...delicious! Can you believe it??? I actually had seconds. Yes, Karen, the hater of the vegetable world has eaten beans and enjoyed them. Maybe you will too.
Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
5 cups kale, washed, ribs removed
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into thin disks
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetarian broth (or three 14.5 cans of Swanson's Vegetarian Vegetable)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Bunch kale and shred into 1/2 inch slices and set aside. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Saute onions, carrots and celery until softened and onions are barely translucent. Add garlic and saute for 5-10 seconds until fragrant. Be sure not to overcook the garlic. Add broth, kale, beans and seasonings and cook on low for about 30 minutes. Serve with crusty whole grain bread.
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