This Heart-Healthy White Bean Kale Soup Is Perfect for Winter
During the first wintry evening when I concocted this White Bean & Kale Soup, it quickly became a family favorite. In addition to how tasty it is, I love the fact there’s plenty of nutrition in this easy-to-make soup: One cup of Great Northern beans provides 15g of protein and 12g of fiber, and each serving delivers minerals like potassium, iron, and magnesium. Great Northern beans are rich in B vitamins and folate, and bean consumption has been shown to help prevent coronary heart disease. And aside from all the health benefits, I prefer their texture to other white beans.
Kale is another nutritional powerhouse, and a diet filled with leafy greens has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. At only 33 calories, a one-cup serving contributes 6g of carbs and 3g of protein. One serving also has more readily absorbable calcium than whole milk, not to mention omega-3 fatty acids, which are difficult to find in vegetable sources. Additionally, this cruciferous vegetable delivers a staggering 684% of Daily Value for vitamin K, which assists in production of prothrombin to enhance blood clotting factor and bone metabolism. Want to up your dietary vitamin C or vitamin A intake? One cup of kale provides more than 200% of the DV for vitamin A and 134% of the DV for vitamin C.
Let’s not forget the health benefits associated with onion and garlic, both of which are also featured in this recipe. Onion consumption may help reduce cancer risk, and it may also help prevent osteoporosis, while garlic can help to regulate blood pressure as it enhances heart health, lowers cholesterol, provides immune support, and reduces inflammation. In our family, the more garlic, the better.
White Bean & Kale Soup Recipe
¾ pound ground Italian chicken or turkey sausage, cooked
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, diced fine
2 cups fresh kale leaves, torn into small pieces and well rinsed
3 cans low sodium Great Northern beans
1-1 ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Optional: 1-2 tablespoon of sherry, sweet balsamic vinegar, or red wine, to taste
Cook sausage and set aside. Purée two cans of white beans in a food processor; set aside.
Sauté onion and garlic in oil and a large soup pot over medium heat. Add bean purée, onion, garlic, sausage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the third can of beans and kale. Stir well to combine. Simmer 15 additional minutes, stirring several times. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
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