Tuscan white bean soup with kale

While there’s still a chill in the air, an easy vegetarian soup is a great meal option for warming the bones and satisfying the belly. Filled with flavor, this satisfying Tuscan white bean soup with kale is a mainstay of Italian country cooking. Tender beans give it creaminess without fat, and olive oil, garlic, leeks, and kale add healthy-promoting benefits as well as great taste.

Another plus is that this white bean soup recipe is easy to make. Just remember to soak the beans overnight or for 8 hours and then drain the water before you begin cooking. This is very important! By doing this, you will eliminate or greatly reduce the flatulence, or gassiness, of this easy vegetarian soup.

I believe that this white bean soup recipe tastes delicious, as is. However, for those who prefer to add grated cheese to their soup, that is certainly an individual option.

Ingredients-
1 pound dried white navy beans
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium leeks, white and tender green parts, washed well and chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 carrots, scrubbed and diced
5 cups good-quality vegetable broth, such as Imagine organic or Trader Joe’s low-sodium organic
2-in piece of kombu or wakami sea vegetable (to speed cooking time of the beans and add iron, calcium, and minerals to the soup)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon

To do-
1. Soak beans in water overnight, then drain and rinse well.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and add leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until leeks begin to soften. Add celery, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add stock, rinsed navy beans, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and allow to simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
3. Puree 3 cups of soup in a blender (to make the beans creamy) and pour back into the pot. Add lemon juice, and more self and pepper if needed.
4. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Top each portion with some of the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.