Super Foods Soup

We had Super Foods soup for dinner tonight. This one knocked it out of the park with nutritional powerhouses – green foods (kale), sweet potatoes, nuts (peanut butter), alliums (garlic and onions), hot peppers, and (cannellini) beans. It was like a magical and delicious elixir to good health. Vitamins, fiber, disease-fighting nutrients, antioxidants, readily available and seasonal ingredients, and super easy (and cheap) to prepare. Even the ever-carnivorous Craig commented that if you are a vegetarian you'd love it and I'm sure with sausage he would agree with that.

We were very excited to attend the book signing party for Stone Soup Cottage's cookbook, and I wanted something light but warming we could simply re-heat when we got home. It finally feels like fall here in St. Louis, yippee! Our larder is overflowing with freshly dug “uncured” sweet potatoes from the CSA box, and we’d picked up gorgeous kale at the Clayton Farmers’ Market. And – soup is usually a tolerable vegetarian meal, so I knew what I was making.  

The potatoes and beans impart a bit of sweetness as a foil to the kale’s bitterness and mashing the cannellinis adds creaminess and thickens it to a stew consistency. I threw in a few tablespoons of chunky peanut butter as a last minute addition for crunch, and I love how PB compliments sweet potatoes (as you’d find in an African dish). Nice play of sweet and spicy, too, thanks to red pepper flakes and a roasted jalapeno I had in the freezer.

I’ve read some researchers attribute these kinds of super foods to slowing the aging process and preventing diabetes, obesity, wrinkles, and a host of degenerative diseases. Bring it on. This one goes into our regular rotation of winter soups.
Super Foods Soup
Generously serves 4

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 t salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
Three medium sweet potatoes, washed but unpeeled, coarsely chopped peeled sweet potato (about a pound or so)
1 jalapeno, minced (seeded for less-spice tolerant palates)
4 C fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth or more as needed for desired consistency
A few handfuls kale, stem removed or 1 package kale, torn into bite-sized
1 can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed, drained, and mashed
2 -3 T chunky peanut butter

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, peppers, and garlic; sauté for a few minutes. Add potato, jalapeno, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes. Gradually add kale; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and mashed beans; cook about 5 minutes. Add peanut butter and stir until dissolved and soup is thoroughly heated.

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