I’m long on kale this year — I planted three varieties along with collard greens, they are growing like crazy, and have taken over the garden.
Which brings me to this soup – kale minestrone – a wonderful and easy vegetable soup topped with basil pesto croutons (I’m a little long on basil too).
In the great tradition of minestrone soups, this soup also includes red kidney beans, zucchini chunks (also from the garden), carrots, tomatoes and the inevitable onions and garlic for added flavor. I decided not to include any pasta for this particular version — you can add it as an option if you’d like. I thought simpler was better, especially at this time of year when most of us want something a little lighter as the temperature rises outside.
Kale Minestrone Soup (makes 16 cups)
- Spray canola oil
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chopped kale
- 2 cans diced “no salt added” tomatoes
- 1 28 oz. can Marzano crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups zucchini, large cubes
- 1 can “no salt added” kidney beans
- 3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- ½ tsp. oregano
- 8 cups water
- salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic Basil Croutons:
- 16 slices whole wheat baguette
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup olive oil
1. Spray large pot with canola oil and add onions, carrots and celery. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes until softened.
2. Add garlic, kale and both types of canned tomatoes and continue to cook.
3. Add zucchini, kidney beans, herbs, water, salt and pepper and stir gently. Continue to cook for approximately one hour on low heat until done.
4. Separately, make the garlic basil croutons by toasting the slices of the whole wheat baguette on a large sheet tray in the oven. Place garlic, basil leaves and olive oil in a food processor and mix until a smooth paste is formed.
5. When you are ready to serve, fill a bowl with the kale minestrone and top with one slice of toasted baguette topped with a small dollop of the garlic basil paste.
Nutrition information per cup of soup with one garlic basil crouton: 130 calories; 4 grams fat; 0.5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams transfat; 0 mg cholesterol; 280 mg sodium; 21 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams protein (values are approximate).