We were hoodwinked, tricked, fooled! For a few days, the sun was shining, the temp warmed up, the crocuses were in bloom…I even convinced Evan, who’s 5 and very attached to things staying the same, that it was time to switch from the winter jacket to a nice springy fleece (not an easy task!). Then everything changed. Overnight it became damp, dreary, dark and SO cold again, and to top it all off, Skyler had her first track meet of the Spring season, outside, sitting on metal bleachers for hours! What else could I do, but make soup. Of course, it’s warmed up a bit in the last day or two, but this soup is yummy no matter what the weather outside is.
Here’s another version of one of our family favorites…beans and greens soup, warming and delicious. In this version, I’ve used a combination of white beans and pinto beans and a big pile of fresh chopped kale. I also add in some wheat berries, which I adore in soups like this. The wheat berries cook up nice and al dente, holding up well as leftovers, unlike pasta which continues to absorb broth and turn to mush after a day or two in the fridge. The wheat berries do take a bit of time to cook though. When I have the time or for thought, I like to soak the wheat berries in a bowl of water for a few hours before draining and adding to the soup. Soaking the wheat berries, will speed up the cooking time and is said to aid in digestibility.
I like to top off individual bowls with a little drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of grated cheese, plus a shake or two of red pepper flakes for those of us who like things a bit spicy.
Beans & Greens Soup – White & Pinto with Kale & Wheat Berries
Author: SweetGreenKitchen’s Jen Jones
6-8 cloves garlic – rough chopped
3-4 stalks celery – diced
4-5 carrots – diced
1 ½ Tablespoons dried Thyme
1 ½ Tablespoons dried Oregano
2-3 teaspoons dried Rosemary
Sea salt – to taste
½ cup wheat berries – rinsed – soaked a few hours if you have time and then drained
1 15-ounce can white Cannellini or Great Northern beans – drained and well rinsed
1 15-ounce can pinto beans – drained and well rinsed
1 small bunch, about 4 cups chopped Kale – stems removed
6-8 cups water OR 1 quart vegetable broth plus 2-4 cups water
Optional: ½ – 1 – I use Rapunzel vegan boullion (do not use if using broth)
Optional: Top with grated Romano and/or Ricotta Salata
Heat a large pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add in the chopped celery and carrots, season with a bit of salt, cook to soften a few minutes. Add in the chopped garlic and cook a few more minutes and then toss in thyme, oregano rosemary, plus the boullion cube if using, stir around to mix the herbs with the veggies and break up the boullion cube. Add in the wheat berries and stir into the veggies and seasonings. Next add in the beans, a pinch more salt, stir into the veggies and seasonings and then pour in the water. Partially cover and bring to a low boil, then fully cover, lower the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for about 40 minutes to one hour or a few hours if you have the time. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add in the chopped kale and cook for another 10 minutes.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with grated Romano and Ricotta Salata cheese if you like, plus an extra drizzle of olive oil, a bit of red pepper flakes or ground black pepper. Serve with chunks of crusty fresh bread. Enjoy!