Kale, anyone?

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My husband has been very patient with all of my vegetarian cooking lately.  He even likes much of  it, although I’m certain he’ll be begging for a good steak in the near future.  I tried something different tonight – well, different from our meat/carb preferences.  This soup was soothing, gently flavorful and full of yummy goodness.  I particularly enjoy the hint of acidity lent by the rice wine vinegar.  That’s where my taste buds lean, so this brothy soup hit the spot.  I highly recommend.  By the way, kale is rich in calcium, vitamin K, folic acid, magnesium, and beta carotene. Especially for vegans, kale is a great source of dietary calcium.  Because I have children who suspiciously eye brown and green lumps of anything (ok, I don’t blame them)…. I served this soup alongside delicious toasted, home-baked whole wheat bread/havarti cheese sandwiches.  Try it and enjoy!

 Mushroom, kale and garlic soup adapted from Vegetarian Times

  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms  
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (I used crimini and white button)
  • 10 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I did use chicken broth)
  • 2 cups mushroom water
  • 1 large bunch kale, washed and sliced
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 green onions, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (I used instant brown rice)
  1. Cook the rice in 1 cup of water and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 3 cups of warm water for about 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the soup. (This will give you approximately 2 cups of mushroom water.)
  3. Sauté the fresh mushrooms in a 4 quart soup pot for about 10 minutes or until they start to release their juices.
  4. Add the sliced garlic and cook 1 minute.
  5. Add the vinegar and cook until it is almost evaporated.
  6. Meanwhile, gently squeeze extra water from the dried shiitake and thinly slice them. Add to the pot and sauté 1 minute.
  7. Add the broth and 2 cups of mushroom soak water, leaving any dark residue behind in the bowl. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Add kale and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, or until kale is tender.
  9. Add beans and rice. Bring soup to desired temperature for serving.
  10. Stir in green onions and lightly cook them for a minute, or use them as a garnish.

Serves 6.

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