We have had some beautiful 80-degree days of late, and while I am loathe to look a gift-horse in the mouth, I've nevertheless been longing for more mild weather before plunging headlong into summer. Call me crazy, but summer in March is a bit much.
My wish came true. I opened the back door to feed kitty and was greeted by cool, gray morning, hovering in the mid-50s; I could have sworn I was transported back to my beloved SF Bay Area. After swearing off soup but a few days before, I found myself pulling out a pot around mid-day for a quick batch of minestrone.
I had a bag of pre-washed, pre-cut kale in the refrigerator, which inspired me to make an improvised minestrone. Kevin seemed particularly pleased to see the kale head into some soup (I had made a cucumber, apple and kale "smoothie" days before that sent him out the door in haste). Quinoa made its way into the pot in place of traditional pasta; it's such an easy swap or addition and makes for a really filling and delicious soup.
Some no-knead bread, baked the day before, was waiting for a dunk in some soup. It didn't have much of a wait; the soup was ready for ladling into bowls in under 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Quick Kale and Quinoa Minestrone
Makes 6 big servings
1 tbsp olive oil
1-1/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium-large onion)
1-1/4 cups chopped carrots (about 2 medium carrots—no need to peel)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 cups prewashed and cut kale
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2/3 cup quinoa
8 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1-1/2 tbsp Italian herb seasoning
1 19-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Add kale and cook and stir 1 minute.
2. Add the tomatoes with juice, quinoa, broth, and herbs and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is cooked, about 20 minutes.
3. Place half of beans in a small bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Stir mashed and whole beans into soup and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.