It’s chilly, tea-sipping, sweater-wearing, snuggle-all-the-time weather. No doubt we’ll get a little September heat flash soon, but right now I’m loving the coziness of these chilly days. The grey, heavy clouds and tall, swaying grasses looked so autumnal from my window on the weekend. I was ready for soup.
I had to make up some vegetable stock first, which was actually a bit exciting for me. I take huge pride in this task. Stock is essentially water flavoured with whatever you put into it, simmered down a bit and concentrated. For this reason, I don’t just throw whatever vegetable scraps I have laying around into a pot. We want the soup to start with a strong, flavourful, and versatile base.
I will admit that soup-making was my nemesis for a while. I always made it too thick or too watery or too spicy and on and on. I kind of stopped working from recipes and they started turning out a lot better. I build on a general formula, work with what I have and taste as I go. This quinoa, kale and white bean soup is a combination that I keep turning to.
Quinoa, Kale & White Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, small dice
- 1 stick celery, small dice
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs thyme, leaves chopped fine
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves chopped fine
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 cup dry navy beans soaked for at least 24 hours and drained
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 litres vegetable stock
- 2 cups diced tender vegetables of choice (I used zucchini and green beans)
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 5 sprigs of parsley, leaves chopped fine
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- I really take the time to cook out the tomato paste so that the raw, saltiness kind of dissipates.
- If you’re serving the soup right away, by all means add the finishing greens and herbs. When I freeze it or put some away for later, I usually add the greens and herbs as I’m heating up the portions to avoid overcooked greens.
- Heat the oil in a big soup pot over medium. Add the onions and cook until they soften up just a bit, about 5 minutes. I kind of like to stew the onion in the oil for a while so that it gets really soft and blends right in with the soup. Add the celery and bay leaf and cook until the celery softens, another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir continuously until paste is broken up and its flavour is cooked out, about 5-7 minutes. Add the beans and tomatoes and stir to coat in the tomato paste mixture. Add about 1/2 cup of the stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to get any browned bits up. Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until the beans still have some bite, about 40 minutes.
- Add the quinoa and stir. If you’re using rice, add it with the beans. If using pasta, add it after letting the beans cook for about 40 minutes since it doesn’t take as long as quinoa.
- Add the vegetables and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. If using heartier vegetables like carrots or squash, add them sooner to allow adequate cooking time.
- When the beans are a little soft (but still have some bite!), add the greens and parsley. Stir until greens are wilted a bit and serve.