Cheese Substitutes: Nutritional Yeast and Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

goats-cheese

To give you a sense of how much we love cheese in my family, I will tell you that my mother once toyed with breaking the law bucking the system to smuggle carry cheese in her suitcase on a return trip to Paris. When I asked her, “Do you feel like this cheese is really worth maybe getting arrested by customs?” she took a long time thinking about it. So did I. Because really, a good cheese might just be worth getting into a little hot water. Our people are French in heritage and we love our cheese. Cheese, however, does not always love me–one of many cruel food ironies.

As we start our marathon training in earnest this week, I am on the lookout for some replacements that will give me the satisfaction of cheese without the tummy trouble on my long run the next day. I am also exploring other plant-based sources of protein and nutrition during marathon training with the help of a great website, The No Meat Athlete. We have been reducing our meat consumption for several years now, so this is just one extra shift in our journey.

In general, I am not a big fan of cheese substitutes (and as I’ve detailed, I do love good cheese). Cheese substitutes often get the texture or flavor wrong and overall I’d rather NOT have cheese than to pretend I’m having cheese that tastes like salt or playdough. I have found some great ideas from other blogs that hold promise for me to enjoy some cheese-y flavor without any tummy trouble. If you are interested in trying something new or just shaving off some saturated fat from your diet, give these a try!

Nutritional Yeast

The first good cheese substitute is nutritional yeast. I know, sounds gross, but bear with me here. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast super high in B12. It is also a complete protein. So, by itself, it is very good for you and it has the added benefit of the wonderful umami flavor of Parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast comes in large flakes, so this is not something you would serve on crackers, but it is amazing in soups, stews, scrambled eggs/egg substitute or in a pasta dish. You can mix it with some olive oil to add to foods or just sprinkle it over foods like you might a dry cheese. Definitely, it’s worth a try. Not sure if you would like it? You can buy nutritional yeast flakes in the bulk bin of Whole Foods or other natural food stores and try just a little to see if you like it.

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

Cashews are amazing little nuts that, when softened, can replace peanut butter and even cheese! I love reading the blog My Whole Food Life (check it out!). She has terrific ideas, recipes and now videos! I saw THIS video for a cashew cheese sauce and thought it would be great for nachos. It is easy to make, tasty and great for serving with corn chips, quesadillas or even drizzled over burritos. I’m not sure, but you could probably use this to make a vegan mac and cheese. I add a little more cumin and some red pepper flakes to the sauce because I like it spicy, but you could make this sauce yours in a million ways. Unlike conventional cheese sauce, this is healthy (have you read the ingredients in processed queso?) and without the heaviness  or tummy issues of milk-based cheese. Watch the video, starring her lovely daughter and her husband and see for yourself! If you like what you see, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel and get more quick videos!

Buddha Bowl

  Buddha bowls are pretty much what they sound like–fat little happy bowls full of goodness. I’ve read various theories about the name Buddha Bowl–some think that the bowls are like a rounded Buddha belly and some liken the bowls to those that monks use to ask for their meals. I think maybe it’s just trendy, but if that is the case, they are at least trendy and delicious! Like all bowl meals, these are very flexible, allowing you to create whatever you like with whatever is seasonal.  Also, these are a great way to use up those leftover grains and vegetables in your refrigerator. Buddha bowls seem to have a formula of sorts and this seems to represent: grains + greens+ vegetarian protein + fermented vegetables + light sauce.

Our bowls contained black rice, baby kale, toasted chickpeas, roasted local vegetables (mushrooms, zucchini, onion, peppers), steamed sugar snap peas, kimchi, tahini sauce and a fried egg. The egg, of course, does not make this a true vegetarian dish, but if you eat eggs, I highly recommend adding one. A note about black rice. Black rice is higher in nutrients, antioxidants and fiber than white rice. In my experience, it takes longer to cook (more like wild rice), so if you use it, be prepared for longer cooking times! It does have a nuttier, smokier flavor and we love it!

Buddha Bowls (serves 3)

  • 3 cups cooked organic black rice (or other grain)
  • 6 cups organic, baby greens
  • 2 zucchini, ends removed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch baby broccoli, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4-6 fresh shitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 small, yellow organic onion, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 organic bell pepper, trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, steamed lightly
  • 1 can organic chickpeas
  • 2 cups kimchi or other pickled, fermented vegetable
  • 3 farm eggs
  • Tahini sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Toss with salt and pepper and any seasonings that you like. Put drained peas in a cake pan or other shallow pan and add to the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. They should be a little crunchy, but not burned.
  3. Line a sheet pan with foil. Add zucchini, mushrooms, onion and pepper and broccoli to the baking sheet. Toss all with the toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer. Roast vegetables in the oven (while chickpeas are roasting) for 20 minutes, flipping them over at 10 minutes.
  4. Assemble your bowls. Line each bowl with some fresh greens. Add a cup of the grains to the center of each bowl. Arrange the roasted vegetables, sugar snap peas, chickpeas, kimchi and tahini around the rice.
  5. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook the eggs, sunny side up, until done (about 2 minutes).
  6. Top each bowl with an egg.
  7. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Lemon Jam

20130617-080549.jpgBlueberries are awesome little powerhouses of nutrition. High in antioxidants, fiber and vitamins, they are sweet little health heroes. For me, as much as I like blueberries, I tend to like them better when paired with another flavor. Unlike our local blackberries, blueberries are just a bit too sweet for me. When partnered up with a more tart flavor, their sweetness is a bit more in balance. I love the combination of blueberry and lemon (and our blueberry-rhubarb combinations this spring were terrific also). So this weekend, I made a new jam experiment with just blueberry and lemon. The result? I think the blueberries taste far better in this jam than in plain blueberry itself! The lemon and lemon zest really brings out the brightness of the berries. This is a keeper!

One of the wonderful things about making jam with blueberries is that a lot of the work is done for you. Unlike strawberries, which require hulling and chopping, blueberries just need a quick wash and a check for any remaining little stems and you’re ready. Also, blueberries have a lot of natural pectin, so you don’t have to use any pectin at all, unless you’re in a hurry. If you want to use a pectin recipe, try using Pomona’s Universal Pectin. It is harder to find (Whole Foods does carry it, as does Amazon), but you can make low sugar jam using this pectin. Typically, I use about 1 cup sugar for 6 half-pints of jam. I love that because what I want to taste is the fruit, not sugar. Other pectins require almost 1 cup sugar for each cup of fruit, which seems ridiculous.

This recipe uses two kinds of lemon juice–bottled lemon juice (this is to provide enough acid in the jam that the jam will remain shelf stable) and fresh lemon juice and zest (for fresh lemon flavor). This is one place you want to buy an organic lemon. Actually, any time you are zesting citrus, you want to use an organic or pesticide-free fruit because you are using the part of the fruit that is most exposed to pesticides and toxins.

Blueberry Lemon Jam (makes 5-6 half pints)

  • 8 cups fresh blueberries (preferably pesticide free)
  • 1  or 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice**
  • Juice and zest from one organic lemon
  1. Fill a canning pot with water, insert the rack and add 6 half pint canning jars. Heat over high to boiling, then turn off heat and let sit until you are ready.
  2. Wash the blueberries in cool water and pick off any remaining stem pieces.
  3. Put the washed, wet blueberries into a non-reactive stock pot and heat over medium. Mash berries with a potato masher several times while cooking.
  4. When blueberries and juice come to a low boil, add the sugar, lemon juices and zest. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Turn heat down a bit and keep blueberries at a low boil, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes or until the berry mixture gels.
  6. Remove hot jars from the canning pot (carefully!) and set them on a clean tea towel. Put the jar lids into a bowl and pour some of the hot water over them to cover.
  7. Carefully ladle jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/4″ of headspace. Add lids and bands, just tighten bands to finger tightness.
  8. Return the filled jars to the canning pot, cover pot, and heat over high to boiling. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove jars from the hot water bath and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Check seals and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

**You can use fresh lemon juice, but because bottled juice is more consistent in its acid content, the bottled stuff may be more reliable.

Watermelon Smoothies

  Watermelon is one food that makes my summers extraordinary. Ripe tomatoes are right up there as well (nothing beats a summer lunch like a tomato sandwich), but ripe, cold watermelon is the antidote to our hot, sticky summers. 

This smoothie is like summer in a glass–perfect after a long run or a day at the pool. With no added sugar, it is also a healthy way to rehydrate! Don’t leave out the lime juice–it really helps balance out the sweetness in the watermelon. 

What is your favorite summer food?

Watermelon Smoothie (1 serving)

  • 3 cups watermelon
  • 1 cup ice
  • Juice from one lime
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately

Summer Egg Salad!

20130531-181020.jpg

Egg salad. Oh yes, summer is here.

When the days are warm and no one feels like cooking (well, not me anyway) and the thought of something cool and creamy for dinner makes everybody happy, it is time for egg salad. This is one of those dishes that is quick, easy, delicious and very budget-friendly–even if you buy farm fresh eggs like we do.

Any dish where eggs are the star deserves farm fresh eggs. We buy our eggs from farmers who pasture raise their chickens–not only do the egg yolks look healthier in color, but the eggs themselves taste noticeably better than grocery store eggs. They are also healthier for you, providing more omega-3 fatty acids than factory eggs and packing more protein as well.

I know people who don’t like to make this dish because they have a hard time peeling their hard boiled eggs. The recipe below details my system and I have never had this go wrong. Yet.

You can make this cold salad up to 24 hours ahead. Keep in the refrigerator with a slightly damp paper towel or piece of plastic wrap covering (touching) the surface of the egg salad to prevent any discoloration. Egg yolks, like avocados or bananas, react quickly to oxygen in the air and can turn brown. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it won’t be as appetizing.

We serve our egg salad with locally made sourdough from La Farm bakery or honey whole wheat from Great Harvest Bread Company. Pumpernickle is good, too, if you can persuade your children to eat it (if you can, please send tips). It is also delicious served on a bed of greens. Good sides for egg salad include homemade pickles or pickled okra, celery sticks, carrot sticks or even kale chips!

Egg Salad (makes about 3 cups)

  • 6 farm fresh eggs
  • 2 stalks organic celery, trimmed and diced (optional)
  • 1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise (we used Dukes)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  1. Gently put the eggs in a stock pot or large saucepan. Add water to cover eggs by 1″ and cover pot with lid.
  2. Heat pot over medium high heat until water starts to boil. Remove from heat, and let sit for 12 minutes.
  3. Unocover pot and remove eggs to a colander. Run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process.
  4. One at a time, take each egg and gently tap it all over its surface so that the surface of the egg has small cracks all over it.
  5. Holding the egg under a stream of cold water, gently peel the shell from the egg. The running water helps a lot. If some of the white sticks to the shell, that’s ok. You’re going to mash them up anyway. Put the peeled egg in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  6. Continue with all your eggs until they are all peeled and in the mixing bowl. With the back of a fork, mash the eggs so you have a rough mixture of egg whites and yolks.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix together with the fork until you have a thick, yellow mixture. Add more mayonnaise if your mixture seems too dry. Taste for seasoning and correct as needed.
  8. Serve on bread, toast or on a bed of greens!

Preserving Strawberries

berries

I love strawberries. Love, love, love them. Strawberries and asparagus are my two harbingers of spring. When you see them at the farmer’s markets, winter is over fo’ sho’. Like many of the most precious things in life, strawberries are fragile and temporary. Fresh strawberries are so far superior to their hard, dry grocery cousins that I will usually forego buying strawberries at the grocery and instead, wait until I can eat them to my heart’s content, fresh from the fields. But if you are eating (mostly) local as we are, how do you continue the strawberry love all year? There are lots of ways to preserve your berries so you have some wonderful flavor all winter long. Canning preserves, of course, is a great option, but don’t forget freezing and drying as well!

Your freezer is probably your most overlooked ally in reducing food waste and stalling the effects of time on your precious berries. Last year, we purchased a second freezer and we used it all summer to pack away berries, peaches, tomatoes, figs, corn, beans, okra–pretty much anything that was plentiful and at the peak of the season. Our freezer is running low now, but we’ve had a winter’s worth of wonderful meals and we’re getting ready to stock it up once again! With strawberries, you can make freezer jam or just freeze the whole berries for use later.

One of our favorite restaurants, Lucky 32, has a great Farm-to-Fork blog about preserving strawberries HERE. Check it out! I’m definitely trying the vinegar idea this year–not only does it sound delicious, it uses up those bruised berries that sometimes get put in the compost (well, not in our house–they usually end up in my mouth).

Here are some other ideas and resources:

Put ‘Em Up and Put ‘Em Up Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Put ‘Em Up was my canning and preserving bible last summer. My copy is so dog-eared, stained and sticky that it’s a surprise I can still turn the pages. One aspect I really like is that her jam recipes use Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which is a bit more expensive, but allows you to decrease the amount of sugar you use without compromising the texture of the jam. I just ordered her new fruit book and can’t wait to try the recipes. Strawberries are so fresh and sweet, why mess them up with more sugar than needed? I love this book so much more than the Ball canning books because the recipes are creative and absolutely spot on with measurements. Also, she includes other preserving methods, such as drying and freezing, so if you don’t can, you can still find lots of useful ideas.

Consider buying a dehydrator. This is my summer project. Have you ever had dried strawberries??? Holy moly! They are amazing and last a good long while. Wonderful on cereal, in granola or just as a snack–nature’s candy, indeed! You can dry strawberries in your oven as well–just takes a little more attention on your part, but completely do-able!

Make fruit leather. Once you make homemade fruit leather, you will never touch that pre-packaged stuff from the grocery again. And you kids probably won’t want to either. We made homemade strawberry fruit leather last spring (read about it HERE)and we all agreed it was so strawberry-delicious that we needed to make more. Immediately. Except then, we ate all our strawberries. Oh, well, we will try again this year!

I’ll be sharing more of our berry recipes as we head into high season! I just need to remember to sock some away for November and December, when we are feeling deprived of fresh berries!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

rhubarb

This is a repost from last spring because this pie is so wonderful!

I’ll just admit it. I am not so much a pie maker. Perfect crust tends to elude me, and the tops of my pies are usually cattywampus and slightly caved in. That’s ok with me, though–as long as they taste good. And the ice cream doesn’t seem to mind, either.

This pie is the last in my experiments with rhubarb. It was sticky, sweet, tart and perfect with vanilla ice cream (or soy cream). It puts to shame those imposter pies that beckon to you in the grocery with their too sweet filling and their bland crusts. I think strawberry rhubarb pie is just like spring–fresh, slightly awkward, and gone too soon. Yum.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (makes one pie)

  • 2 pie crusts from your favorite recipe
  • 3 cups fresh, organic or pesticide-free strawberries
  • 2 1/2 cups washed and chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons quick cooking tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg white
  • Organic turbinado sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix berries, rhubarb, sugar, flour, tapioca, cinnamon, zest and lemon juice. Toss well and set aside.
  3. In a 9″ pie plate, unroll one of the pie crusts. Pat into the plate. Pour the berry mixture into the pie crust.
  4. Cut the butter into cubes and sprinkle on top of the berries.
  5. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the edges of the pie crust with the egg wash.
  6. Top with the second pie crust. Crimp the edges of the pie and trim excess crust.
  7. Brush the egg wash over the pie crust. Cut slits in the top to vent steam. Sprinkle top with turbinado sugar.
  8. Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 50 minutes more.
  9. Let cool and serve.

Rainbow Peanut Noodles

IMG_2074

Can I confess to you that I am a Pinterest freak? I mean, yes, I realize that Pinterest features a lot of made up stuff that most of us will never do because we are busy having actual lives, but really. I’m like a moth to a flame. Occasionally, I will actually try to tackle a craft/home improvement/gardening/deep cleaning project, but mostly I just like to look at the pretty pictures. Guilty pleasures, I know. Sometimes those photos are accurate portrayals of what recipes will really look like, but often “they’ve had work done.”

Not so with this recipe. When I saw a photo of this dish from Give Me Some Oven, I thought no way will the real dish look so vibrant and lovely. I was all prepared for something less than stellar, and was pleasantly surprised when I ended up with something that looked like the photo! Thank you, Give Me Some Oven! I think it is one of my new favorite dishes. Healthy, vegetarian, easy to make and so darn pretty to look at, this recipe is a winner all around. In fact, the Give Me Some Oven site is full of rainbow recipes and they all look amazing so check out her site and get cooking!

The original recipe is HERE. I did some make some changes. I used my Spicy Peanut Sauce instead of the peanut sauce in the recipe. Mine is not sweet and has more kick to it. If you are making this dish for little ones (or family with a sweet tooth), I would use the original peanut sauce recipe. I did make it and it’s delicious, but I like more sass and less sweet–just a personal preference. I also used some fresh, local vegetables like local early garlic, local spring onion and sugar snap peas instead of edamame. You could really use whatever you want as long as you balance out the colors! I also used fresh rice noodles instead of pasta and that worked well, so if you’re gluten free, no worries!

The trick to this dish is to do all of your vegetable prep ahead. Once you start cooking, you have about 5-7 minutes until dinner is on the table, so have everything ready to go before you heat your pan. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Rainbow Peanut Noodles (Serves 3-4)

Spicy Peanut Sauce (makes about 1 cup)

  • 4 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha chili paste
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2cup olive oil (you could also use peanut oil)
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper

Rainbow Vegetables

  • 12 ounces fresh rice noodles (or pasta)
  • 1/2 head of organic purple cabbage, washed, drained and shredded
  • 2 small bulbs of fresh, organic spring garlic (or 1 garlic clove), minced
  • 1 pint fresh sugar snap peas, washed and trimmed
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 yellow and 1 red bell pepper, washed, trimmed and sliced very thin
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Optional toppings: peanuts, sesame seeds, chopped scallions
  1. Combine all ingredients for peanut sauce in a blender or the bowl of an immersion blender. Blend together until creamy and set aside.
  2. Heat water for the noodles. When water boils, cook the rice noodles for 1 minute. Set aside.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium high heat.
  4. Saute the rainbow vegetables for 3-4 minutes, tossing frequently. Turn off heat.
  5. Add noodles and 1/2 of peanut sauce to the vegetables in the pan and stir to combine.
  6. Serve immediately with toppings of your choice!

Swiss Chard and Mushrooms with Egg

chard

Is there a culinary Easy Button? I mean, one that doesn’t involve pizza delivery? Because some nights, I just want things to be easy. If I have to defrost or measure, it’s too much work. Do you have those nights? I’m guessing it’s not just me. This recipe is becoming one of my “go to” meals for those nights. You only need one pan, a cutting board, a knife, a spoon and a spatula. And the whole dish cooks in about 20 minutes. What’s not to love?

Adding to the love, the Swiss chard in our garden is going berzerk. Swiss chard is super easy to grow, pretty to look at with its multicolored stems and it keeps growing even after you cut it. Did I mention it’s a super food? Yep, it sure is. It’s a miracle plant, I tell you. If you have a little patch of soil or a raised bed, I highly recommend growing these greens.

A note about fungi. This recipe uses mushrooms, which I know are a controversial vegetable (or fungus?). Regardless, people either love them or hate them. I personally love them, Ellie hates them. If you have haters in your family, just substitute something else for the mushrooms. Red bell peppers would be good, especially if they are roasted. Or even white beans. Go crazy!

Eggs cooked in a nest of chard and mushrooms--easy and healthy!

One thing you should not skimp on with this recipe are the eggs. Eggs are a centerpiece in this dish, so use the best, freshest eggs possible. You can cook the eggs to your preference, but I like the yolks runny–they become magic with the greens. This is one good place to use those $4.00/dozen farm eggs because you will really taste the difference.

Swiss Chard with Mushrooms and Eggs (serves 2)

  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard, rinsed well to remove any sand
  • 1 organic yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Trim the stems off the Swiss chard and dice into similar sizes to the onion. Add chopped stems to the onion.
  2. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and chard stems. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are soft and stems have started to soften. Stir well. Season to taste.
  3. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook for about 2 minute, stirring well to keep vegetables from getting too brown.
  4. Chop the Swiss chard leaves and add to the pan. Keep turning the greens with the other vegetables until the greens are coated with olive oil and juices. Saute until the greens are wilted. Reduce heat to medium/low
  5. Take your spoon and flatten the greens and veggies. Make four depressions in the greens.
  6. Crack one egg into each depression. Season top with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 2 minutes, until eggs are opaque and set, but yolks are still runny.
  7. Remove from heat and use a spatula to divide the pan of greens in half. Lift greens carefully with eggs intact and plate.
  8. Serve immediately.

Ham and White Bean Soup with Kale

20140122-092248.jpgOne of my earliest memories of winter is walking off a curb, into a snow bank and finding myself surrounded by snow over my head. It seemed like such a magical thing, to be completely enveloped in soft, noise muffling snow. I may have been only 2 or 3 years old at the time, but that image of looking up and seeing nothing but snow and a peek of sky has stayed with me.

Friends, I am here to tell you that the magic of winter is gone for me. I am cold–are you cold? I am not the biggest fan of cold weather in the best of circumstances, but this winter has just been downright ridiculous. Since I can’t change the weather (I have tried), the best thing I can do is hunker down and eat cozy, warm, comfort foods. Like this soup. For me, winter soups need to be substantial, but also healthy. I like them hearty, with lots of delicious vegetables and either beans or pasta. This rustic white bean soup is easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of chopping or prep work. Easy, warm, nutritious and comforting. Just the thing to help me survive until spring!

I prefer cooking soup in a stock pot, but you can make this soup in a slow cooker by cooking on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4 hours. Don’t skimp on the rosemary or garlic–they give this dish a lot of great flavor!

A note about the beans: This dish will taste even better if you use dried beans and dehydrate them overnight, but if you are in a hurry you can use canned cannellini beans instead and cut your cooking time to about 45 minutes.

Ham and White Bean Soup with Kale (makes 4 servings)

  • 4 cups (1 quart) organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups rehydrated organic white cannellini beans (about 2 cups dry) or 3 cans of organic white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large handful of baby kale (or chopped regular greens)
  • 2 springs of fresh rosemary, stems removed and needles chopped
  • 1/2 cup smoked ham, prosciutto or side meat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Night before (if using dried beans): Put the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water plus about 2″. Cover and let sit overnight or for 7-8 hours.
  2. In a 10″ saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. If using dried beans, drain the beans, discarding the soaking water.
  5. In a stock pot, add all the ingredients except kale, salt and pepper. Heat over medium low and simmer for 4-6 hours. Check every once and a while and if the soup is too thick, add additional stock or water.
  6. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the kale and simmer for another hour.
  7. Serve hot with crusty bread or a side salad.