I can imagine that soup isn’t the first dish that comes to mind when you’re sweating buckets in the heat of summer.
Well, I have two arguments for you.
First, let’s talk about the beauty of making a soup. If you are comfortable enough in the kitchen to whip up a casual meal without a recipe, then you should definitely make soup in the summer. The argument here is that summer is a time when you don’t want to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen, so throwing a bunch of things together in a pot to simmer away for a while is ideal. And, in my eyes, the real hero of most soups is all of the incredible veggies. In the summer, we are bombarded with all kinds of vegetables (at the grocers and at your local farmers market – not to mention your own garden if you have one!) so why not take advantage of all that goodness and make a bowl full of nutritious soup? And the beauty of most soups is you can double (or triple!) a batch easily and eat it all week long (soup tip: many soups get better with time as the flavours have a chance to meld.)
The second reason you should make soup in the summer is because the most adorable elderly, Welsh woman who used to live next door to me when I first got married was full of wisdom. One day, in the dead of summer, I saw her eating a bowl of soup in the garden. I asked her why she would choose to eat something warm on such a hot day. Her answer was that eating soup (and drinking tea) cools you down because heating up your insides with warm food balances you body temperature and makes it easier for you to adapt to the heat in the atmosphere.
I have no idea if she was right (come to think of it, I’ve never even googled it to see if she was right). But, she made a mean pie and knew the answer to every problem I had in the kitchen so I’m going with that.
This soup, in particular, is a favorite of mine because it’s so nostalgic (both my mom and nonna made this on repeat when I was a kid) and it uses up a green that, year after year, does extremely well in my garden…kale! Each year, I plant different varieties of kale just to see which I like better. This Italian kale (cavolo nero) is great because it’s far more tender than the curly kale, which is the more available variety. Now the later is great for kale chips (if you’ve never had them, check out this post to see how easy they are to make), but this Italian kale is quickly becoming my favorite.
This soup combines the most simple ingredients (that you probably already have in your pantry or fridge) and a bunch of kale. That’s it.
It’s so flavorful and so full of nutrients, so why not make up a batch?
And do you want to know what my most favorite part of this soup is? It’s the day old bread! If you do it right, you’ll get a giant crunchy crouton where part of it sops up the juicy goodness of the broth and the other part adds a much needed crunch to this silky soup.
Have I convinced you yet that soup can be the hero on you summer table?
Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
- 1 can cannellini or navy beans (540 mL/19 oz)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for serving)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 bunch tuscan kale (you can use more or less to taste) (you can sub in curly kale or any other green)
- 1 2-3 inch piece of parmigiano rind if unavailable, just add 1 tbsp grated parm to the finished soup).
- freshly ground black pepper
- ciabatta bread, sliced and toasted
- In a small skillet set over medium heat. heat 1/4 cup oil and turn heat down to low. Add the garlic and poach for about 3 minutes (making sure it doesn't brown). Remove the skillet from the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes to infuse the oil and soften the garlic.
- In a large soup pot, heat the remaining (2 tbsp) oil over medium heat and add the chopped onion; cook slowly until onion softens and begins to brown.
- Add in stock and chopped kale; cook over medium heat until greens are wilted (about 5-7 minutes). Then add beans and the cheese rind and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Season to taste
- Pour in the garlic/oil mixture and and stir well. Pour into soup bowls and serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil (if using) and place a piece of toasted bread on top (the soup will start to absorb into the toast but eat it while it's still a bit crunchy...it's so epic!!)