Greetings from the east coast! This past week was my spring break, and I made a last-minute decision to travel back home to see some friends and family and help one of my best friends get ready for her upcoming wedding. When I started thinking about recipes for this week, I immediately contacted my cousin – one of my favorite cooking buddies. When I suggested that we cook together, she reminded me that today would have been our grandfather’s 98th birthday. He was a large culinary presence in our family and instilled a few favorite dishes in both of our recipe arsenals. Being of Portuguese descent, and growing up near the south shore of Massachusetts, we were no strangers to kale – which I constantly praise for its nutrient density. Caldo verde (a Portuguese Kale soup) was frequently brought over to our house in Tupperware after he made a large batch. To honor his birthday, we made a date to make some of our own.
If you have never had kale soup, this dish is traditionally made with potatoes, beans, kale, smoked pork and a spicy Portuguese sausage – linguica. It is delicious. From a nutrition standpoint, we decided that this delicious soup was worthy of a health makeover. Linguica is a smoked, salty, and high-fat meat that can detract from the healthy aspects of the rest of the soup. We added some additional colorful vegetables and substituted a vegan grain sausage. I am not usually a fan of faux meats – but this Field Roast grain sausage is comprised of ingredients you can pronounce, and does not contain all of the crazy additives that many soy protein impostors tend to have. The southwestern variety also has a great spice profile that makes it easier to remove the linguica. If you are wary of using grain sausage or can’t find it in the grocery store (I found it at Whole Foods), there are some lower fat variations of linguica available at some stores. Even without the meat, this soup was hearty and warm. We enjoyed it at a table set with red tulips – which he grew in the yard and brought in for my grandmother when they were in bloom. We toasted some wine and smiled.
Portuguese Kale Soup
Makes about 6 servings
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
2 links Field Roast Southwestern grain sausage, diced
1 quart vegetable stock
1 quart water
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
4 cups kale, chopped or baby kale
1 can vegetable broth
1 can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Optional: add pasta or potato
Heat oil over medium heat in a large stock pot. Add garlic and onions; cook for about 5 minutes. Add carrot and celery and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Cook diced sausage for a few minutes until browned. Add stock, cover and increase to medium high. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat. Add kale and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Season. 10-15 minutes before serving, add beans and heat through.
So, that’s it for this week! Have a delicious weekend!
Until next time, remember that… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!