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Tuscan Kale & Cannellini Bean Soup

Tuscan Kale & Cannellini Bean Soup

To help everyone get through the winter, we asked Cassandra Meaux, the best home cook we know, to come up with a comforting recipe that doesn't take all day to make. In no time, she conjured up a delicious soup which can be adapted to fit most dietary restrictions, can be made in under an hour, and easily doubles if you are feeding a crowd, or want to freeze a batch for later. There is even a way to spice it up a bit, depending on your personal preferences.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: 4 - 6 

  • 2 Tbsp. good-quality olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion - medium chop (approximately one cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 2 15.5 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chopped and lightly packed Tuscan kale (also known as lacinato or dino kale), stems removed and chopped fine, leaves rough-chopped 
  • kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch pieces
  • olive oil for drizzling after serving
  • finely grated romano cheese
  • dried red chili flakes (a pinch, or more if you like)
Method:  With the burner on medium high, heat olive oil in a 4-quart stockpot until slightly shimmering in pan. Add onions and diced kale stems, and saute until onions are soft and translucent.  Add garlic, stir for a minute.

If using chicken thighs, add to onion and kale stems mixture and cook until chicken starts to turn opaque and begins to brown. Add tomato paste and stir until onions, kale stems and garlic are coated.  Add tomatoes with their juices, beans, and vegetable or chicken broth. Stir well.
Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add red chili flakes here if you are in the mood for another level of warmth.

Add kale, stir well and cook 10 minutes more or until bubbling again. Adjust seasonings.
To serve:  drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with finely grated Romano cheese.  Serve with warm, crusty bread.
For a vegan soup - use vegetable broth, omit chicken and Romano cheese. 

Cassandra Meaux is a self-taught private chef and caterer in Los Angeles and New Mexico.