Winter Warmer Portuguese Style Kale and Sausage Soup

Are you tired of cold weather? Well I sure am. I am a Florida girl at heart so I don't adapt well to snow, ice and cold. When the weather outside is frightful, my solution is to cook, sometimes bread but always soup.

Years ago I worked at a health food store. I was their soup chef (or in line with Seinfeld, let's say the soup Nazi!). It was a designation I gave myself because I was in charge of our "soup of the day".

Today it is warming up here and the sun is shining, but earlier this week it wasn't all that pretty or warm. I decided it was a "soup of the day" day. The soup, my version of Portuguese Kale and Sausage soup...vegetarian style. Kale is now considered one of the super foods. It benefits immune function, assists in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and also age-relate macular degeneration http://www.discoverkale.co.uk/health-benefits/lutein/)

In place of the traditional potatoes, I used white beans. (Did you know it is recommended that you eat 4 1/2 cups beans a week? They are a good source of fiber and help regulate blood sugar http://www.prevention.com/food/food-remedies/type-2-diabetics-can-improve-their-blood-sugar-beans).

I also used Tofurkey Italian sausage but you could just use beans and keep the sodium count lower http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad/2010/11/battle_of_the_v.php. If you are a die hard carnivore, use traditional Linguica sausage, Chorizo or a good quality, lean Italian sausage instead of Tofurkey.  This makes about 3 servings but you could double the recipe for a family meal.

 I must say, I really enjoyed this soup. In fact, I made it in the morning and ended up having it for breakfast!  A nice slice of wholegrain and seed toast would be a great accompaniment. This makes about 3 servings but you could double the recipe for a family meal.

I haven't had my breakfast yet and all this talk of soup has made me hungry. I guess it is another Portuguese Kale, Sausage and White Bean soup morning!

Here is how I made it:

 Portuguese Kale, Sausage and White Bean Soup

2 tbl+ 1 tbl olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
4cups  plus 1 cup organic vegetable broth, divided(low sodium is healthier)
(I used a mix of vegetable broth with a little mushroom broth just because I could!)
3 cups, stemmed  kale torn into pieces (or more if you wish)
1 15 ounce can low sodium cannellini beans, drained (I run water over them to get the goo off)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper or to taste
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 links tofurkey Italian sausage
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, swirl to coat the pan. Add onion, carrot and celery. Saute about 5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook another minute. Stir in 4 cups of the vegetable broth and kale, bay leaf and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer a few minutes until the kale is crisp tender.

Meanwhile slice sausage in 3/4 inch pieces and saute in  the remaining olive oil until the sides are browned (if using real sausage, cook thoroughly, then drain)

Add the additional 1 cup of broth, cannellini beans and ground black pepper and sausage to the vegetable mixture.  Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes. Add the remaining salt, fresh rosemary and Parmesan cheese. 3 servings