After cooking a feast for Thanksgiving, I couldn’t believe I needed to shop for food on Monday, but we were running out of a few staples. As I went through the store, gathering soy milk, yogurt, and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Mighty Hot Cereal, I found myself drawn to the produce section, and I added a couple of bright red bell peppers, a sweet butternut squash, and some curly black kale to my cart before heading home.
I was craving vegetables, and relief from the rich holiday fare. As soon as I unloaded the groceries, I poured a little olive oil into a large pot and set it over medium heat, cut a big onion and one of the bell peppers into ½-inch cubes (faster than finely chopping), and got a cauldron of fragrant soup started.
White beans, garbanzos, black beans and all the other legumes are great sources of satisfying, gluten-free starch, and I rely on them frequently. I make soups, stews, curries, dips , and countless other dishes with beans. When I have time, I use dried beans, and cook them with an onion and a handful of fresh herbs for added flavor, but canned legumes are so convenient I always have several varieties in my pantry, and that is what I used for this soup.
Packaged broth is another great time saver for the busy cook, but it is an ingredient that needs careful scrutiny for use in the gluten-free home. Before my gluten sensitivity returned, I relied on Swanson’s Organic Chicken Broth to add good flavor to soups and sauces. I was surprised to see wheat listed in its ingredient list, an unexpected ingredient in stocks and broths. This was an important reminder that it is essential to read labels. I now rely on Swanson’s Natural Goodness Chicken Broth and Trader Joe’s Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth. And, there are many others. Of course, if you simmered your turkey bones to make a flavorful broth, this is a great place to use that natural elixir.
The recipe makes 6 or more servings, and we will enjoy it for a few nights, giving this tired cook a few days of needed rest.
One more after-holiday tip: I have been swirling spoonfuls of leftover cranberry sauce (the cooked kind) into my bowl of hot cereal. It is a delightful sweet-tart variation to my standard cold-morning breakfast.
White Bean, Butternut Squash, and Kale Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½-¾ -inch cubes (about 3 cups/12 ounces)
- 1½ tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or sage
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups gluten-free chicken broth, or more as needed
- 2 15- oz cans cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups chopped black kale, about ½ large bunch
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, rosemary or sage, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and sauté about 5 minutes to heat the squash.
- Add the broth and beans to the pot, increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover partially, and simmer until the squash is tender and sweet, about 25 minutes. Add the kale and simmer until wilted and just tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Thin the soup with more broth or water if desired.