March is a funny month in the northern hemisphere. We’re mentally ready for spring as we start to think about tending to our gardens or grabbing fresh produce at the farmer’s market, the air and ground are warming up, but it’s still chilly enough for us to need to be cozy. The March sun shines but the crisp air says, “Don’t put the fuzzy socks away just yet!” Well into the new year at this point, we also start getting busier.
Rich in greens, this rustic, uncomplicated soup beckons spring while warming us to our core, and it solves the problem of needing a quick, nourishing meal on a busy night. It also qualifies as a green meal—perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe I should call it March Soup!
I first made this soup up years ago on a night when we were lazily hanging around all evening without any dinner inspiration. With a wee kid who needed to eat and limited stock in our fridge, I finally just grabbed some kale and ceci beans, as we call them (it’s Italian for garbanzo beans… or at least that’s what our Italian family told my husband and I when we were kids—LOL!) and said, “I don’t know what I’m making yet, but this combo will be good for us!” In a matter of minutes, with minimal thought or effort I had created one of the most delicious soups any of us had ever had. Seriously! It was so good! I quickly wrote down what I’d done and the next time I followed that scratch of a recipe it was just as delicious.
Every time we make this soup I’m kind of shocked at how scrumptious it is because it’s just. so. simple. But it is! Scrumptious and simple to make. Scrumptious and made with simple ingredients that are pretty much always available. Scrumptious and it only requires one pot. Plus, it’s hearty enough to be a crowd pleasing meal by itself. We like to pair this with warm baguette. If you’re especially hungry, you could always throw one cup of cooked rice, farrow, or tiny pasta into the soup once it’s ready.
Oh, and, if you’d like to have a “Ratatouille moment” like my daughter described, just add a sprinkling of good Pecorino Romano to your bowl. The last time I made this I dropped a little cheese into her half eaten bowl and, as she took a bite she closed her eyes, did her best impression of the tiny rat-chef from that cute old movie and said, “Seriously! Having a Ratatouille moment over here! It’s like I can taste all the flavors even more and now I see colors and they're dancing on my tongue. Wow, Mumzer, this soup was already really good…. now it’s crazy!”
I probably don’t need to break down the nutritional value of dark leafy greens and organic beans for you, but in case you’re new here, kale is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also a great source for nifty cancer preventing compounds like sulforaphane. Garbanzo beans bless us with bone-health minerals, potassium, fiber and protein.
At the risk of overselling it, I have to add: This one-pot goodness is the soup version of being welcomed with open arms and well cared for after a long, hard journey!
HA! So dramatic! (Let’s all remember, before I was all about yoga, I was all about theatre.)
I’ve possibly gone too far. Though, make this for yourself and let me know if you think I oversold it. You may feel like we do — hugged from the inside out every time you have a bite, too!
Hope you and yours enjoy this Cozy Kale & Garbanzo Bean Soup. May you eat this in health and happiness!
Cozy Kale & Garbanzo Bean Soup
by Maggie Verderame
1 TBS + 2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, pressed/minced
6 Cups Dark Kale (Lacinto / Dino), chopped into bite sized pieces (approx. 9oz)
2 Quarts Vegetable Broth
1 tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Garlic Granules
½ tsp Onion Granules
13-15oz prepared (can/tetrapack) Garbanzo Beans, drained
Heat oil over medium flame in a small stock pot.
Cook onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add kale, broth and salt. Stir to combine, cover, and turn up heat to high. Bring to a boil. Let the soup boil for 5 minutes, then lower heat to simmer and drop in beans, garlic and onion granules, and beans. Stir once more to mix in the spices.
Simmer covered over low heat for 15 minutes.
Serve hot with crusty bread and maybe a sprinkling of Pecorino Romano cheese.
Store cooled soup in a well sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Alternately, you could freeze this soup for several months.