Soups and Stews Uncategorized

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale

White Bean Soup with Kale
White Bean Soup with Kale

With the intention of creating heart-healthy, low-sodium, nutritious dishes, I bring you a white bean soup with kale. I’ve described it as creamy, but there is no cream. The creaminess comes from puréeing the beans themselves. To make this a vegan dish, simply swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock. This recipe is also gluten-free (as long as the stock you use is gluten free). I’m eating it right now and it is totally hitting the spot. The heartiness of the puréed beans makes bread an unnecessary companion, which is good, since I’m trying to avoid that too.

You can garnish this soup with grated Parmesan cheese and certainly season it with additional salt, but since we’re cutting back on salt and fat, I’ve left out both.

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale


1 lb of dried Great Northern Beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups diced onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, chopped or diced
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
5-6 cups low-salt chicken stock
3/4 of a bunch of kale (I used curly kale)
Freshly ground pepper


1. Rinse and sort beans. In a large stockpot, cover with water (about 6 cups) and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit 1 hour. This is the quick replacement for soaking overnight. Once they are soaked, drain the water.

2. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and carrots and sautée gently until softened and golden, about 15 minutes. (Watch heat carefully to ensure onions don’t brown too much).

3. Add rosemary and sauée 1 minute. Add beans, then add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes (unless your beans were really tender, in which case, you may be able to simmer for as little as 10 minutes).

4. While soup is simmering, blanch the kale. Here’s how. Trim stems off of the kale leaves by folding them in half and slicing along the spine of the stem. Bring a small amount of water to a boil. Add kale and boil for 2 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Pat dry on paper towels and cut kale into small, bite-size pieces. Set aside.

5. Once the beans have simmered long enough to be fork tender, purée the soup in batches in a blender and then return it to the pot. Reheat and add most of the kale. Save a few pieces of kale for garnish. Pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill and reheat later.

Breads Breakfast/Brunch Vegetarian

Spiced Fig & Pecan Oat Bran Muffins

Spiced Fig and Pecan Oat Bran Muffins
Spiced Fig and Pecan Oat Bran Muffins

Recently, I’ve been enjoying the blueberry bran muffins at Peet’s Coffee I’ve noticed how I don’t have my normal mid-morning hunger pangs as a result. So that set me to thinking it’s time to add bran muffins to my cooking repertoire. I purchased whole wheat flour and oat bran at Trader Joe’s as well as some dried fruits, like apricots, dates and… figs. So today, I tried a fig and oat bran muffin and it came out great.

I really tried to make this a healthy, low-fat recipe, so instead of my normal “stick of melted butter,” this recipe has a mixture of applesauce and canola oil for the fat. It has a bit of brown sugar, but not too much and no white sugar. And, of course, it has whole wheat flour and oat bran. The orange peel and spices make it a nice holiday (healthy) treat.

Spiced Fig & Pecan Oat Bran Muffins
Spiced Fig & Pecan Oat Bran Muffins

Spiced Fig & Pecan Oat Bran Muffins
Makes 14 Muffins


1 cup all-purpose (bleached) flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped dried Black Mission Figs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp apple sauce
2 large eggs
1 cup Stonyfield Farms Oikos Yogurt (or other Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Grated peel of 2 clementines (about 2 tsp)


1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line muffin tins with papers and spray inside of papers lightly with nonstick cooking spray (optional).

2. Mix together the first 9 ingredients (all dry) in a medium bowl. Stir in figs and pecans. Set aside.

3. Mix together the brown sugar, oil and applesauce. Whisk in the 2 eggs until well blended. Stir in the yogurt and the milk. Whisk in the vanilla and stir in the grated peel.

4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Don’t overmix. Drop batter into paper cups, dividing evenly.

5. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Spiced Fig & Pecan Oat Bran Muffins
Spiced Fig & Pecan Oat Bran Muffins
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