I don't know about you, but I am doing all I can to stay well among a barrage of sick people. So, it seems, it's that time of year - SOUP SEASON! They are relatively quick, nutritious, comforting, and lest we forget - a one pot meal.
Despite the busy trappings of in-between-holiday time, I wanted to slow down and care for my own health and well-being along with my household by making a big pot of this Tuscan Bean Soup with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Red Pepper.
It is slightly sweet from the butternut squash, a bit savory from kale and earthy herbs, and has a nice warm heat from healing spices like ginger, paprika, and red pepper flakes.
It is great to warm up from chills and fever, clear the nasal passage, support immunity, and cleanse the digestive system. It has both nutrient-dense liquids and some light plant protein from beans and kale.
It's such a good soup to make for loved ones who are sick or just to give your own body a boost as a preventative measure, or you know, to enjoy any cold winter night! Just take a look at some of the healthy benefits:
- Butternut squash is high in vitamin C and B6
- Kale is high in vitamins, antioxidants; cleanses the digestive system
- Garlic is both antibacterial and antiviral
- Antioxidants all around, right down to the spices. (Turmeric and Paprika)
- Ginger eases digestion, detoxifies
- Chili powder and red pepper cultivate heat
Then, for a little more substance, I grated REAL Italian Parmagiano Reggiano over the top and added a drizzle of our True Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a peppery, high polyphenol finish. Both the fromaggio (cheese) and olive oil were from our recent trip to Tuscany, which you can read about here. (Our 2018 small batch True Tuscan is being air-shipped as I write this!)
So, if you're like me and you're ready for a reprieve from the indulgence of the holidays, try this crazy delicious one-pot meal to give your body the life-giving nutrients it deserves.
- 1 lb Italian sausage (optional)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 8 cups broth
- 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut in ½ in. cubes
- 4 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 14 oz cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Parmigiano reggiano – optional garnish
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 springs thyme
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 bay leave
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and lightly coat with olive oil.
- Add chicken and cook about 5 minutes, adding garlic and onion powder to coat the outside.
- Add garlic, diced onion and red pepper to pan (as well as a pinch of salt and pepper) and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes.
- When chicken is nicely browned add broth to pan using a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add remaining seasonings.
- Raise heat to medium-high then bring soup to a boil. Add butternut squash cubes and cook for 15-20 minutes or until softened.
- Five minutes before serving, add kale and beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano if you wish.
- After plating, drizzle with True Tuscan extra virgin olive oil for an extra dose of anti-inflammatory benefits and cancer-fighting polyphenols.