White Bean and Kale Soup
If there was one thing that I sorely missed when I began my candida lifestyle, it was carbs. Making this commitment to cleaning out your system is hard, but if you can keep it up, the physical benefits are unbelievable.
That’s why I believe it’s worth taking the time to discuss ways that I have found to make food that adheres to the candida diet, but still makes me feel like I eat a variety of delicious food – and a solid portion of it – every time I sit down to a meal. Life is for enjoyment, and for many of us food is a seriously real focus of interest and pleasure.
This white bean and kale soup has all of the above. The pureed beans make the soup creamy and rich, but this is one carbohydrate that will go easy on your gut.
Making this soup is fast and flavorful, not to mention cheap! Both of the main components, beans and kale, can be found at prices to please even a student’s budget like mine.
I used organic, canned, pre-cooked beans in order to skip, oh, about eight hours of pre-soaking and cooking that are just unnecessary. I’m getting a double Bachelors degree – I do not have half a day to spend soaking beans.
Get out the soup pot and heat it up on the stove. I knew I was going to freeze my leftovers, so I made a big batch; First I chopped and sautéed one small yellow onion and four cloves of garlic in extra virgin olive oil with salt and pepper. Once these were translucent, I added five fifteen ounce cans of Great Northern beans and a thirty-two fluid ounce carton of organic chicken stock. Cannellini beans will also work well, and are found in many Italian soups that are similar to this one.
I heated this mix to a bubbling boil, and after about fifteen minutes of softening the beans, I took my hand blender to it. I started with slow pulses, and worked my way up to a constant blend. After a few minutes, the texture was thick and smooth (think similar to a wet cake batter).
If you would prefer to leave some of your beans whole, you can blend it for less time, or add in another can of beans after you finish the initial mixture. If your soup looks like the beans are settling to the bottom, just add more beans until your soup is an even consistency.
Once I had my texture, I set about flavoring. Salt and pepper always come first. Remember, beans are relatively bland without seasoning, and salt is especially important to bring out the natural earthiness of the white bean. I still felt the soup could have a little more dimension to it, so I added about a half cup of organic half and half, and tablespoon or two of grated parmesian. A tiny bit of dairy is the key to making this soup feel incredibly decadent, without piling on the calories.
Candida Alert: Parmesian is a hard cheese that is not recommended on the candida diet, as it is highly subject to mold during its aging process. In this recipe, I made a call for flavor over rigid rule-following.
Half and half is on the list of dairy to limit, but if you want to highlight the creaminess of this soup by adding dairy, half and half has less sugar than whole milk, and, with its higher fat content, it will achieve the same effect with half the amount.
Once the soup was flavored to taste, I rinsed and chopped a bundle of local kale into thin, quarter-inch strips. I tossed these strips directly into the soup, put the lid on and turned the heat low. The soup then simmers for about half an hour, until the flavors are integrated and the kale has softened.
If you don’t like kale, you can substitute with any leafy green you choose. Spinach will cook down to be softer than the kale, if you don’t want the chewiness of the robust leaf in your soup. However, I like kale in this recipe because it adds a tooth to each bite that keeps the flavor interesting, not to mention it’s extremely good for you.
Kale is extremely anti-inflammatory, which is just what you need on a diet to reduce inflammation from Candida. It’s a low calorie vegetable from the same family as cabbage and broccoli, and contains large amounts of vitamins A and K. Owing to its hardy constitution, it is relatively easy to find this leafy friend locally grown practically any time of year.
Serve this soup as a starter, or as a meal in itself. I hope you enjoy this guilt-free carbo-load, a total Candida Can-do!