The current state of the weather and the election may leave you searching for something comforting. Instead of reaching for that mac-cheese or glass of wine, you might want to consider this ultimate comfort food: white bean, sausage, kale, and sweet potato soup.
Ultimate Comfort Food
If you know me, I love food and especially soups at this time of year. This nutrient-dense soup is one of my all-time favs. Why? Because it not only tastes good, but it packs a lot of good stuff, is quick to prepare, and freezes well for leftovers.
What’s in the soup? Well, I’m glad you asked because this soup has a lot of greatness going on!
Highlight of Nutrients
- Kale– is fiber-rich, has cancer-protective properties, is anti-inflammatory, may help reduce cholesterol and protect vision due to lutein which is a carotenoid found in the leaf. Rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, B3, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Iron, Carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin; flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol); omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
- Carrots & Sweet Potato– these powerhouse foods are packed with compounds called carotenoids. Beta-carotene, a carotenoid, gives sweet potatoes and carrots their rich color and converts to vitamin A. Carotenoids also are antioxidants that can help protect your cells from daily damage. Beta-carotene helps to protect your eyes. Lutein, found in yellow carrots, can help prevent macular degeneration. Sweet potatoes also contain B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamin, and zinc. Carrots are also rich in vitamin K, potassium, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
- Cannellini beans– aside from being fiber and protein-rich, they offer many nutrients such as magnesium, copper, vitamin B6, folate, iron, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. Copper helps with iron metabolism. Iron has many functions in the body, but a key one is the production of hemoglobin which helps to transport oxygen throughout your body. This bean is also high in polyphenol antioxidants which can help protect against chronic disease.
- Garlic & Onion– Garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds that could lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Garlic is also helpful in protecting against oxidative stress and acting as an anti-inflammatory.
- Celery- this vegetable has recently enjoyed the spotlight and for good reason. Celery contains a high level of flavonols and flavone antioxidants. These compounds contain anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds in it including flavonols like quercetin, kaempferol, and phytosterols. It is also rich in vitamins A, K, C, folate, potassium, and molybdenum.
- Oregano– This herb has long been used for medicinal purposes offering antibacterial and antifungal properties. It may be helpful with a variety of conditions including metabolic syndrome, cancer, and cholesterol.
This soup is incredibly versatile and can be made vegan friendly by omitting the Italian chicken sausage and swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock instead.
- 2 large sweet potatoes (roughly 3 cups cubed- so if you need another one to hit this amount, go for it!)
- 1 lb Organic Italian Chicken Sausage (chopped)
- 4 cups Kale, roughly chopped (about 3 ounces or 4 large handfuls)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 large celery stalks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (or approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 11/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper (optional)
- 6-8 cups of vegetable broth or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 3 green onions
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dice sweet potato into cubes and set aside. Dice the yellow onion, chop the carrots, celery, and mince the garlic. Drain and rinse the beans.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and sauté a few minutes until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery are soft. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne (optional) and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the sausage and cook until slightly browned. Stir in the sweet potatoes, then add the vegetable or chicken stock, cannellini beans, bay leaves, and bring to a slight boil.
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer 15 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender. While simmering, roughly chop the kale and thinly slice the green onion.
- When the sweet potatoes are tender, remove from the heat and stir in the kale, green onions, and lemon juice. Allow to cool slightly before serving. If desired, add pepper to taste.
- Serve garnished with fresh parmesan cheese (optional) and a small dollop of plain Greek yogurt (optional), a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, diced sun-dried tomatoes, or even some crusty bread.
- Include a mix of yellow and orange carrots to maximize your nutrient intake! Oh, and as much as I LOVE purple carrots, hold them for something later. If you put them into the soup, it will turn it and everything in it a love shade of grey making this soup not so appealing!
- I prefer Lacinato kale for this recipe, but any kale will do. If you choose the common curly kale, you may want to slice down the center of the leaf and remove the stem before chopping.