If you eat kale, do you remember a time when you didn’t eat kale?
I sure do. Kale was totally a “No, thank you” food as a former only-iceburg-lettuce-eating lady. But then I tried kale chips sometime in 2008 or 2009, and my love for kale began. I’m fairly sure that kale chips are the gateway drug to dark leafy greens. If kale seems dark and scary to you – try it in chip form. It’s hard to say “No Thanks” when it’s warm and crispy and delicious after being baked in a little oil and salt.
I love recruiting people to join me on the kale bandwagon, but kale is such a trendy vegetable these days – if you enjoy eating healthy food, you are probably no stranger to the awesomeness and nutritiousness that is kale. Kale is chocked full of calcium, B vitamins as well as A, C, E and K, it’s seriously one of the best vegetables you can eat. I love to add kale to things like marinara sauce, green smoothies, green juice, in salads, for growing in my little backyard garden, serving as a side to some pork chops or sauteed in coconut milk with curry. You get the picture. Kale is good!
I usually buy curly leaf kale, but sometimes I’m feeling a little prehistoric and go with dinosaur kale.
Or as the case last week, the dino kale was looking a lot better than its wilty, sad looking curly leaf neighbor in the produce department. (Sorry Curly Kale, it’s nothing personal.)
I bought this particular bunch of kale to add to an Italian sausage and tomato soup I was planning for dinner.
I love adding kale to soup, for its nutrients, but more importantly for its welcome, satisfying chewiness. And of course, kale on the list of Affordable Healthy Food Items that we’ve been talking about for more than a month now.
When it comes to leafy greens, I stick with organic pretty exclusively as they are fairly high on the list of pesticide laden produce. Organic kale is usually a $1 more than conventional, I usually expect to spend $2.99 per bunch. My knee jerk response to $3 for a bunch of leaves is “ouch!” But then when I think about what I can do with kale AND better yet, what kale can do for me – it’s well worth three bucks, especially considering that it works out to be less than a $1 per serving.
Italian Sausage and Tomato Soup With Kale
Makes 6 – 8 servings
1 lb loose Italian sausage
1 large yellow cooking onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 – 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
28 oz canned tomatoes
2 c water or broth
1 bunch of kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
basil, oregano and thyme to taste
Add the sausage to the pan, allowing it start browning. Just keep chopping and heaping in vegetables as your sausage cooks (except the kale).
Garlic, onions, peppers, carrots – in ya go!
Once you can see the sausage is mostly brown, add tomatoes and the 2 cups or water or broth.
I didn’t have any broth on hand, so I just refilled my tomato can with water to get out any remaining tomato-y goodness and kept moving. Between the sausage and all the vegetables, this soup is not lacking for flavor, so broth is optional.
Add herbs and spices, allow soup to come to a boil. I chopped my kale while watching my pot of soup boil. (P.S., a watched pot DOES eventually boil.)
Keep in mind that kale reduces a lot in size as it cooks, so big pieces of raw kale will easily become “bite sized” after it’s spent enough time the tomato and sausage sauna.
Once soup is bubbling, stir in chopped kale, reduce to heat to low and cover.
Simmer for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally while the kale cooks down and all the flavors blend.
I’ve made this Italian Sausage and Tomato Soup with Kale recipe a couple of times now, it’s a current favorite around here. It’s so full of flavor and hearty enough that it works as an entire meal in one bowl. I love having a big pot of leftovers to reheat for lunch or as a side at dinner the next night.
I probably spent $15 on all the ingredients for this soup, but it easily makes 6 – 8 servings, working out to be $2.50 to $1.88 per bowl. Now that’s something that makes me say, “Yes, thank you!” (After I’m done chewing my kale, of course.)