Three Greens and White Bean Soup with Spinach Gremolata

The idea of doing a New Year’s cleanse leaves me cold, even though it’s a balmy 48° outside.  I can’t imagine depriving myself even for one day, though I hear that the best cleanses don’t leave you with that starvation feeling.  They certainly are popular these days if Facebook posts are any measure of popularity.  Whatever.  For me, when I need to get ahold of things as far as my diet goes, I cut the carbs and eat lots of greens.  That’s about as clean as I can get.

I received my first subscription copy of Bon Appétit  last month and I’ve already bookmarked several recipes to try in January.  This soup is from their “quick and easy” section and fits the bill for a post-Holiday recipe shake-up.  To make it even healthier, I took out the potatoes and added white beans.  Besides, potatoes do nothing for me in a soup.  If I’m going to go all out and eat a carb-filled potato, it better be fried, mashed or “dauphinoised”  if you catch my drift.  White beans in a soup, however, along with a bunch of kale, give it almost a Tuscan bent.  On top, there’s a lemony fresh gremolata which adds some pep and spunk.  I was a little surprised at how tasty and satisfying this was, even better the next day.  I’ve had two servings of this healthy deliciousness so far and I feel better already.

Adapted generously from Bon Appétit, January 2012
Serves 4.

1 small onion, chopped

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling

1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and chopped *

1 small bunch kale, woody stems removed and chopped

1 bunch spinach, (not baby–either bagged or bunched), stemmed and chopped, divided

5 cloves garlic, 4 minced, 1 grated

1  4 cup box Organic chicken broth, low sodium

1 can cannellini beans (preferably organic, we’re eating healthy here!), drained and rinsed

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

dash nutmeg

coarse salt and black pepper

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, for the garnish

grated parmesan, to garnish (optional)


For the soup:

In a dutch oven or soup pot, begin  by sautéing the onions in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper. Season with coarse salt and black pepper.  When the onions are translucent, add the chopped kale and nutmeg and sauté for another 5 minutes or so.  Add the chopped chard, white beans and broth.  Bring to a low boil, then simmer for another 5 minutes.  At this point, you can prepare the gremolata (see below).  Add the spinach (leaving one cup aside for the gremolata) and two teaspoons lemon juice and simmer for another 3 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

For the gremolata:

Finely chop 1 cup of the spinach and add to 1 teaspoon lemon zest, the grated garlic clove, coarse salt and black pepper.  Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and toss.  Set aside for garnishing the soup, along with some grated parmesan cheese and toasted pine-nuts.

* To easily remove the stems from the kale and the chard, fold the leaf in half and cut along the edge of the stem.  Discard stems.  Voilà–c’est facile!

You could, of course, serve some crusty bread on the side if you’re not interested in carb-reduction. That would be downright heavenly.

Well, the oven timer just dinged.  I decided to make just one last foray into holiday baking with Chrissy’s tasty twist on soda bread.  It is Epiphany after all and in Europe, at least, they’re still celebrating.  Having not had time to make this during our holiday madness, Dad gets it for his birthday present.  Bon anniversaire, papa!


About Liza M.

foodie, francophile, Ann Arborite, teacher, bookworm and self-professed latte-lover--come cook with me!
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8 Responses to Three Greens and White Bean Soup with Spinach Gremolata

  1. Ha, I don’t appreciate potatoes in soup either, unless of course it is a potato soup!

  2. Sarah says:

    Mmm….gremolata is the best. Thank you for reminding of that simple truism! 🙂

  3. I’m days behind – on your blog and so many other things… but I wanted to say that I’m currently OBSESSED with kale (weird) and I’m I’m going to try this. AND that I am definitely still celebrating at Epiphany – sometimes I like to stretch it out until Orthodox Epiphany. Winter is too long and cold to rush past the cheer.

  4. Laura says:

    This recipe looks fantastic! I actually have all of these things thanks to the farmers market (even local “tongue of fire” dried beans!) so I’m stoked to try it this week! With all the greens, does it freeze well? I’m debating making a few batches given the absurd amount of hearty greenery threatening to overtake my kitchen.

    • Liza M. says:

      Hmm…I haven’t frozen it. I often freeze a version of this soup made with kale alone, or even just escarole. It loses its bright green color, but that happens anyways after a day or two in the fridge. Still tasty! Isn’t it amazing how many greens are readily available even in the dead of winter?

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