Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This time of year, when the leaves are beginning to change to their shades of gold and red, and I'm actually able to bring my sweaters out of hiding, I'm always in search of comfort food. The problem with comfort food? Well, because "comfort food", for me, usually means "fatty food". As I've mentioned on my other blog, I'd love to lose 15 pounds by Christmas; but, at this point, I'm highly doubting that the scale has moved in the direction I'm hoping it will. So, last night, I (desperately) searched through my kitchen cabinets for something that will help with my craving for warm, comforting food without causing me to wake up with a food hangover the next morning (you know the feeling, admit it! ;P).

The solution? Soup, of course! I'm somewhat burned out on lentils, so I decided to skip the lentil soup route... I wanted something to encourage me to lose weight, but cabbage soup just doesn't have the comfort and nutrients I've been craving. Then I remembered: minestrone soup! Except I didn't have noodles or potatoes.

So, I give you my Cabbage Kale-Minestrone Soup Hybrid

Pretty, nutritious, and filling!

  • 5 cups - low sodium vegetable stock
  • 3 cups - water
  • 1 28 oz. can - whole, peeled tomatoes, low sodium
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, cubed
  • 3 large stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cups - kidney beans (I soaked my own beforehand)
  • 6-8 Tbsp. (or to taste) Italian seasoning or Herbs de Province (roughly 1 Tablespoon per cup of liquid used) - I used dried since I didn't have any fresh on hand.
  • 4 ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 2 heads kale

*Note: If I had onions, I would have used one large white or yellow onion, chopped, for this soup.
* You can also vary the ratio of stock to water, I just happen to enjoy the flavor this way.

  • Spray stockpot with cooking spray (I use olive oil spray), and bring pot to medium heat.
  • Slice/ chop carrots, celery, peppers, and onion (optional) to all be roughly the same size. At this point, I usually put the carrots in a few minutes before the rest of the vegetables since they tend to need a little longer to cook (maybe 2-3 minutes before). Add the rest of the vegetables and minced garlic.
  • Season with 2-3 Tbsp. of Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
  • You'll want to keep an eye on the veggies and seasoning to keep them from burning to the bottom of the stock pot. If I notice they seem a little dry, I'll usually add an extra spray or two of cooking spray (I don't typically add actual oil in order to keep the calories and fat down).
  • After the vegetables have softened a little (not entirely because you don't want them to be soggy-tasting!), add the entire can of whole, peeled tomatoes (liquid and all). You can mash up the tomatoes into rustic, smaller pieces when stirring.
  • Season with additional 2-3 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning and let simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock, water, kidney beans, and the rest of the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. After all the flavors have "married" and the vegetables are perfectly soft, chop up 2 heads of kale and cube the fresh Roma tomatoes and add to the soup. Let the tomatoes and kale soften into the soup (at this point, I usually turn off the heat and just pop the lid on), and you're all finished!

Obviously for a heartier soup, you can add corn, potatoes, pasta, or really any variation of veggies you may have. I just chose to do this combination since it is as lean as Cabbage Soup, but a little more nutrient-filled and comforting because of the kidney beans and chunks of veggies. This recipe left me with enough soup for easily 2 bowls each day during the work week, and it's low in fat and sodium.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the recipe and feel inspired to make different variations of it! I know I'm sure hoping it will help with my waistline this week. ;)

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