Escarole & Beans
Is there anything more classic than beans and greens? I think not. And while I was craving some greens I didn’t want salad because it’s just a LITTLE too cool still for cold foods (at least in my opinion). So what else could I make? I turned back to my heritage and looked for something simple and traditional and escarole and beans fit the bill! What I love about dishes like this is that not only are they simple and inexpensive to make; they’re healthy without having to create something crazy like “cashew cheese” (I still can’t wrap my head around that one). I find more often than not, when I want to be healthy, if I simply turn back to my grandmother’s cook books and recipes, I can find something I know and love to nourish me heart and soul!
As with all my favorite things we start with that classic base of olive oil, onion and garlic. Giving this dish an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral start! Healthy fats in extra virgin olive oil benefit both your heart and brain. And both onion and garlic are amazing at detoxing the body and fighting off germs!
I use vegetable stock to keep the dish vegetarian, but you could make it with chicken stock if you prefer. Both have their benefits as the carry liquid nutrients to your body. Beans then add in lots of fiber and protein. I use cannellini but any bean would work here.
Finally that escarole just adds another layer of flavor as well as loads of nutrients! Greens are the number one thing Americans are missing in their diets. And having them in this hearty, warming soup is a great way to get them in! Escarole is actually a relative of chicory and loaded with Vitamin A which supports your eyes, skin, reproductive system and your bones! And because we’re gently cooking it, it actually concentrates the vitamin giving you MORE with each bite!
I top the soup with parmesan cheese but you can obviously omit that or use nutritional yeast if you’re making a vegan version. Serve it warm with some crusty bread and enjoy these last few chilly nights before Spring settles in!
Escarole & Beans
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 C. white wine (I like pinot grigio)
1 15oz. can cannellini beans, with their liquid
4 C. vegetable or chicken stock
1 head of escarole, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan cheese & crusty bread for serving (optional)
Heat a large soup pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the onion. Sauté for 3-5 minutes.
Add garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.
Pour the wine in and stir, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Spoon in some of the liquid form the beans, about 1/4 C.
Pour the vegetable stock into the pot. Drain any remaining liquid from the beans and add them to the soup. Bring the soup to a simmer.
Add the escarole into the pot and stir it in. Season the soup with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste (taste the soup and adjust). Allow the soup to continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
Serve warm topped with parmesan cheese and crusty bread on the side. Check out my amped up version with sausage & pasta here!