Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kale, White Bean, & Smoked Sausage Soup [for the soul]

I recently had the chance to spend 3 sunny days in Squaw Valley at the annual Wanderlust Festival. My very favorite weekend of the year.

3 days of yoga, outside. 3 classes, each day. Teachers from all over the world. Yeah, it's a Hippie Fest. But everyone that attends could give a crap about that. There's no judgement at Wanderlust. There are questions, like, where did you get those flame leggings? - but not judgement. It's awesome. Sun salutations outside looking over this view...

I Vinyasa flowed my little Armenian-Irish heart out. I was so sore for a week few days, it hurt to reach for the toilet paper.

But here's the truth. Wanderlust holds a dear place in my heart because it absolutely forces me to recenter my mentality and reflect on what is really important to me in my life. I am a very disciplined person, sometimes, to a fault; this probably stems from growing up dancing ballet. Ballet takes extreme attention to detail and self-control. You're staring at yourself in the mirror for hours at a time. I think this is partially why I am really hard on myself and I am my own biggest competition and critic.

My favorite yoga teacher this year was Jonny Kest. He is perfectly imperfect. He is a walking yogi contradiction. He has never been through formal yoga teacher training or certification. He teaches in Detroit (yoga is not just for San Franciscans!). During his class, we flowed to Kanye West. And then Purple Rain. We held our neighbors hands while in Warrior 3. But it was what he said that really stuck with me: "In this moment, you are where you are supposed to be. And you are perfect. Don't worry about it."

The hardest part of yoga is the breathing. It is a breathing class, after all. The poses are just extra. I have to remind myself of this with my practice. Remembering to breathe - that can sometimes be the hardest part of life too.

When I'm having trouble putting things in perspective (and breathing) I turn to the kitchen. Lucky for you. Lucky for me. This weekend, I made some seriously delicious soup for the soul.

White Bean, Kale, & Smoked Sausage Soup
I know it's Summer, but I live in San Francisco. So, it's foggy and overcast. I wouldn't have it any other way, though. Makes a lot, by the way.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic (yeah, FIVE) chopped finely
1 1/2 - 2 cups white beans, drained
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
45 oz chicken broth (can use vegetable broth too; this is about 1 1/2 cartons)
1 tablespoon rosemary (dried or fresh)
1 large bunch of Lacinato Kale
4 smoked sausage links (I used Aidell's smoked chicken habenero and green chili sausage)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Rind of Parmigiano Reggiano, optional
Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish, optional

1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute for 5 minutes.

2. Add the white beans, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, rosemary, and the Parmesan rind (if you are using it, I hope you are). Turn the heat to medium-low and cook with a lid on.

3. In a separate pan, cook your sausage and kale over medium heat. I used Aidell's which were already cooked, but I chose to re-heat them over the stove. Once cooked, add the sausage to the soup pan. Simmer the soup, with a lid on, over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Season your soup generously with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the soup from heat; try to find the Parmigiano rind - if you can't fish it out, no biggie. Serve hot, garnished with fresh ground black pepper and shredded Parmigiano cheese.  You could even add some homemade croutons. Just saying.

This soup will keep for a few days and it will freeze well. It's flavorful and lovely. I hope it warms your soul.


  1. "Makes a lot by the way"

    Every time I make kale soup, I end up with waaaay more than I had ever anticipated. Good thing soup freezes well!

  2. Kale Soup sounds delicious! 5 cloves of garlic are always necessary especially during cold season. I swear my love for garlic keeps me at bay during sick seasons. Love and Shine CourtStar

  3. This looks great! I just pinned it so I remember to make this sometime soon, on a foggy day!

  4. This is a nice looking recipe! I wonder if it would be as good substituting the smoked sausage for some soy sausage. Maybe I will try it at some point!