As I was creating this Butternut Kale Minestrone Soup, I started to ponder this question: how do you learn to love cooking?
I’m not talking about the satisfaction of knowing your family is fed, but learning to really go all in, as if your dopamine receptors just got a hit. The kind of cooking that you look forward to. More of a treat than a chore. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, which is surprising to the people who believe that embracing a knife and dirty dishes is something to embrace when we have no choice. As if ordering takeout and going out to dinner overnight is when we’ve finally arrived.
There could be some truth to that but it’s hard for me to see.
I was initially introduced to cooking as a child, which turned into cooking as a professional career.
Growing up surrounded by home cooks certainly helps. My mother, my aunts and grandmothers were not afraid to get their hands dirty in the kitchen. It made me unafraid to experiment at a young age and to dare to go to cooking school in my 20’s. I was strongly tuned in to the relationship of food and healing and the deep connection to food and mindfulness.
Food is vital to our health. It’s the main reason why I choose to be in charge of my kitchen and in charge of what goes into my food. I also want my food to taste amazing. Healthy food can actually fit this bill. Experimenting with herbs, spices and balancing flavors is key. Playing around and experimenting helps you love cooking.
I played with this Butternut and Kale Minestrone one weekend when I was craving a warm soup full of goodness and flavor. Voila, Butternut and Kale Minestrone, warm, flavorful and nourishing, perfect for a cold day. Enjoy!Print
Butternut Kale Minestrone Soup is perfect for those cold days when all you want to make is something warm and steaming in a bowl. Minestrone is traditionally made with vegetables, beans and small bits of pasta, but I wanted to lighten my soup. I eliminated the pasta and used healthy butternut squash. I also added some earthy shitake mushrooms that I had in my refrigerator, in addition to the more traditional vegetables – carrots, onion, celery and kale. White beans, traditional in minestrone were, of course, stirred in at the end. The result? A nutritious, light, yet filling soup that was perfect for lunch, as well as for a light dinner.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups diced butternut squash (you can use frozen)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pint shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
1 32–ounce can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups low sodium, or homemade, chicken stock
1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt and pepper; sauté for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are beginning to brown. Add the butternut squash and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
2 Add the garlic, thyme and oregano. Sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, kale, beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer the soup for 20 minutes.
3. Adjust the seasonings if necessary, and serve hot.
This soup freezes beautifully for another day’s lunch or dinner. Simply ladle into single serving containers and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I used my recipe for Homemade Bone Broth for this soup. Good stock is a must for a good soup!
Keywords: soup, healthy soup, Italian, winter soups