Kale has been calling to me from the produce bin at the grocery store for some time now. I don't know what's taken me so long to give in to its siren song, but I finally did. And I'm glad I listened.
I don't have much experience with "greens," but kale is robust and flavorful. It retains it's texture and presence when you cook it, unlike spinach which wilts down to almost nothing. Also, can you say that a vegetable has "presence?" Anyway...
This hearty Autumn Minestrone is a great way to experiment with kale and other vegetables because it begs to be personalized. Not a fan of sweet potatoes? Switch 'em out for Yukon Golds. Prefer pasta to beans in your soup? Go ahead and use it. Make this soup yours.
Adapted from epicurious.com
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2.5 cups peeled and cubed (1/2") butternut squash
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
6-8 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water*
4 cups chopped kale
15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the oregano for about 30 seconds until it's fragrant. Add squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Then add the vegetable stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are almost tender. Add the kale and cannellini beans and simmer for another 5-7 minutes, until the kale is tender.
*I used a combination of 4 cups vegetable stock and 4 cups water. If you like your soup less broth-y, you might only need 6 cups of liquid.