04.17.2015

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Spring is starting to creep our way. Instead of celebrating the firsts of things like on Wednesday when I rolled the car window down for the first time or on Monday when we noticed our open daffodils, I find myself celebrating the last of things. And (drum roll) this is officially the last bowl of soup for a good long while – mark my words. I am gleefully dressing the boys in the morning thinking this is the last time you will wear those fleece lined pants!!!, the hockey skates have officially relocated from my trunk to the basement, and I’m not eating a root vegetable for at least a month. This is progress. That said, for a last bowl of soup to close out the unrelenting season of winter, this is as good as it gets. The white bean balls slowly soften up and fall apart into the soup – it’s delicious.

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White Bean Ball & Kale Soup from Thug Kitchen

serves 6

White Bean Balls:

1 large yellow onion

3 cups cooked white or cannellini beans

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup nutritional yeast or flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil, and oregano

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Soup:

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup small dried pasta (I used alphabet pasta)

9 cups vegetable broth

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 cups chopped kale or other dark leafy greens

1/4 teaspoon each salt and ground pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil

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1. Preheat oven to 400 F and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or oil.

2. Make the bean balls – chop up the onion and measure out 1/4 cup. Save the rest but push it to the side for later. Mash up the beans in a large bowl until they form a paste. Some whole bean bits are okay. Stir in the rest of the ingredients including the 1/4 cup chopped onion and mix it all up so that everything gets distributed. You might need to use your hands. Roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball and put them on the greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through.

3. While the balls are cooking, get your soup ready. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rest of the onion from earlier, the carrots, and celery and saute until the onion starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and pasta and cook for 30 more seconds. Gently pour in the broth and let it all simmer together until the pasta is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Fold in the lemon juice, greens, salt, pepper, and parsley and turn off the heat.

4. When everything is ready, place 3 or 4 bean balls in the bottom of a bowl and gently ladle the soup over them. Serve it up right away. The balls will slowly break apart as you eat.