Greens and beans Mediterranean soup

This satisfying soup packed with greens and beans can be cooked with sausage or adapted for vegetarians. 

Makes about 4 quarts; serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds greens – kale, collards, Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, etc.
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions in ¼-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly crushed garlic
  • Optional: ½ pound fresh sausage or 8 ounces chopped mushrooms
  • 8 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans OR 2 cans (15 ounces each) garbanzo beans or small white beans, drained
  • Optional: crumbled feta cheese or freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Clean and prepare greens. Chop leaves into bite-sized pieces – small pieces are easier to eat. If using chard or beet greens, slice stems into ¼ or ½ inch slices and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy wide-bottomed pot (6-8 quart) over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and 1 teaspoon of the salt. If you have sliced chard or beet stems, add them, too. Sauté for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  3. Stir in garlic, pepper, and sausage or mushrooms. Sauté until sausage is browned, break it into small crumbles. Mushrooms need only a brief sauté.
  4. Add chicken broth or water, remaining salt, pepper, and drained beans. Bring to a simmer, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Add chopped greens. Don’t worry if they are initially well above the level of the liquid – they will cook down quickly. Reduce heat to low and cook gently until greens are tender. Kale or collard greens can be added about an hour before serving. Chard and beet greens and blanched kale or collards can be added about 30 minutes before serving. Spinach should be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

From Good Food, Great Medicine: A Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle Guide. Third edition, 2014, by Miles Hassell, MD, and Mea Hassell