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Kale has somehow rocketed to celebrity status in the vegetable community. Perhaps it’s because of all the nutritional benefits it boasts, or it’s versatility in salads, soups, and even kale chips (by roasting the leaves in the oven). At any rate, I love making soups that utilize kale, especially this recipe that marries the texture of kale with the flavorful seasonings of sausage, the heartiness of beans, and a hint of tomato and garlic. Add some bruschetta or a toasted baguette to this, and you have an easy, very tasty, meal you can throw together during the busyness of Christmas.
Cannellini Bean Soup

Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Shaved parmesan cheese for on top
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock (more if you want a brothier soup)
1 lb of Italian sausage (I prefer 4 sausage links)
1 large bunch kale, large ribs removed, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large pot.
2. Add garlic and oregano and sauté until translucent.
3. Add vinegar and tomato paste, and cook another minute until the oil and paste has blended together.
4. Add rinsed beans and stock and bring to a simmer. (At this point I let the soup simmer for about 30-45 minutes before adding the kale because I don’t like my kale overcooked—this is just a preference.)
5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
6. While the soup is simmering, in another pan I partially cook the sausage links (you can also use ground sausage). Once halfway cooked, I allow them to cool and then I slice them into bite-sized pieces and toss them into the soup where they finish cooking. I like for the sausage to cook a bit in the soup because you get a fuller flavor in the broth.
7. Add kale and simmer, partially covered, for another 15-30 minutes or so, making sure of course the sausage is thoroughly cooked.
8. Garnish with fresh shaved Parmesan cheese.

Kelly_garden2Kelly Minter is an author, speaker, songwriter, and singer based in Nashville, Tennessee. She is passionate about women discovering Jesus Christ through the pages of Scripture. Kelly also partners closely with Justice and Mercy International (JMI)—a ministry that serves in the Amazon jungle. When home, her days are spent writing, cooking, gardening, enjoying her neighborhood, and loving her community. Here’s a sample of Kelly’s latest Bible study with LifeWay Women, No Other Gods.

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