This Cozy 20-Minute White Bean Soup Is on Weekly Rotation in My Kitchen—Here's Why

It's easy to make, delicious and good for you too!

<p>Photographer: Brie Passano, Food stylist: Sammy Mila </p>

Photographer: Brie Passano, Food stylist: Sammy Mila

Reviewed by Dietitian Annie Nguyen, M.A., RD

I think we can all agree that when it comes to weeknight meals, the quicker the recipe, the better. Weeknight recipes also receive bonus points in my book when they deliver on the following elements: minimal dishes required, flexible enough to make ingredient substitutions, and well-rounded nutritionally. And this cozy White Bean, Kale & Kielbasa Soup ticks all of those boxes. It has been on weekly rotation in my kitchen this soup season, and I believe you should add it to yours as well.

As with most quick recipes, the keys to making this one within the suggested time frame of 15 minutes is smart convenience products and multitasking. For instance, this recipe calls for frozen chopped onion, boxed broth, canned beans and dried herbs and spices. You can even grab a bag of prechopped kale from the grocery store, if yours stocks it, and save even more time. And I’ve found that the time in which the onion and kielbasa are sautéing is a great opportunity to rinse the kale. Since it’s going into the pot with broth, there’s no real reason to dry it, which means I don’t need to dirty my salad spinner.

Related: 20 Soups You Can Make in 20 Minutes

The hearty flavors in this soup seem to strike a nostalgic note for many people; perhaps because it vaguely resembles a zuppa toscana (thanks to the onion, sausage, kale and garlic) but lighter and less involved. You simply sauté the onion and kielbasa, stir in the herbs and spices, then add the broth, beans and kale and simmer until the kale is tender. The sautéing step is where the flavor really develops, and when the aromas of warming spices, onion and kielbasa fill our kitchen, my partner and I get really excited about dinner.

It’s honestly quite impressive how much flavor can develop in such a short time. And as promised, in under 20 minutes, it’s time to serve your piping-hot and oh-so-satisfying creation. I like to top it with a sprinkle of Parmesan or pecorino cheese and serve it with a toasted piece of crusty bread, but it’s equally satisfying and wholesome served all by itself.

Related: My Dad's Secret to the Best Chicken & Rice Soup Isn’t in Any Thai Cookbook

Now let’s talk about those substitutions. This recipe is easily customizable based on what’s in your fridge and pantry. As mentioned before, it calls for frozen chopped onion. This ingredient is super convenient in making this soup in a pinch, but I’ve also been known to chop half of a fresh one. Frozen kale or spinach are great when I either can’t find fresh or want to make it on a whim using ingredients I have on hand. Or in the other direction, other fresh leafy greens like chard and collards are great as well. Sweet Italian sausage is a tasty substitute for kielbasa—or you add an extra can of beans and omit the meat entirely. I’ve even gotten creative with different spices and used fresh garlic instead of garlic powder.

Finally, I’m a huge fan of how good-for-you this white bean soup is. I’m no expert, but I really appreciate the balance of ease and nutritional value in this recipe. Packed with leafy greens and beans and made with extra-virgin olive oil, it reminds me of many of my favorite recipes that follow the principles of the Mediterranean diet. Plus each serving has 15 grams of protein, a nutrient that’s important for bone health, muscle repair and more.

Related: 14 One-Pot Mediterranean Diet Soup Recipes

Often I find that the “easy weeknight recipes” I find online are lacking in flavor, nutritional value or both, and they require too many dishes or special ingredients. But this White Bean, Kale & Kielbasa Soup delivers on easy, packed with flavor and nutritious to boot. It’s a recipe I know I can make with ingredients I likely have on hand. And it’s easily doubled to share with loved ones. Any leftovers are appreciated and enjoyed all week long. This cozy recipe is one I know we will continue to rely on for years to come. I hope you give it a try and enjoy all of the wholesome benefits too.

Related: How to Freeze Soup So It Tastes as Delicious as the Day It Was Made

Read the original article on Eating Well.