Gluten Free Southern Style Bean & Kale Soup
I live in the South and let me tell you, Southern cuisine can be quite contradictory. For instance, Southerners love their vegetables and probably consume more than other regions of the country. They are particularly fond of super healthy dark leafy greens, garden fresh tomatoes, and beans of all kinds.
Thing is, those veggies are either going to be dipped in batter and deep fried, crusted with cornmeal, or simmered with bacon fat. I was once served a “vegetarian” platter – peppers, onions, and tomatoes that were simmered in creamy beef gravy. Good thing I am not a vegetarian!
Personally, I love Southern cuisine. There is a certain genius in the way a handful of inexpensive, often overlooked ingredients are combined and transformed into pure deliciousness.
This Gluten Free Southern Style Bean & Kale Soup is a healthier homage to a Southern classic of dried beans and greens cooked with pork fat and ham hocks. I got a smoky flavor without adding any smoked meat thanks to the blend of spices in the gluten free flavor packet that came with the mixture of cranberry, kidney and great northern beans in Hurst Family Harvest’s Tri-Bean Soup Mix. To bump up the flavor of this vegan dish I added dried mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, gluten free soy sauce, some garlic powder, and a hefty pinch of red pepper flakes.
Honestly no one missed all the fat and calories that were left out of my lightened up Southern dish; there was all that lovely flavor – I just approached it differently. And really, isn’t that what Southern cuisine is all about?
Gluten Free Southern Style Bean & Kale Soup Recipe
1 (12-ounce) package Hurst Family Harvest Tri-Bean Soup Mix
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, un-drained
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 ounces dried mushrooms (any kind)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups chopped kale
Kosher salt as needed
Cover the beans in water and soak from 8 – 24 hours. Reserve the seasoning packet.
Rinse the beans, place in a pot with 6 cups water and the seasoning packet. Bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. Add the tomatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Add the kale and cook for another 10 – 20 minutes or until the beans and kale are tender. Taste and add salt if needed.
This Gluten Free Southern Style Bean & Kale Soup recipe serves 8
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