This is a nice, filling soup…almost a stew, really. It’s loaded with flavor and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. “Cooking the pantry”, so to speak, makes for a perfect, perfectly delicious mid-week meal. Though, I do think this is even better reheated. You’ll see recipes like this all over the “InterWebs”, but this is my combined version of many of those. It’s a great option for the vegetarian, really vegan, in your circle. But, no matter, it’s simple, clean flavors are purely delicious. And it’s flexible. I’m giving you the vegetarian version, but you can easily add some chorizo, kielbasa, bacon, leftover pork…you get the idea, right?In large pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic and a pinch of salt in olive oil. Don’t brown let the mixture brown. Add the eggplant, paprika and bay leaves. Give it a good stir and cook, until the eggplant is soft; stir occasionally.
Stir in the broth, tomato paste, and tomato bits, if using; simmer for 2-3 minutes. The eggplant will begin to fall to bits; this will help thicken the soup.
Add beans, grated lemon zest and chicken stock, another pinch of salt. Cover and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a creamy, stew-like consistency, about 8-10 minutes. This is a great stopping point, if you’re making this ahead. You can do this several days ahead, and refrigerate.
When you’re ready to serve, return to the simmer, stir in the kale and cook until the kale is just wilted, about 60 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour into a bowl and serve. I enjoy a swirl of pesto, but this is The Spicy Honey’s bowl and that’s not his thing…crazy, huh? This is hearty and soul-warming…perfect for winter and those somewhat chilly early spring days.
White Bean and Eggplant Soup
- For the Beans:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4-6 garlic cloves, coarsely diced or thinly sliced
- 1 Asian eggplant, peeled and coarsely diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (pimentón)
- 1 quart no or low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- Kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried tomato bits (optional)
- 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed
- Finely grated zest from one lemon
- 6-8 lacinato kale leaves, stems removed & leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Pesto Sauce, to taste
In large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 minutes.
Add the eggplant, paprika and bay leaves. Stir and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is soft, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Stir in the broth, tomato paste, and tomato bits, if using; simmer for 2-3 minutes. The eggplant will start to fall to bits; this will help thicken the soup.
Add beans, grated lemon zest and chicken stock, another pinch of salt; bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a creamy, stew-like consistency, about 8-10 minutes. MAKE AHEAD: If you’re planning on serving this later, I stop here. Just leave the pot on the stove (no heat).
Just before you’re ready to serve, heat the mixture to a good simmer; stir in the kale and cook until the kale is just wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Spoon into serving bowls; sprinkle with some parsley and a swirl or dollop of pesto, if desired. Good bread on the side and enjoy!
NOTE: As it is, this is vegan, if you use vegetable broth. This is really quite satisfying and filling. But, you may add kielbasa, diced ham or chorizo, cooked chicken, etc. I also like this 1/2 cup diced fresh fennel bulb, added with the onions, and 1/2 cup diced zucchini, added with the beans. Feel free to adjust these amounts to your taste. Stirring in some harissa, adds a nice hit of heat…options!
White Bean and Eggplant Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.