Creamy Kale Soup

Happy Wellness Wednesday, my friends! I work in a place that is really into employee wellness, so for me, Wednesdays are a chance to wear yoga pants to work and make sure I get a 30 minute workout in- it’s pretty nice. Wellness Wednesdays also remind me to pay a little closer attention to what I’m eating, and make sure that I’m actually fueling my body by making intentional choices, which can sometimes be especially challenging at work.

My solution to healthy office eating recently has been soups- they’re usually pretty quick to make, are easy to load up with veggies, and I can make an entire batch on Sunday and have lunch all week. For me, that’s a pretty winning combination! Eschewing all modesty, my soup game has been pretty strong this winter, and today I’m excited to share my soup-er delicious Creamy Kale Soup (see what I did there??).

Kale Soup 4

I’m not usually a person for blended soups, nor a person that likes to eat things that look like baby food- let’s start with that disclaimer. This soup gets tons of texture and flavor from a few slices of bacon, though, and that really brings it into adult-food territory. Also, even though it’s a pretty creamy texture, there’s no milk or cream- softened potatoes are blended with chicken stock, which results in a really lovely, velvety consistency.

Kale Soup 3

This soup came together really easily, and is full of kale, which I love. Evan does not love kale, but he surprised me by agreeing that the soup is pretty delicious- though he suggests that the bacon, sautéed with onions and garlic are largely responsible for the flavor, with some credit going to a sprinkling of parmesan cheese J I say, give this soup a try- it’s moderately healthy, pretty warm and comforting, and great with a slice of avocado toast on a lazy weekend afternoon!

Creamy Kale Soup

3 slices bacon (for a veggie option, just use 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
Red pepper flakes
2 baking potatoes (probably about a pound, total- I used two healthy sized Idaho/russet potatoes)
1 bunch kale (about 4-5 cups when chopped)
4 cups chicken or veggie stock or broth

Prep your ingredients: Dice the onion, and peel and roughly chop the garlic (remember, everything will be blended so garlic can be a bit larger than usual). Peel and rinse the potatoes, and dice into about 1 centimeter cubes. Chop the kale, then rinse thoroughly and drain excess water. Lastly, slice bacon into relatively thin slivers.

Assemble the soup: Add bacon to a soup pan or wide sauce pan, and cook over medium low for about five to eight minutes. Low heat is best for this step, since it will slowly render the fat…and bacon fat is what will give us that smoky flavor. Once the bacon pieces are crispy, carefully remove those from the pan and set aside, leaving all of the fat. Add the onions and garlic and increase the heat to about medium; salt liberally and cook for another five to eight minutes, until the onions are translucent and just begin to take on some color. Add the potatoes and season will red pepper flakes to your preference- I added about ½ tsp for heat without making my eyes water. Stir the mixture to thoroughly coat the potatoes, then let sit for four or five minutes so they have a chance to cook on one side. Stir again, and let cook for another four or five minutes. Add the kale to the pan and stir to encourage wilting. After three or four minutes, when most of the kale has lost its rigidity, transfer the entire mixture to the blender.

Blend the soup: This can go a few ways. I use a Ninja, which is pretty beg. As a result, I am able to fit all of the ingredients along with all four cups of broth. Then I press blend and let it go for about 90 seconds, and everything gets nice and smooth. (If you have a smaller blender you could either work in two batches, adding half of the kale/potatoes and half of the broth, or you could blend the soup mixture with only as much broth as you have room for, and then transfer it back to the pan to stir in the rest of the broth.) Either way, make sure that you leave the lid to your blender slightly ajar, to allow room for the heat to escape- very important! Once blended, transfer to bowls, top with the reserved bacon, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Delicious!