Beans, Greens, & Bacon Soup
Active Time: 25 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes / Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes 8 servings
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 bunches (about 2 lbs.) kale, collards, Swiss chard, OR beet greens, or a mix, stems removed and thinly sliced, leaves chopped
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cans white beans (navy, cannellini, or northern) rinsed and drained
- Water, as needed
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional
- In a large saucepan, stockpot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon on medium heat until it renders its fat and is crispy, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add the onion, carrots, celery, stems, salt, and thyme to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are softened, stirring often, 10-12 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, one minute.
- Add the greens, broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil (you may have to add the greens in batches and let them cook down a bit before adding more). Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the beans, and let simmer 10 minutes.
- Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the broth and make it a bit “creamy.” Stir in the vinegar, bacon, and black pepper to taste.
- Check the consistency and seasoning and add water to loosen and/or salt to taste.
- Divide the soup into 8 portions, 6 for lunches this week (you will have 2 extra portions if you are making this soup Week 4 rather than Week 3…feel free to freeze!). Package lunch portions in airtight containers. Drizzle all with olive oil, if desired.
Nutrition Corner: Bacon
Despite the terrible reputation bacon has endured, the negative health implications associated with it are mainly due to the processing of bacon, or the misconception that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. While factory-farmed, industrial bacon is toxic to our health, grass-fed, organic, nitrate/nitrite free bacon is certainly part of a balanced diet. Bacon contains protein, healthy fats, glutamate, B vitamins, and selenium, to name just a few nutrients.