Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Detox/Beans & Greens Soup

I don't know about you guys, but I am feeling a little...bloated.

That may be little too much information, but I can't imagine I am the only one. After a holiday centered around food followed by 1-2 days of leftovers and multiple dinners out with the family, I am stuffed. And I look it, too.

I always need a little post-holiday detox to get my body back in balance. I am not talking "going on a diet," although I am not sure I even know what that means anymore. I just like to take a week to eat things that are really good for my body to make up for all the things that were not. Like that second piece of pecan pie.

My recipe for Beans and Greens Soup is the perfect post-holiday meal. It is made from lots of super healthy ingredients, including collard greens, olive oil, cannellini beans, and a whole lot of garlic. Plus, it also happens to be incredibly cheap (which is great for those of you who held Thanksgiving at your place), and very easy (once you get past that whole soaking the beans thing).

A quick note before we get to the recipe. I have been trying to find a good vegetable soup base for a little while now. I know homemade broth is the best, but let's be real, it doesn't always happen. Some of the organic store-bought broths are pretty good, but they can also be expensive. When I am on the road, I often buy dinner from the Whole Foods hot bar, and every time I read the ingredient list for one of their soups or even grain dishes, it starts with a vegetable base. If it's good enough for Whole Foods, it's good enough for me.

In this recipe, I tried out Vegebase by Vogue Cuisine. I thought it was pretty delicious, and it was both vegan and organic. However, you are welcome to substitute homemade or store-bought vegetable broth for the water in this recipe, and omit the base. It will be just as delicious!

Enjoy your healthy, nutritious soup.

Beans and Greens Soup
Serves 5-7

3/4 cup dry cannellini beans*
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
4-8 cloves garlic, minced (I like a lot)
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons vegetable base**
2 teaspoons tomato paste
6-7 cups water**
4 cups collard greens, finely shredded
fresh parsley to garnish (optional)
grated parmesan to garnish (optional non-vegan garnish)

1. Cover beans with about 3 cups of cold water. Cover and let soak overnight.
2. Drain and rinse beans. Set aside. (skip steps 1&2 if using canned beans)
3. In large stockpot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic, and saute until mixture starts to turn golden brown. Add salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and vegetable base. Stir, cooking for one more minute.
4. Add tomato paste, water, and beans. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Add greens, and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until beans are soft. Add water if soup becomes too thick.
5. Remove bay leaves. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and grated parmesan. Serve with crusty bread.

*Canned Bean Option: To make this soup with canned cannellini beans, replace 3/4 cups dry beans with 1 cup canned beans. Drain and rinse beans. Skip instructions steps 1 & 2. In step 4, add all remaining ingredients (including greens) and cook soup for 20-30 minutes total.
**Vegetable Broth Option: To use vegetable broth instead of base, substitute 6-7 cups broth for base and water. Add in step 3.


  1. This looks & sounds delicious, especially on a cooler day like today. Yum!

  2. I made this last night and liked it a lot. I didn't use an entire head of garlic though, is that right? I went with four cloves.

  3. Jonathan,
    Glad you liked it. I should have put a little star by the garlic to denote the fact that I am a garlic addict. It's a problem. I am sure 4 cloves is about right for normal people. :)

  4. I have made this soup 3 times in the last couple of months and shared the recipe with several friends. It is delicious. My only change is I add two cans of drained and rinsed cannellini beans. One of the times I added a can of diced tomatoes. It's always GOOD.

  5. So glad to hear! I also make this so often because it is something that can feed you all week. Will try with tomatoes next time!

  6. What can I substitute "collard greens" with? I've never seen them in my region (Canadian prairies).

  7. Hi there. So many options. Mustard greens, beet greens, kale, swiss chard, turnip greens, or even spinach. Hope it turns out well!

  8. Can u use chicken broth instead of vegetable?