Bean or lentil soups are great because I can make a huge pot at once and I've got a healthy & yummy lunch for the next few days - especially good now it's getting cold in little Melbs. Eating a hot bowl of soup is like having an internal hot water bottle. Awesome!
Adzuki & Kale Soup (sort of recipe)
1 cup adzuki beans, soaked in water for 8+ hours
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
2 - 4 tbspns olive oil
1/2 cup diced root vegies
1/2 cup finely sliced kale
water/stock + soy sauce
salt/pepper/herbs to taste
So! Making bean/lentil soup is all about feeling. What legume do you feel like, what vegies do you feel like, etc.
Soaking your beans makes them way way way easier to cook. Soak lentils 4+ hrs, and bigger beans 8+ hours (overnight!). They're soaked enough when they're crispy and you can break it open with your fingernail.
Fry onion, leek & garlic in olive oil.
Chuck in your soaked adzuki beans, and cover by at least 3cm with water/stock + a bit of soy sauce to taste (I like to think of soy sauce + water as instant stock...) Bring to the boil and then simmer for at least 20 mins, until the adzuki beans are getting tender. (How to tell when your beans are done? Can you squish it between your fingers? Does it taste nice when you eat it?) Keep adding water/stock if necessary.
Chuck in your 1/2 cup of root veg and simmer for about 10 more mins, until the vegies & adzuki beans are cooked.
Add in your kale, and whatever herbs, salt & pepper you'd like and cook for 5 more mins. Done!
Adding salt at the start toughens the beans, making them take longer to soften & cook. Best to add at the end!
These cute little beans are a nice, healthy protein. Like all dried beans & legumes they're a great source of folate, which is important for our bodies to eat to keep our DNA structure healthy. Folate is especially important for ladies (and gents) who're thinking about or expecting kids - you want to pass on the good bits of DNA! Folate also aids in red blood cell production.
Adzukis also are a fairly good source of most of the minerals we require in our diet. They're also yummy - I always think of them as more of a winter bean, they're warm & hearty. They're also slightly fragrant & more flavourful than a lot of dried beans, so don't require too many additional flavours.
Read more about the nutritional info of adzuki beans here.
Read more about folate here and here.
Kale, curly kale & cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage, pictured) are becoming more & more popular, and hence easier to find. I usually prefer them to spinach, because they're easier to clean (no more grit!) and they can handle a longer cooking time. I always chop out the middle stalk, it's kind of a bit scratchy & hard to eat. I enjoyed this description of that by Vegan Dad...
Kale is really high in vitamin K, which is needed for a healthy liver & healthy blood. Vitamin K is fat soluble, so the general idea is when you eat a big plate of steamed kale at least have a little bit of oil with it. Your body doesn't keep big stores of vitamin K, so eat it often! Don't worry, kale is nice.
Read more about the nutritional info of kale here.
Read more about vitamin K here and here.