Yield: 4 servings
This is a surprisingly
fast and easy version of an age old Italian Tuscan soup, utilizing
a nutritious combination of white beans, greens and tomatoes.
It can double as a complete meal or a first course. The fresh
greens such as kale and broccoli rape are an excellent source
of calcium, important to the diet of both children and adults
for strong bones! While you can substitute other greens, the
bitterness of the broccoli rape provides the ideal flavor
balance to the sweetness of the tomatoes. My kids can't get
enough of this! While they are never big on leftovers, this
is one meal I can serve the next day, or for lunch or dinner
on the weekends.
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 bunch
- 1/2 bunch
- 1/4 cup
- 2 14-ounce
cans cannellini (white) beans
- 1 28-ounce
can whole tomatoes
- 3 one-half
cups chicken broth
- 3 sprigs
fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One 16-ounce
loaf of Italian or sourdough bread
1. Cut off
the ends of the onion and let small children peel it. Smash
the garlic with a knife to loosen the skin and let little
ones peel it as well. Older children can begin chopping the
onion and garlic with your supervision. While the older children
are chopping, have little ones help wash and dry the greens.
Now they can tear the greens into 2 and one-half inch long
pieces and discard the rough stems.
2. In a
small pot, bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat. In
a large pot, heat the olive oil over low heat, add the onions
and garlic and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally,
about 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, help younger
children to open the cans and drain the beans and tomatoes.
the onions are cooked, have the children carefully add the
greens in handfuls to the pot. Children, with oven mitts and
long-handled wooden spoons, can take turns stirring frequently
until the greens wilt, approximately 5 minutes.
4. Now they
can pour the beans into the pot. Add the chicken stock, ladling
carefully with hands protected by the oven mitt. Then everyone
can take turns squishing tomatoes one by one into the pot
with clean hands - seeds are guaranteed to fly! Little hands
can pluck the thyme leaves from the stem and drop them into
the soup. Stir over medium-high heat for another 5 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. When you
are ready to serve, have the children break the bread into
small pieces and add as much as desired to the soup. Ladle
into soup bowls and serve.