I will admit that I haven't found a good vegan bacon yet, and so that part of the directions may be a little strange. But, based on my memory of veggie bacon from years ago, I think it should all work and taste delicious.
Winter Bean SoupAdapted from This, That, and the Other
If you don't have vegan bacon on hand or don't want to use it, cook the kale in some olive oil and add a few drops of liquid smoke with the vegetable stock. For the best use of time, de-stem and chop the kale while the onions reduce. Ian gave this a "Straight A" when he tasted it. Little did he know it only took about 40 minutes to make!
4-5 strips vegan 'bacon', chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried or fresh rosemary
6 cups vegetable stock
few drops liquid smoke (optional)
45 ounces canned cannelloni beans
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 bunch kale, steams removed and chopped coarsely (could use spinach here as well)
balsamic vinegar (optional)
Heat dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 'bacon', if using. Saute until the fat begins to render, then add the onion, adding more olive oil if needed. Saute until the bacon is browning and the onion starts to soften. Add garlic, stirring about 30 seconds until garlic becomes fragrant. Add the rosemary and 2 cups stock.
Stirring occasionally, allow the vegetable stock to cook down until it's very thick and almost gone, almost syrupy. Make sure to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the pot.
Add the remaining vegetable stock, beans, basil, and chopped kale and reduce heat to medium. Add liquid smoke, if using. Stir occasionally and bring to a gentle simmer to warm everything through and cook the kale. Once the kale is cooked (10-15 minutes) the soup will be ready to eat, but you could reduce the heat and allow to cook longer to better infuse the flavors if you have more time.
Top with a few drops of balsamic vinegar, if desired.
Serves 6, approximately 350 calories per serving with 22 grams of protein