Rainbow Kale and Pasta Soup

Soup doesn’t get enough love (from me) in the spring. I am all about the soups all winter long. I love white bean and dill soup, you’ll find me stirring together my butternut and red curry soup, and I’m all about this creamy five vegetable cheddar soup. Mmmm. But then spring comes and all of a sudden my love of soup seems to run dry (pun?). I decided that this truly makes no sense because spring in southwest Missouri where I live still has plenty of chilly days that call for something warm and hopefully nourishing. And this rainbow kale and pasta soup totally fits the bill! And feels nice and light being broth based, but it’s still super filling while also providing you with a good dose of vegetables.

Confession: This might seem odd, but I actually have eaten this soup a few times for breakfast too. Soup for breakfast isn’t something I ever really thought to try, but when visiting Elsie in Nashville, we usually go to Marché for breakfast at least once while I’m there (it’s one of my favorites). And I sometimes get a cup of soup along with quiche or half an order of French toast or something. And their soups are always SO good, but not necessarily any different from soups you would eat for lunch or dinner. I mean, they aren’t strictly made of breakfast-y ingredients, but they seem perfect anyway. So, I’m now open to soup for breakfast I guess. 🙂 And I ate this soup for breakfast two days in a row and did not regret it. It happened to be a bit rainy both days, and this totally hit the spot. 🙂

Rainbow Kale and Pasta Soup, makes 3 servings

1/2 white onion (approx. 4 oz.)
3 oz. of celery
3 oz. of carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups of vegetable stock
1 oz. rainbow kale, large veins removed
5 oz. red lentil noodles (or other noodles, see notes)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon
Parmesan for serving (optional)

First, finely chop the onion. You want to really make sure and chop well here because we will not be blending the final texture of this soup (like many soups). So you don’t want large pieces of onion at the end, or at least I don’t. I actually put the onion in my food processor and pulsed a few times. This made the process super quick and also it was very effective. 🙂

In a large pot cook the onion in one tablespoon of oil over medium/high heat for 2-3 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper. You can chop the other vegetables during this time so long as you keep an eye on the onions so they don’t burn or stick to the pot too much. Add the celery and carrots, season with a little more salt and pepper, and cook for another 1-2 minutes until softened. If you notice that things are sticking to the pot too much, add a little more oil. Add in the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Now add the 4 cups of vegetable stock to the pot, turn the heat down to low, cover, and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes while you prepare the pasta.

This is the pasta I used. I LOVE this pasta, and here are some other options available online. The only ingredient is red lentils, but this pasta cooks up really nice, and so to me is a great alternative to regular (white flour) pasta. But, you can use other pastas as well. Whatever you use, cook the pasta according to the package directions (this one cooks in 8-10 minutes once the water is boiling). When done, reserve one cup of the pasta water as you drain the pasta.

Now add the one cup of pasta water to the soup along with the pasta and chopped kale. Allow to cook for another couple of minutes just so everything gets nice and warm and the kale begins to cook just a little. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking.

When you are ready to serve, squeeze lemon juice over the soup and top with Parmesan if using. I’ve eaten this with and without the cheese, and it’s great both ways. So if you’re looking to keep this super clean, you can skip the Parm and know this soup is still just as good. 🙂

Just a few notes for you on this:

-On the serving size. So the recipe above could serve two, but they would be pretty large servings. So if you and your significant other polish this off in one sitting, don’t sweat it. 🙂 But I think it makes a nice three servings, which to me is perfect because it means I’ve got dinner for me and husband and also lunch (or breakfast) for tomorrow as well. I personally LOVE day old soup, as I feel like usually the flavors deepen a little and it just gets better.

-You truly can use any kind of pasta you prefer: whole wheat, gluten free, red lentil, or just regular, standard noodles. In some ways this soup feels like a slightly healthier (and vegetarian) version of chicken noodle soup. Truly any noodles can work well here, so don’t miss out on making this one if you don’t have the “right” noodles on hand.

-If you are enjoying this as part of the Weekday Weekend Challenge be sure to use compliant noodles and omit any cheese for the top unless you have some non-dairy Parmesan on hand (see our cookbook for that recipe!)

Happy soup making! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.