Spring is coming. The bright sunlight hurts my eyes, as I emerge from my winter cocoon. I need to clear the cobwebs from my brain and lighten up, after all the Winter eating. It’s time to clean up my act with Creamy Kale Soup.
It turns out, my cobwebby brain really is craving greens.
Greens Prevent Memory Loss
A recent study at the Rush University Medical School found that eating as little as 1 1/3 cup of salad or 1/2 cup cooked greens a day resulted in a brain that worked as well as one 11 years younger. The researchers came up with a whole list of foods that also help prevent dementia, including beans, grains, berries, nuts, wine, olive oil and fish. But greens are the number one food to stay sharp.
Getting Those Greens In
Kale soup is a great way to finally get enough greens. Most days, even the best of us don’t eat enough salads and veggies. I challenge my self to get more than 2 1/2 cups of greens every day. Some days I fail. For me, the blender is the best way to tackle the greens challenge.
Take the Greens Challenge
The average salad only has a few ounces of greens. Those boxes of salad are only 5 ounces, and most of the time, you don’t eat even half of that. Unless you are building yourself a big platter-ful of salad, it’s just a small percentage of the greens that your body craves. The green smoothie or juice is a way to process a couple cups worth of greens into one serving. Cooking greens condenses them, so that a big fluffy pile of spinach or kale shrinks down to a concentrated source of brain-saving green energy.
So, if you both cook and puree, you can really eat a lot of leafy greens in a small portion of food. Take this creamy kale soup. A bunch of kale ends up as about 5 cups of soup, and depending on how hungry you are, it can serve 2-4 people.
I love making creamy soups with almonds. Unsweetened almond milk is rich enough to give the soup a lush, creamy body. A sweet potato thickens and adds a few speckles of orange to the bright green soup. Fresh rosemary braces all that sweet creaminess with a little piney herbal flavor. Crunchy toasted almonds add interest and a nutty counterpoint to all the veggies.
Food is about pleasure. It’s also the thing we are made of, so it is our great good luck that we can find so much pleasure in a dish that packs a nutritional wallop. This seductive, colorful kale soup could well play a part in saving your brain from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease, so it is all good.
Absolutely. All. Good.
Creamy Kale Soup with Rosemary
- 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 small sweet potato peeled and chopped
- 1 bunch kale stems removed, chopped
- 1 ta fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 2 cups plain, unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds toasted
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and stir, and once they start to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium. Stir and cook, reducing the heat to medium-low if they start to stick. Cook for as long as you have time, at least 10 minutes, up to an hour or two.
- Add the sweet potato, kale, rosemary and stock and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. When the sweet potato pieces are tender, take off the heat.
- Transfer the soup to the Vitamix or food processor. If using the processor, puree without adding the almond milk. If using the blender, add the milk and puree. Add the salt and several grinds of pepper, and taste. Add more if needed.
- Serve in bowls with toasted sliced almonds, and a rosemary sprig.