This is probably my favorite time of year!! Not that I can go on and on about the leaves changing and the weather cooling off and the colors....Southern California doesn't really have big season changes, outdoors is always beautiful and green, temperatures fairly moderate and sunny, access to fresh fruit and vegetables seems to be abundant, yes we are spoiled!!! I can usually feel a shift in the days and nights, something different in the air, it feels different and smells different. Despite the mellow season change I still try to take advantage of all that fall has to offer. Apple season, squashes a plenty, simmering soups, planning holiday menus, even football. Yes I am a football fan, always have been, and love creating football watching foods. Whether appetizers or meals, who says you can't eat appetizers for a meal, this time of year brings a different array of menu choices.
Roasted squashes with nuts and dried fruit, delicious soups that are so easy to make, traditional holiday feasts or not so traditional, game day snacks to eat all day. There is no such thing as getting in a cooking rut, there are so many options, have fun with the season change and create some ideas. Make the shift with the colors and weather, shift your thoughts, shift your ideas, shift your mood. Savor the season, fill your soul and nourish your mind.
White Bean Vegetable Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small (about 2 medium/large onions)
1 cup celery, sliced thin (about 2 stalks)
2 to 3 cups green cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons (about 1/2 small head of cabbage)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
64 ounces (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth (for vegan use vegetable broth)
3 to 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (use about 1 whole store bought rotisserie chicken to save time; or roast or cook your own chicken in a skillet) vegan no chicken
two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
leaves from 4 large stalks of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces (discard the center thick rib)
1 cup zucchini, diced small (from about 1 medium zucchini)
1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional (brightens up the flavor)
To a large pot, add the oil, onion, celery, and sauté over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently.
Add the cabbage and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until cabbage wilts and softens. Stir intermittently.
Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, shredded chicken, cannellini beans, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and boil about 5 minutes, or until chicken is warmed through.
Add the kale, zucchini, optional lemon juice, and boil 1 to 2 minutes, or until kale has wilted and zucchini has softened.
Taste soup and add salt or herbs, to taste. At any time while making the soup, if the overall liquid level is lower than you like and you prefer more broth, adding a cup or two of water is okay because at the end you will adjust the salt level. Serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.