Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

When the suns behind the winter clouds and not able to warm your skin, the next best thing is Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

The cannellini beans or white beans are also known as white Italian kidney beans. The skin of the white kidney beans are much thinner and more delicate than their red cousins. White beans also have a smooth, but slightly nutty tasting interior.

Concerned about your daily fiber in take? A half cup serving of cooked cannellini beans are a excellent source of dietary fiber, providing you with 7 grams of your 30 grams of fiber needed daily for good health.

Here is what you will need for this simple and nutritious Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

Our ingredients are all organic grown and harvested and pasture fed meat.

red kale2 tablespoons avocado oil

12 ounces pork chorizo sausage, 1-inch slices

1 medium red onion, diced

3 gloves garlic, minced

1 medium purple carrot, diced

1 rib celery, diced

4 cups chicken stock

2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt optional

4 cups red kale, stemmed and leaves torn

spooning from the sauce pot - Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoOver medium heat, add oil to a large sauce pot. Once heated add meat and brown. Next add onions, and garlic. Stir until garlic and onion is just browned about 1 minute.

Next add diced carrots and celery, and stir until you see the vegetables brighten in color, about 2 minutes. Next add chicken broth, beans and salt.

a large sauce pot of Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoBring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and add kale, then stir in. Place lid on pot, and on simmer let soup cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo - close upTo thicken the soup a little, as we did not use potatoes (their starch content will thicken soups), you can add some arrowroot starch. In a small glass add 1 tablespoon of starch and stir in a teaspoon of fresh water, and add when soup is boiling. When soup has thickened some, lower heat to a simmer. Add kale and stir in, then place lid on soup pot and let cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

According to Mangia Bene Pasta, the Cannellini beans are difficult to harvest when ripe and therefore are harvested in the fall when the pod is completely dry.  As a result, the beans are rarely eaten fresh.

In some parts of Italy, the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry. In the United States, vegetarians often utilize the hearty beans as a fish or chicken substitute, due to its protein source (WiseGeek).

The dried beans double in size when soaked, so a few beans go a long way in a dish.  Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. If cannellini beans are unavailable, great northern beans or navy beans can be used, though they are a much smaller bean.

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Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Lentils as well as any legume are an inexpensive source of protein, as well  as fat-free, high in fiber and rich in a number of essential nutrients. Adding lentils to your diet offers a number of health benefits, from controlling your weight to promoting heart health.

varieties of lentils You need 25 to 30 grams of fiber everyday, and one half cup of lentils will supply 8 grams of that fiber. Fiber in foods helps suppress appetite, helping you to manage and maintain a healthy weight.  Eating a diet that is rich in dietary fiber also decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in your body.

If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes, fiber rich foods can also help in the regulation of sugar in the blood stream.

According to the World Health Organization iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world, and 1/2 cup of lentils provides 3.3 milligrams in a 1/2-cup serving.

Keep in mind though, that your body can’t absorb as much iron from plant-based foods, including lentils as it does from meat sources. Eating lentils with a food rich in vitamin-C, such as sweet peppers, can help improve absorption.

As you might have guessed by now our featured recipe has lentils, and to  help your body take advantage of the iron in them, the recipe includes vitamin-C sources, including green beans, carrots, and celery.

Our featured recipe is: Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew, and here is what you will need.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium rainbow carrots, sliced (colors include yellow, purple, and red)

2 medium celery stalks, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups dried green lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 medium purple sweet potatoes, 1/2-inch dice

9 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 – 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Himalayan salt and fresh ground black pepper

Whole leaf cilantro and plain Greek yogurt, for garnishing

chopped vegetables for Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Prepare vegetables and in a extra- large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and bay leaf. Cook the vegetables while stirring until they are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Next add the garlic and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Next add 7 cups of fresh water and the green lentils. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook 10 minutes.

Next add the sweet potatoes and continue to cook, with the pot covered, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

Nest add the green beans and can of diced tomatoes with juice, and cook until warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove bay leaf from stew pot, and add the chopped cilantro and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Bowl of Lentils and Purple Sweet Potato Stew

Serve with a dollop of yogurt and whole cilantro leaves. Enjoy!!

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Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Top View

Our pudding is referred to as “Toasted Coconut,” because it has that appearance of being toasted as we used coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is like brown sugar in appearance, but doesn’t have the same effect on blood glucose in the blood stream. In other words, it does not spike your sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 as reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the largest supplier of coconut sugar along with Indonesia. 35 is classified as a low glycemic food.

Coconut sugar has many natural occurring nutrients, including magnessium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Because it is unprocessed, the nutrient content is intact, unlike refined white table sugar.

Coconut sugar is actually more sustainable than sugar cane. The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar, while only using 20% of the resources.

Now for the featured recipe: Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding, and here is what you will need.

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon organic Himalayan salt

3 cups silk Coconut milk (or your preferred organic brand)

3 tablespoons organic coconut butter

1 teaspon organic vanilla extract

About 30 to 40 organic vanilla wafers

3 ripe organic bananas

Toasted organic coconut for garnish (optional)

Organic heavy cream, whipped for topping (optional)

mixing ingredients in sauce pan to make Toased Coconut Banana Pudding

Whisk together coconut sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in coconut milk, oil, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and simmer whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

layering sliced bananas and vanilla cookiesTo assemble spread a layer of vanilla wafers in a 9 X 9 inch square baking dish, or a 9-inch round baking dish (your choice) top with half of the banana slices and half of the pudding.

Continue with another layer of vanilla wafers followed by remaining bananas and ending with remaining pudding, spreading to cover all banana slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Side ViewTo serve, line a dessert glass or small dessert bowl with some vanilla cookies, and top with fresh organic whipped cream and toasted coconut.

This is a gluten free and all organic dessert. Enjoy!!

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Satay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Growing Lima Beans and Enjoying the Benefits

Satay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Now is the time to plant lima beans. They are easy to grow, and they provide an excellent source of many different nutrients. They are a starchy vegetable that are sometimes known as butter beans because of their smooth, buttery texture.

You can buy lima beans dried or canned, but fresh lima beans are harder to come by, and therefore a great vegetable to grow in your garden.

Lima bean podsAs the lima bean grows it looks a lot like a green bean, although the pods are flatter, much like a sweet pea.

They ripen and are ready for harvest in the late summer and autumn.

When you harvest the beans, you will need to shuck the beans out of the pods, and each pod will yield between 3 to 4 fresh lima beans.

Christmas or ChestNut lima beans

Christmas or ChestNut lima beans

 

 

 

The color of the bean you may be familiar with is usually green or cream colored, but there are other colors, which include red, purple, black, brown, and white.

Health Benefits of Lima Beans

Lima beans are one of the few vegetables that contain molybdenum about 141 mcg, which is a part of an enzyme called sulfite oxidase. Sulfites are commonly found in wine, pickles, processed meats and dried fruit.

Sulfite oxidase helps to eradicate and detoxify our bodies of sulfites. A person can be sensitive to sulfites if there is not have enough sulfite oxidase enzymes in the body. As was noted earlier, this enzyme is essential for detoxifying sulfites.

When sulfites are not properly broken down in the body, a person may experience rapid heart rate, headache and confusion.

Lima beans would be a great addition to your vegetable garden as the bean can help control and eradicate sulfites from the body.

The butter bean or lima bean is a source of minerals and B-vitamins, they help to control blood sugar levels and help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

If you are vegetable gardener that is diabetic or has high cholesterol, the lima bean would be a great addition to your garden.

Dietary Fiber and Lima Beans

Lima bean plants in a vegetable gardenLima beans are a starchy vegetable, and are also a great source of soluble fiber, which as we noted helps to lower blood cholesterol, sweeping away any excess buildup of cholesterol.

Because of the fiber, there is no need to worry a lot about the starch. Fibrous vegetables digest slower and do not spike blood glucose.

That is why it is encouraged to eat a potato with its fibrous skin, if not the starch can cause a spike in your sugar levels.

Fiber also binds with the bile acids in the duodenum. It is bile acids that process and make cholesterol.

This is why it is important to consume fiber on a daily basis. Not eating enough fiber can cause your cholesterol to rise to a dangerous level.

Therefore as fiber binds with the bile acids, it passes right through the digestive system without being absorbed and made into cholesterol.

Lima beans are also rich in insoluble fiber, meaning that it bulks up the stool and allows for regular bowel movements and less constipation. Insoluble fiber is excellent for people who suffer with diverticulosis or irritable bowel syndrome.

Lima Beans Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Problems

Lima beans can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. Lima beans also provide a complete protein if you combine them with whole grains, such as whole grain rice.

Lima beans are a type of legume and legumes have been extensively studied as sources of heart disease protection. One 25 year study involved over 16,000 male participants across the world that was at risk for heart disease. The study found that those who ate more legumes had a reduced risk of heart disease.

Another 19 year study in the U.S.A involved male participants who ate high fiber foods, including lima beans. The study noted that those who ate 21 grams of fiber per day had a 12% lesser chance of coming down with heart disease when compared to people who ate less than 5 grams of fiber per day.

Water-soluble fiber was determined to have the best protection against heart disease, and legumes, including lima beans alone decreased the risk of dying from heart disease by 82%.

Magnesium And Folate

Lima beans contain high amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, and folate per serving. The folate is a vitamin that lowers the quantity of homocysteine in the bloodstream, which is a risk factor for all forms of heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease.

The magnesium in lima beans acts as calcium channel blockers, which lowers blood pressure and improves the flow of nutrients and oxygen within the bloodstream. A lack of magnesium in the diet can lead to heart problems and the liberation of oxygen free radicals in the body, which are dangerous to all cells of the body.

The Best Way To Eat Lima Beans

You can eat them alone, salted, or incorporate them into soups and casseroles.

With their buttery flavor, lima beans are a great addition to soups, stews, casseroles. Cooked, cooled  lima beans are an excellent addition to green salads.  You can eat lima beans fresh in their pods in the summer, but only if you have a vegetable garden.

Try this great recipe with your fresh harvested lima beans.

Satay Lima Beans in Peanut SauceSatay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Sauce:

1 (10 ounce) can coconut milk

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 small onion, grated

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter, onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

If you are allergic to peanuts, use almond butter instead.

Next dice up one each of a green and red sweet pepper, and one small white onion, and set aside. Chop a bunch of  your choice of chard or kale, and mix with the sweet peppers, white onion, and 16 ounces of cooked lima beans in a large bowl. Next add the warm satay sauce, mix until well coated. Plate and serve.

Enjoy this recipe as a warm salad, side dish, main protein dish, and even as a vegan dish.

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Putting Breakfast at the Top of Your List

Breakfast has always been referred to as the most important meal of the day. Breakfast can make a big difference when it comes to your health. The Mayo clinic has said that eating a healthy breakfast means that you are more likely to consume more vitamins and minerals, and less fat. You can have better concentration and productivity all day long.

Fried Egg and Cheese over Mixed Vegetables - Putting Breakfast at the Top of Your List

Fried Egg and Cheese over Mixed Vegetables

A healthy morning meal can help you control your weight, lower your cholesterol, which in turn could lower your risk for cardiac problems. Let’s talk about Carbohydrates and breakfast.

There is a material call ‘gelatinous’ and it is found in foods that are rich in soluble fiber, which forms during digestion and slows the absorption of nutrients from these foods. Foods high in both soluble fiber and complex carbohydrates, break down more slowly as a result of their fiber content, which prolongs the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, a crucial source of energy for your brain and muscles.

A slower release of glucose results in a sustained release of energy and a less significant increase in your blood sugar. Eating foods that contain soluble fiber helps you keep your blood sugar stable, which may reduce your risk of type II diabetes.

Sunny Side Up Eggs in a pan with vegetables - Putting Breakfast at the Top of Your List

Sunny Side up Eggs with Mixed Vegetables

As several studies have reported, if we eat breakfast on a daily bases we can lose and maintain weight better than those of us who skip breakfast. The prior chapter spoke on protein for sustained energy to start your day. In addition to protein a complex, unrefined carbohydrate is also needed. It also provides energy and helps maintain steady blood sugar levels. Our brains are unable to function without a steady flow of carbohydrate-rich foods.

The carbohydrates not to include in your morning breakfast are donuts, sugary cereals and pastries, these are fast acting and do not provide the energy needed. Instead, they cause peaks in energy levels, followed by a sudden crash. Good carbs called complex carbohydrates to eat for breakfast prevent these energy peaks and sudden dips.

It has always been suggested to have a fruit with your breakfast, but now it is being advised to include vegetables instead. Fruit is a carbohydrate that gives you energy much faster than protein and vegetables, making fruit better to use as a snack in between meals.

Keep in mind that cookies, chips, candy bars, considered a snack will give you energy, but it will spike your glucose levels to only drop off fast. Your energy goes down as well, and the cycle starts again, because you will eat more. Stick with fruit for your snacks between meals.

Scrambbled Eggs with Apple Chicken Sausage and Vegetables -  Putting Breakfast at the Top of Your List

Scrambled Eggs with Apple Chicken Sausage and Mixed Vegetables with a Slice of Toasted Sourdough Bread

It is also good to note, juice is not the same as eating the fruit in its whole form. If you do drink fruit juice , it is better to juice it fresh from fruit you buy at the market. All bottled juices that state 100% juice, is true. But the juice has been pasteurized or heated to over 235 degrees and therefore killing the vitamin C. They re-fortify the juice, but it is not the same as in its original form.

If there some days in the week you are rushed for time, it can still be possible to get your protein and complex carbohydrates with two pieces of 100% whole grain toast and a hand full of almonds, about 24 whole almonds equaling 1 ounce.

There have been studies over the years on breakfasts, and the reports show that people who have a healthy breakfast will tend to follow healthy eating habits.

Breakfast can truly be a life saver.

 

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Heart Healthy Lunch Ideas

Heart Healthy Lunch Ideas - Lunch Box

 

Are you looking for a way to create more heart healthy lunches for you lunch box? Or maybe you have decided to eat healthier and want to stop buying food at the local fast food restaurant, and take your lunch with you, but can’t decide what to pack?

If you are, we have some great ideas. Being heart smart and enjoying delicious foods go hand in hand, as an added benefit, you’ll feel and look great too.

Ideas for Heart Healthy Lunches

Spinach Salad with Chicken and Blueberries

Instead of a heavy lunch, try a wonderfully filling entrée salad. While you can use any type of leafy greens in your salad and still be heart-smart, consider using spinach as your main greenery. Nutrient rich spinach is high in folate and is proven to prevent heart attacks.

Add your favorite vegetables and a lean protein like a skinless chicken breast. Top with slivered almonds or walnuts and blueberries. Almonds and walnuts control blood lipids, while blueberries are full of antioxidants, all of which are important to your heart health.

Try these other Chicken Salad ideas from Splendid Recipes and More.

Roasted Vegetable Wrap

Take a whole-wheat tortilla and fill it with cooked brown rice and roasted vegetables. Season with sea salt, pepper and add a dressing of your choice.

Roasted vegetables like sweet red peppers, asparagus and broccoli are great choices.

Red peppers have plenty of antioxidants and folic acid to promote heart health.

Asparagus is rich in potassium, folic acid and soluble fiber, all of which are good for your heart.

Broccoli packs a lot of nutrition and also is high in sulforaphane, which can help prevent clogged arteries.

The addition of brown rice can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, and your heart will thank you!!

Grilled or Poached Salmon

You can’t go wrong with salmon. It’s rich in omega-3, which can help reduce the risk of coronary disease when consumed on a regular base. You can grill or poach salmon and serve it with a nice fruit salsa, like a peach/mango salsa, try our recipe (Peach and Mango Salsa). Add a colorful green salad on the side and you’ve got yourself a delicious lunch.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

While tuna is not as rich in omega-3 as salmon, it is still a very important source. Make your salad with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, mustard and finely chopped celery. Use 100% whole wheat bread to boost your daily fiber intake, which can help prevent heart problems. Top your sandwich with sliced tomatoes, which can help regulate blood lipids.

Veggie Chili

A classic comfort food, when made with vegetable ingredients, chili is a very heart healthy food. Kidney beans are low in fat, high in soluble fiber and have omega-3 fatty acids. Use fresh tomatoes to make your sauce and load it up with vegetables.

You’ll never go wrong by adding a vegetable plate with a Greek yogurt-based dip. Load up with plenty of carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and any of your favorite vegetables.

Overall, keep your meals simple. There’s no need to worry about which vegetable has more health benefits than the other. Simply eating a variety of vegetables, whole grains and incorporating fish into your diet will place you on the road to a heart healthy lifestyle.

Header Image Credit:

Kidlantis

 

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10 Best Spices And Their Health Benefits

10 Best Spices And Their Health Benefits

10 of the most common spices used to cook with. They have benefits for two reasons, adding flavor to your recipes, and better health.

Chili Peppers

Benefits: Antioxidant, anti-irritant properties, cold remedy, helps with weight loss, hearth health, digestion, balances LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
(Source: webmd.com)

Turmeric

Antioxidant loaded with nutrients: Protein, Dietary Fiber, Niacin, Vitamins C, E and K, Sodium Potassium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc.
Benefits: Cancer Prevention, Arthritis Reliever, Diabetes Control, Heals Wounds, Alzheimers Prevention, Improves Digestion, Natural Liver Detoxifier, Weight Management, Reduces Cholesterol, Boosts Immune System.
(Source: cnn.com)

Garlic

Benefits: Atherosclerosis, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease, and Hypertension.
(Source: WebMD)
Oregano

Benefits: Antioxidants for Immune System Support, Antifungal, Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory Properties, Cancer-Fighting Effects And Upper Respiratory Infections.
(Source: Mercola.com)

Basil

Also Known As Saint Joseph’s Wort, This Spice Is Rich In Antioxidants, Vitamins A, K, C, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, and Calcium.
Benefits: Reduces Inflammation and Swelling And Anti-Aging Properties.
(Source: Medical News Today)

Thyme

A Wonderful Herb With Culinary, Medicinal and Ornamental Uses.
Benefits: Acne, High Blood Pressure, Protection From Foodborne Bacterial Infections, Colon Cancer, Breast Cancer and Yeast Infections.
(Source: Medical News Today)

Rosemary

Great Source of Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatory Elements.
Benefits: Improves Digestion, Engances Memory and Concentration, Neurological Protection, Prevents Brain Aging and Helps In Cancer Treatment.
(Source: Medical News Today)

Parsley

Nutrients: Vitamins K, C, A, Folate, Fiber, Iron, Anti-Oxidant Nutrients,
Benefits: Heart Health, Protection From Rheumatoid Arthritis.
(Source: WHFoods.org)

Ginger

Used In Antacid, Laxative and Anti-Gas Medications
Benefits: Muscle Pain From Exercise, Chemotherapy Nausea, Ovarian Cancer, Asthma, High Blood Pressure, Painful Menstruation and Migraines.
(Source: Medical News Today)

Clove

Benefits And Uses: Diarrhea, Upset Stomach, Expectorant, Hernia, Bad Breath, Intestinal Gas, Nausea, Vomiting, Tooth Ache Pain, Topical Remedy for Pain, Mouth and Throat Inflammation.
(Source: WebMD)

 

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