Escarole White Bean Soup with Turkey Meatballs

Escarole White Bean Soup with Turkey Meatballs

Most winter greens are sold in bunches. One exception is escarole, which grows in a lettuce-like head. It has tender, pale green leaves that are slightly bitter tasting. As more layers of the head are peeled back, the leaves become milder in flavour. Together, the leafy greens, earthy beans, and tasty meatballs elevate this soup to a point where you’ll want to make it a regular part of your winter menu. If desired, you can use kale or mustard greens in lieu of escarole and lean ground chicken instead of turkey.

1 lb (450 g) lean ground turkey
1 large free-range egg
1/2 cup (125 mL) oat bran
1/3 cup (80 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp (10 mL) dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
2 tsp (10 mL) grapeseed oil or other oil of choice
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cups (1.25 L) reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh sage or 2 tsp (10 mL) dried sage
1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried red chili flakes
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
2 cups (500 mL) cooked or canned navy beans, drained and rinsed
1 head escarole, roughly chopped
Fresh black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

In large bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, oat bran, Parmesan cheese, thyme, garlic, and black pepper. By the heaping tablespoonful, form mixture into 12 to 16 balls.

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, sage, chili flakes, and salt. Bring to a boil, drop in turkey balls, and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Gently stir in beans and escarole; simmer 5 minutes or until leaves have wilted. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with fresh black pepper and olive oil.

Serves 6.

Each serving contains: 345 calories; 29 g protein; 14 g total fat (4 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 30 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugars, 8 g fibre); 314 mg sodium

Good for you: As with all winter greens, escarole is very low in calories so it’s a healthy addition to a diet geared toward achieving a healthy body weight.

source: “Hearty Winter Greens“, alive #375, January 2014

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