If you follow me on Pinterest at all, you are well aware that I am totally freaking out (in an excited, enthusiastic way) about my garden this year. See, we moved to a new place last fall, and we have this ginormous (to us) area that I can potentially make into an incredible kitchen garden.
We’re talking 50 feet long, multiple arbors, potting area, lots of sunny space for herbs, all the veggies I want, maybe an espaliered apple tree or seven, berries galore. And basically I cannot stop daydreaming.
Though it has become evident to us that we might need homeowner’s association approval for some of this and I’m a little freaked/annoyed/stressed by that. But! We shall see.
Meanwhile, I’m ready to build our first batch of raised beds, and one of the first things I’m planting? Kale, my friends. You know it.
The other first thing we’re planting, incidentally, will be peas, because my two-year-old is very excited about growing peas. And also ladybugs. I guess because I told her we’d probably have ladybugs in the garden. So she’s thinking we’re going to have a bumper crop of ’em.
Anyway! See how excited I am? I just keep rambling on and on. When really, I just wanted to mention to you that, hey! I’m excited to grow some kale. Because you know what recipe has two thumbs and kale? THIS SOUP! Except it doesn’t have thumbs. It’s vegetarian. It just has kale. And red potatoes. And sausage for the meat-eaters, if they want it. And some other stuff. Delicious stuff. Like fennel seeds, which I think really make the soup.
It’s reminiscent of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana, and yes, I do eat at Olive Garden approximately once per year, and I even usually like it. Shame me. Shame me now. Anyway, I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call this a vegetarian copycat recipe, but it’s close, and I think it’s pretty wonderful.
I hope you do, too.
Creamy Potato-Kale Soup with Fennel Seed & Optional Sausage
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 1 stalk celery (diced (about 1/3 cup))
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes (sliced)
- 1 pound red potatoes (sliced)
- 1/2 bunch kale (cut into ribbons (about 4 cups))
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
If adding sausage to half:
- 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage links or chicken sausage links (sliced)
- Add olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and fennel seed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, salt, and thyme, and cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Add the vegetable broth and potatoes. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the kale and the heavy whipping cream and let simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes until the kale is tender. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Meanwhile, if adding sausage to half, set a medium pot over medium heat. Splash with a touch of olive oil and brown the sausage. Once the sausage has browned, transfer 3 cups of the soup to the pot with the sausage. Stir gently and simmer for another minute or two.