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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cheese Tortellini Soup with Cannellini and Kale - Vegan style

I don’t know about you but the one thing I love about cold weather is that I can make soups, chili, and start baking. The high temperature for this week is supposed to be 54 with nights around 34…..Brrrrrr! Right now it’s a chilly 38 while I’m all warm & fuzzy inside the house thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. I love making soups in my crock pot! Ok, ya caught me, I just love cooking with my crock pot since it does all the work!

Today I’m thinking about making a cheese tortellini soup, vegan style. I got the recipe from one of the guys I work with and he got it off of Epicurious.com. I’ve made it the way it was written, with meat, but today I’m opting for a meatless version, so I tweaked the recipe and made it my own :)  So, here’s my vegan style cheese tortellini soup with cannellini and kale. I’ll also list the ingredients if you want to make it with meat. I hope you find it as delicious as I do and it helps keep you warm on a cold winter's night!

Cheese Tortellini Soup with Cannellini and Kale – Vegan style


2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons fresh thyme
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper, add more if needed if you like it spicy
10 cups chicken broth – You can also use vegetable broth or low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups kale
2- 15 ounce cans cannellini beans
2- 9 ounce packages cheese tortellini
Fresh parmesan and regular parmesan cheese

*Optional – 12 ounces fully cooked smoked kielbasa sausage, sliced. You can also substitute Turkey or chicken sausage by Hickory Farms.


Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté. When onions are almost browned, add the minced garlic and cook until browned. If you’re adding meat, add meat in at the same time as the onions.

If this is going to cook for approximately 4-6 hours, set your crockpot on High temperature. If it’s going to cook longer, about 8 hours or more, I would set the temperature of the crockpot on the Low setting.

In your crockpot, add the 10 cups of broth. Once the onions, garlic (and meat) are browned, add into the crockpot with the broth. Add the crushed red pepper, thyme, kale, and cannellini beans. You can add some salt and pepper to taste, but not too much because it doesn’t really need it, and let your crockpot do the cooking. Approximately 15-30 minutes before you are ready to eat, add the tortellini and cook until tender. It might not even take 15 minutes so check tortellini for softness as you continue cooking. Once the tortellini are soft, soup is on!

Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with fresh or regular parmesan cheese. Enjoy soup with crackers or grilled cheese sandwiches!

Recipe makes approximately 6 servings and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or you can do as I do, and freeze leftovers for another chilly, winter night :)

Just a few tips I found that help when cooking:

Some recipes say to add the onion and garlic together when sautéing, but I find garlic browns faster than the onions so I add the garlic when the onions are almost browned so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Thyme grows on little twigs, however soft they may feel, they are still twigs. The original recipe says to chop the thyme, but that leaves the twigs in your soup, and they still retain some of their crunchiness. So I find it easier to just add the whole twig bunch in whatever you’re cooking and when soup is done, just retrieve the twig bunch. It’s much easier than trying to remove the chopped up twigs!

Also, always remember when cooking with fresh herbs, you need to use three (3) times the amount as compared to recipes that call for dried herbs.

I prefer whole wheat tortellini pasta, which is found in the refrigerated area of your grocery store if they carry it.

I also substituted red kidney beans for one can of cannellini beans since I left the meat out and wanted to add some color. See how much more colorful it is than just the white cannellini beans!         

I hope you enjoy this recipe and come back for more! Until then,

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