Food Friday: Mediterranean Kale & White Bean Soup with Sausage

Soup, soup, soup! As I write this it is rainy and cold outside so a warm soup is the perfect companion. This is one of my favourite soups and was found in Fine Cooking Magazine in 2008 by my mom. This soup is so easy to prepare, low in carbohydrates, higher in protein and full of nutrients. A bowl of this soup also quenches the desire for a little spice, and you can adjust this to your liking.

For those who find kale a little too rough for your liking, which is the case when eaten raw, this is a great recipe to try. Steaming or simmering kale softens it, making it easier on your digestion, but still providing you with all the beneficial nutrients. Kale is a great source of fiber, helping with constipation and high cholesterol. It is also high in many vitamins and act as an antioxidant. Aim to include cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, to your diet 4-5 times per week, in soups, salads, smoothies etc.

As for the sausage, be sure to buy good quality meat. You typically need to eat less of it if it is good quality. I buy mine from either the farmers markets, a good butcher or Pete’s. The spicier the better in this soup for me.

With more colds and flus going around this winter, the amount of garlic and onion in this soup helps to stimulate the immune system. Drinking ginger tea or supplementing with vitamin C and/or D can go a long way as well.

Without further ado…the recipe.

Mediterranean Kale & White Bean Soup with Sausage


  • ½ lb. sweet or spicy Italian sausage (about 3 links, turkey or pork)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • One-half small yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into small dice
  • 1 rib celery, cut into small dice
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 lb. 3 oz. can cannellini or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups cooked dried beans
  • 1 lb. kale, rinsed, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (8 cups firmly packed)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest (optional)


Remove the sausage from its casing and tear it by hand into bite-size pieces.  Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a 4 or 5 quart heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate, leaving any rendered fat in the pot.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to the pot, increase the heat to medium high, and add the onion.  Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and brown, about 2 minutes more.  Be sure to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute more.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

When the broth reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium, add the sausage along with any collected juices, and half the beans.  Mash the remaining beans with a fork or wooden spoon and add them to the pot, stirring to distribute.  Stir in the kale, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and simmer until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest (if using) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

NOTE: You can add more sausage and broth to your liking. Best made ahead and reheated – hence a great lunch!


In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen


Food Friday: Ginger Turmeric Soup + the Therapeutic Effects of Turmeric

If you are looking for a flavourful warming soup that is also helpful in detoxifying and soothing your stomach, look no further. My sister shared this recipe with me, and since it has had rave reviews by me and many of my patients. It is a simple meal to prepare and packed with superfoods ginger and tumeric. 

It seems as though turmeric is the new “fad” food, with turmeric soups, turmeric teas and turmeric milks etc, therefore I wanted to shed little light on this spice so you know WHY you are eating it. It is great to be consumed liberally in your diet, however when specific medicinal effects are desired, higher doses should be used.  

Turmeric is a perennial herb of the ginger family and is the major ingredient in curry powder for its flavour and colour. It has a plethora of uses from anticancer, liver and heart protective, soothing for the digestive track, and most notably as an anti-inflammatory for pain and autoimmune conditions. The active component is called curcumin. In terms of its anti-inflammatory effects, studies have shown curcumin to be more effective than cortisone in acute inflammatory, slightly less in chronic inflammatory, and with no toxicity or side effects. 

Unfortunately turmeric is poorly absorbed. Studies have shown that 40%-85% of an oral dose of turmeric passes through the GI track, leading to even smaller dose of curcumin. For this reason, it is important to use a higher quality product with a greater bioavailability. As well for its therapeutic effect, a higher dose is necessary of this higher quality product, around 1200-1500mg turmeric for around 200-300mg curcumin absorption. Much higher than what you would get in one teaspoon of powder. Patients of mine that start taking a higher quality supplements at a higher dose, notice their pain decrease much more quickly. 

Again, eating it liberally is good, however if you suffer from any specific issue you may need to supplement at a higher dose with a good quality supplement. 

Consult a health care practitioner to figure out the correct dose for you, and potential drug interactions with these higher doses.  

Ginger Turmeric Soup


  • 6-8 big carrot sticks
  • 1 large sweet potato, or 2 small
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric, ground
  • 2 tsp (madras) curry powder (or curry paste)
  • 2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 4-5 cups veggie stock
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel and roughly chop the carrots and sweet potatoes and place on a baking sheet. Toss everything with a drizzle of olive oil, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until everything is golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat a bit of oil over low heat, and add the chopped onion and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Add the turmeric, curry powder, and grated ginger and heat just until fragrant (30 seconds). Add the coconut milk and stock, and bring to a gentle boil, cover, and reduce to a low simmer. Add water to thin out if necessary.

4. Add all of the roasted veggies to the pot. Leave the pot uncovered and turn the heat off. Allow it to cool for a bit and then puree in a high speed blender.

5. Taste and adjust the spices to your liking.


In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen


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