Here’s the deal- Brad and I decided to try going vegan for a week…ish.  It’s undecided as to how long we will be doing this, however, when it comes to food, I do best with short term goals.  It’s Thursday night currently, and as far as I am aware, I have not broken this goal that we started on Monday.

Allow me to explain why we would decide to do something so crazy:

We watched a film called “Forks Over Knives“.  And I’m pretty sure everyone NEEDS to watch it.  You can rent it and you can also watch it on Hulu Plus.  It’s a film about plant based diets and how they basically will make you disease free, cancer free, diabetes free, and essentially live an awesome, very long, healthy life.  We watched it last Wednesday and it was far more of an awakening for us than we could have ever imagined.  And so we decided to try to go vegan, but by taking small steps.

I’ll admit, it hasn’t been super easy because, while we eat a lot of meatless meals, we eat a lot of dairy.  I do not drink milk though for 2 reasons.  1) it is so gross and 2) I’m a little bit lactose intolerant (but only for certain things, it weird.  Milk bugs me, ice cream bugs me and certain amounts of cheese bug me… I’m just screwy I suppose).  But we do eat a lot of meals that involve cheese.  Especially the Mexican ones.  Mexican is just so easy to turn into a meatless meal because all you have to do is substitute black beans for the meat and you’re done.  But they are definitely not vegan meals.  There, my friends, lies the problem.

I started to panic a little when I realized I was going to have to come up with some vegan meals for this week.  But to my utter amazement, Whole Foods‘ website has more vegan recipes than I think I knew existed.  735 to be exact.  I was so excited that I spent a good hour just surfing through some the recipes.  I found some really great ones, this being one of them!

When I think of eating vegan food I think of healthy, green, earthy foods that are not entirely filling nor entirely delicious.  Wrong.  REALLY WRONG.  This soup is awesome.  So awesome that we’ve been eating it leftover… and if you know me, if I eat something leftover it has to be good.  I was shocked.  How could something with all plants or plant based stuff be… so good?

My first skepticism was the vegetable broth.  Which is obviously not quite as flavorful as chicken broth or beef broth.  I am happy to say that it does have flavor, and good flavor at that!  And the kale?  Well, this was the most shocking part!  The kale was great!!  Last time we had kale was when we tried making kale chips and learned quickly that they were NOT for us.  At all.  So I was scared to put it in the soup.  But when it’s not baked in an oven, kale is actually pretty tasty!  I think it added another level to the soup.  But you could easily substitute spinach if kale isn’t you’re think.  You definitely need one of the two though, because like I said, it adds a real something to this soup!

This was a very easy meal to make as well.  It didn’t take very long to make at all.  It reminds me almost of a minestrone with the beans and veggies and pasta.  Maybe next time I’ll add some green beans to it too.  I like green beans in my soups!  Even if you aren’t going on a vegan diet like we are, this soup is still a great addition to your box of recipes.  It’s not entirely the best meal for a 100 degree day, but I’m so sick of summer food that I couldn’t pass this soup up.  I know that we will for sure be making this soup again come fall…. or in a few weeks (which will hopefully be cooler then!).

Pasta and Bean Soup with Kale
Adapted from Whole Foods website with some minor changes
Makes about 6-8 servings

2 cans no salt added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1 quart of low sodium vegetable broth
1 (14.5) oz can of diced tomatoes
Salt to taste
3/4 cup small pasta, I used whole grain elbow macaroni
2/3 bunch of kale, large stems removed and leaves sliced

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cook, stirring every once and awhile, until everything is tender.  Stir in the beans, broth and diced tomatoes.  Add salt and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until tender (about 10 minutes).  Stir in the kale and cook for another 5 minutes.  Serve in bowls!

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