Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

White Bean, Kale and Wheatberry Soup in Slow Cooker

There are many reasons to try to reduce or eliminate your consumption of animal products.  Unfortunately, human population growth is taking its toll on the planet, as food production becomes massive and industrial.  When food production was more localized, the Earth could more easily repair itself and adjust to the impact of food production.  Food production now relies more and more on unnatural processes.  Fish farming, feeding corn to cows (not the food they would eat in natural circumstances), chemical usage to produce ever larger crops (in part to feed livestock) and to make animals grow faster all contribute to environmental degradation.  Each of us can make a small, positive impact on this frightening trend by reducing our support of the types of businesses that harm the Earth most severely.  These types of businesses would include large-scale meat and dairy producers, most fish farms, and large food processors.  It would be difficult, probably impossible for most of us, to eliminate support of all of these food producers, but we can try to think about the source of each of the items we purchase at the grocery store and make choices that favor small, local companies over large, national and international ones.  Since plant production uses fewer planetary resources than animal production, this soup is a green choice, and very easy to make.  The vegetables and herbs provide plenty of flavor, and the beans and wheat berries are substantial and filling, so why would you think you need to eat meat?

2 leeks, chopped
2 cups dried white beans (such as cannellini)
½ cup wheat berries
¼ cup fresh thyme
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 diced carrots
3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
12 cups water
handful, about ½ cup, parsley, chopped
4”-5” sprig rosemary
3 chopped tomatoes
1 ½ tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
bunch fresh kale or other greens, chopped (strip kale leaves off of stem)

Soak beans overnight if possible (if you did not plan ahead, it is ok to just put them in the slow cooker), then drain.  Put all ingredients except salt in slow cooker and cook on high for 6 hours.  Add salt after about 3 hours.  About one hour before soup is finished, add a bunch of chopped kale or other greens.  At end, add more salt to taste if desired, and freshly ground black pepper.  This soup will thicken considerably when stored (in refrigerator, of course) overnight.  10-12 servings.

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