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Ingredient: white beans

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

You don’t throw away those end rinds of Parmesan cheese, do you? Please don’t. Ever. Take them and place them in a freezer baggie and freeze them for future use. Or, next time you are at a grocery store that has a nice cheese section, look around, sometimes stores will sell the rinds. Buy them. Every single one that you can find and stash them in the freezer like you are a squirrel hoarding acorns for the winter. These little flavor bombs are perfect to add to soups, stews, a pot of beans, and, of course, making Parmesan broth.

Parmesan Broth

Making a pot of Parmesan broth is ridiculously simple. Plus, the smell of Parmesan broth cooking on your stove top will infuse your kitchen with the most delectable smell. The broth can be ready in under an hour. Then, you can decide whether add a few more ingredients and have dinner on the table or if you want to use the broth later, place it in the fridge or freezer for future use.

To make the broth you will put water, an onion, cloves of garlic, and the Parmesan rinds into a pot or Dutch oven. You don’t even have to peel the onions and garlic! Simmer for 45 minutes. Then, strain the soggy solids out which will have given up every ounce of flavor, and there you will have Parmesan broth. Now comes the fun part. What ingredients will you add to transform this broth into a scrumptious bowl of soup?

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

The world is your oyster here! Feel free to add whatever soup ingredients that you like. I decided to add a can of white beans, some leftover cooked quinoa, and kale. The addition of these ingredients transforms the Parmesan broth into an incredibly satisfying and hearty meal.

This recipe was inspired by the incredible Julia Turshen cookbook ‘Small Victories’. I would encourage you to track down a copy. Julia is a cookbook author, food writer, and hosted the first two seasons of Radio Cherry Bombe which featured interviews with amazing women in the world of food.

Small Victories book cover Turshen

In the recipe from Small Victories, Julia added peas and some small pasta to her Parmesan broth. One of the features of the cookbook that I really enjoy in that she offers variations for all her recipes. I find that those suggestions inspire my creativity and also encourage me to look around my fridge, freezer, and pantry to use ingredients that I already have on hand rather than running to the store. One of her variations recommended beans and greens which I almost always have on hand. Plus, I had some leftover quinoa in the fridge so I threw that into the pot too. The result was an perfectly warming meal on a frigidly cold night.

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale Pin

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

I went through the first twenty-five years of my life thinking that I didn’t like beets. My only point of reference was the pickled beets that I encountered sliced up on salad bars. Those pickled beets just didn’t do it for me and never made their way to my plate.

Believe me when I tell you that back in the day, I knew a lot about salad bars. When I was in high school I worked at Burger King and back then BKs had salad bars where diners could make their own salads. I was the queen of that salad bar. I took pride in making sure that the salad bar looked fantastic when I was working. I would painstakingly arrange the kale (which was decorative in those days) around the containers of salad fixings. I would also make sure that the salad bar items were fresh and full and oh so tempting. I took it as a personal affront when people ordered hamburgers instead of a salad! But, I digress; let’s get back to this salad.

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

I can’t remember the exact moment when I first tried a roasted beet but it was well after my BK days. I just know that at some point I became a roasted beet fanatic. That discovery then led to me realize that I also love steamed beets, especially small beets. Their texture and flavor are well-suited to steaming.  In the notes section below you will find cooking directions for steaming, roasting, and microwaving beets. Yes, microwaving. Who knew? I tried the method listed below and it works well. But, I included all three methods because I wanted you to have a few options so you can pick your favorite cooking method.

Beets bring an earthy flavor and wonderful texture to salads. In this salad, I chose to use golden beets for a few reasons. Firstly, I prefer working with golden beets because my kitchen and I don’t end up looking like a crime scene which sometimes happens when working with red beets. Also, don’t the yellow beets look gorgeous with the orange segments and pieces of green pistachios? I can’t help it; I like my food to be colorful and coordinated.

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

Once your beets are cooked, this salad comes together in a snap. You could cook your beets ahead of time if you need to get dinner on the table quickly during the week or if you want to serve this salad as part of your menu for a dinner party.

The combination of the beets and beans gives this salad some heft making it a light and satisfying meal on its own. But, it can also be paired nicely with fish, chicken, or pork.

If you are a beet lover should also check out my recipe for beet gazpacho.

Golden Beet, White Bean, and Orange Salad

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