Black-Eyed Pea + Kale Soup

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Shaun and I are still going strong with our meat-free eating. I’ve been downing lots of fruits, veggies and Chobani yogurt, not to mention very lightly salted fresh popcorn for snack. On the morning of day 4, I’m starting to realize a few things:

1. Today I’m heading to Philly for a business trip and was initially wishing for a Philly cheesesteak. I know Shaun is secretly hoping I’d bring some home for us.

2. I don’t really miss meat. You know, aside from the above.

3. I’m very hungry. I had zumba and pilates on Tuesday night (which rocked my world) but yesterday I was ready to chop up my desk and start downing it, Cookie Monster-style.

4. I have significantly less energy. Though I think this is caused by the overall lack of protein, aside from some beans and Greek yogurt. Whew! I knew I made a mistake by not accounting for the lack of protein I’d be getting, but I swear, getting out of bed yesterday I thought my legs were filled with lead.

5. I’m kind of into the less meat thing and once I get some of the kinks worked out (like wanting to nap all day long), I feel confident that this might actually work.

So that aside, I’m excited to share another delectable recipe that I got from my Food Network Magazine. It was chock full of great stuff this month!

I had been wanting to experiment with kale so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. It’s kind of like spinach but...different. Leafier. But tasty. I also love black-eyed peas (not to be confused with my hatred for actual peas). I whipped up this soup on Monday evening so that the man and I would have lunch for a couple of days. And guess what? It was good! And filling! And meatless! We all win! Hurrah!

Black-Eyed Pea + Kale Soup
*Adapted from Food Network Magazine
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped with ribs & seeds removed
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoon paprika
2 14 oz cans low-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound kale, ribs/stems removed and roughly chopped
1 can black-eyed peas
Parmesean cheese, for serving if desired
Brown rice, for serving if desired

In a large pot (I used my big stockpot, though an oversized saucepan would work too), heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the flour and mix until combined and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, celery garlic, 3 tbsp water, ¼ tsp kosher salt and few hits of black pepper.

Continue cooking on medium heat until the veggies are very tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and paprika, stirring to combine. Add the 2 cans of vegetable broth and mix altogether, scraping up the brown bits of delicious on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.

I used this opportunity to rinse and chop up the kale. I simply ran my knife along both sides of the stem to remove the leaves and then bundled it all up to give it a nice rough chop.

Add it to the soup along with a can of drained black-eyed peas. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with the lid slightly ajar so that steam can escape. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

To make the rice, I simply cooked it in some veggie broth and put a little scoop into the soup to serve. Shaun had the idea to put a few parmesean shavings on top.

So there it is a soup-er dish. Did I take it too far? It's not overly brothy, so if you want it that way, I recommend adding more vegetable broth during the cooking. In the shot above, most of the broth sunk down over the rice - but it was pretty fabulous this way. So what do you think? Have you ever tried kale? And any tips to share about getting more protein sans meat?ο»Ώ