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I first had a soup similar to this at one of those Endless Soup and Salad restaurants, you know the one. It was rich and creamy, but was more “soup” than “sustenance”. Over the years I have recreated this soup with many different variants, trying to come up with something as rich and flavorful, but without all the fat and calories. I like my soups to be the main course, so I want more bite than just a bowl of broth with a few bits of food in it. I want loads of fresh veggies and flavor. I want my soup to hold up as a meal, and not just the appetizer. So when I got the chance to head down to the South Bay, here in San Diego, to check out the brand new Smart & Final’s grand opening, I knew I had to pick up some produce and ingredients to make some Tuscan Kale Soup with Bacon.
I’ve never been to the grand opening of a store before, so I was in for a shock when I saw how busy it was! We waited in line and then we were greeted by the store manager, who thanked us for stopping by. I really liked that personal touch, and it’s one of the reasons I love shopping at Smart & Final.
This store was so nice and clean and everything was brand new and super well stocked, so we had no problem finding everything we needed. Abbey was a huge help with our little basket of produce.
For real though, this produce section rivals my farmer’s market store – and it’s super affordable, so we grabbed both red and green kale for our soup. Lots of greens to bulk up our meal! Then we headed over and grabbed some potatoes, garlic, parsley and shallots. With all my issues with my gallbladder, and my surgery looming in the future, I’ve had to start changing my diet to help with my new restrictions. So loading this soup up with all this fresh produce is a great way for me to be able to get a lot of fiber, and flavor without all the fat this soup normally would have.
For the protein portion of my soup, I went with La Romanella Mild Italian Sausage and some bacon. I love the complexity of the flavors it adds to the dish. To keep it light, I always precook it beforehand and drain them really well. I also only use 2 sausage links and 4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp. We want the main bulk of this soup to the kale and potatoes!
I grabbed a big can of the First Street chicken broth, and a carton of half and half. The original recipe calls for cream, and I find when I use plain milk, it curdles in the heat, so half and half is the perfect compromise to keep it light and low fat. Because she was such a big help, Abbey got to stop by the bulk section and load up on gummi bears.
I decided some garlic knots would be a nice side dish and a change up from breadsticks, so I grabbed some ready to cook dough. You can use pizza dough, canned “pop-n-fresh” dough, or make your own – it all works. For the sake of ease and simplicity I just went premade.
I was so impressed with the ease of the store, and how well it was run, despite how busy it was! They had such a great system for not only being friendly, but helping things run along so well. You all know how big of a Smart & Final fan I am already, so knowing we have yet another one close by made me really excited!
We got everything to make a HUGE pot of soup for dinner and meals when I’m down and out on bed rest for under $30! Score!
Tuscan Kale Soup with Bacon
- 2 Romanella mild Italian sausages
- 4 slices of First Street bacon
- 2 large russet potatoes, diced
- 1 head of green kale, roughly chopped
- 1 head of red kale, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1/2 cup of First Street half and half
- 2-3 cups First Street chicken broth
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, drain and crumble. Reserve. Cut the sausages from the casings and cook in the skillet, until browned, drain and crumble. Reserve.
In a large soup pot, add some bacon drippings and cook the potatoes until the edges are browned. Add shallots and garlic and continue to cook a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pot with chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add in the sausage, bacon, fennel and red pepper. Add the kale and place the lid on the pot to allow the kale to wilt, about 5 minutes. It will seem like there is a lot of kale, and not enough room, but it wilts down very well. Remove lid and stir everything to incorporate the kale into the soup. Add the half and half and stir again. Cover and let simmer one hour.
Simple Garlic Knots
- 1 can of premade dough, like crescent rolls
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp large flake sea salt, like Maldon
Open the package of dough, and roll each section of dough into a rope, then tie into a knot. Bake according to package directions.
In a small skillet, heat butter, garlic, parsley and salt, until melted. Simmer for about 5 minutes until garlic is straw colored. Remove from heat to let cool.
Place the cooked dough knots in a bowl, and drizzle with garlic butter mixture. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.
What are your favorite go to high flavor, low fat dishes? I need lots of recommendations!