3.27.15 Chile Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Rice

Roasting is one of the easiest ways to make a meal. It seems so obvious, but sometimes with all of the other fun cooking techniques out there, I completely forget about it. Which is silly really. I mean, you take some vegetables or meat, toss them in a little oil, add some seasonings, throw it in the oven, and before long, you’ve transformed your raw ingredients into crispy, golden brown deliciousness. Dinner is ready, and your oven did all of the work. It’s almost too easy.


Also, let’s talk about how roasting makes your kitchen feel extra warm and cozy, which on a chilly day is definitely a bonus. That’s why, I recently decided some roasting was in order and whipped up this fantastic supper. It’s pretty simple. Roast some chicken and sweet potatoes with chile and spices, cook up some lovely herbaceous cilantro rice while you roast, and top it all off with a nice dollop of lime sour cream.

Plus, this is the perfect meal to serve in bowl form. As in, serve everything in a bowl, mix it together and devour. Anyone who eats as many bowl meals as I do know that they’re one of the best kinds of meals. And with this one, you really can’t go wrong. It’s got it all - crispy, sweet, spicy, creamy - chicken and rice never tasted so good.

Chile Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Rice

serves 4

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb) peeled and cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
  • ½ medium red onion, roughly chopped into 1” pieces
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¾ tsp salt, divided
  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro
  • 3 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes), divided
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (seeded if less heat is desired)
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
  • ½ cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped sweet potatoes, chicken thighs, and red onion. In a smaller bowl, combine 2 Tbsp oil, chile powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, and ½ tsp salt. Stir until well combined. Pour over chicken and vegetables in large bowl and mix until everything is well coated with the oil and spice mixture.

3. Spread chicken and vegetables in an even layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees until potatoes are crispy on the edges and chicken is juicy and cooked through, about 35-40 minutes.

4. While chicken and vegetables are baking, start the rice. Combine the cilantro, scallions, garlic, 2 Tbsp lime juice, jalapeno pepper, and ¼ tsp salt in a food processor or blender and blend until a smooth paste is formed.

5. Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the rice, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Add the cilantro puree and continue to cook for an additional 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook, covered, until rice is tender and no extra liquid remains, about 20 minutes.

6. Combine sour cream with the remaining 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice until well mixed.

7. When rice is cooked and chicken and vegetables are finished roasting, chop chicken into bite sized pieces. Divide cilantro rice evenly between 4 bowls, along with equal amounts of chicken and roasted vegetables. Top each bowl with a dollop of lime sour cream.

3.20.15 Bacon, Parmesan, and Cherry Tomato Strata

This warmer spring-like weather has me thinking about summer. I’m sure you feel the same. I know we’ve only had a few days above 60 degrees so far, but even weather in the 40s and 50s seems downright balmy compared to those bitterly cold days of January and February. It’s enough to make you start thinking about things like tomatoes.

I know, I know, tomatoes are not in season yet, not even close. But I miss them! And while dreaming tomato dreams, I had this great idea to use them in a savory bread pudding I was making. And so, I broke down and bought a pint of cherry tomatoes. They’re small and sweet, and once you cook them down with bacon, garlic and balsamic vinegar, you can’t even taste that  they’re not in season.

Now, while this dish is in fact a bread pudding, it technically resides in the small offshoot category of bread puddings known as stratas. Strata means layers, and when you see how this dish is constructed, you’ll immediately understand its name. Instead of mixing all of the ingredients together, the tomato and bacon mixture is layered between two layers of eggy, custardy bread before baking. It’s like a little tasty surprise just waiting for you to dig into. The result is one terrifically tasty dish that makes you think of summer, but at the same time is warm and cheesy and filling enough for colder weather. Best of both worlds? I think yes.

Bacon, Parmesan and Cherry Tomato Strata

serves 5-6

This is a great way to use up any less than fresh bread you might have lying around. Stale bread is perfect for bread pudding since it will help the bread keep its texture in the dish and not turn to mush.

  • 1 lb good sourdough, cut into about 1 inch cubes (I love using Madison Sourdough Co.’s country sourdough for this)
  • 1 ½ cups milk, heated until almost boiling
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2.5 oz cream cheese, at room temp, cut into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. If your bread is not already stale, lay the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, until they crisp up slightly. Or, if you plan ahead, you can leave the bread cubes lying out on your kitchen counter overnight to help speed up the staling process.

3. Place stale bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the warm milk over them. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until most of the milk has been absorbed by the bread, about 10 -15 minutes.

4. While bread is soaking, cook bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are just beginning to crisp up.

5. Add the garlic, scalllions, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to the pan, and continue to cook until tomatoes soften and start to burst, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook 1 minute more.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper. Add to the bread mixture, along with ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, stirring well to combine.

7. Spread half of the bread mixture into a greased 8x8 casserole dish and top with the tomato/bacon mixture, followed by an even layer of cream cheese pieces. Cover with the remaining bread mixture and top everything with the remaining ½ cup grated parmesan.

8. Bake strata at 350 degrees until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

3.17.15 Quesitos (Puerto Rican Cheese Pastries)

We’ve returned from our adventures in Puerto Rico, and what a trip it was! We spent the first half of the trip in San Juan, exploring Old San Juan and spending a lot of time at the beach near our casita in Ocean Park. The second half of our trip was spent on the island of Vieques, located about 7 miles off the eastern coast of PR. We rented a Jeep, drove over backroads to hidden beaches, hiked, and even did some night kayaking in the island’s bioluminescent bay.


In both locations, we stayed in places we found on Airbnb that had kitchens, because I knew that being on vacation was not going to stop me from wanting to do some serious cooking. Between the farmer’s markets, fruit stands, colmados, and grocery stores, I was well stocked, and ended up making some pretty fantastic food, including cheese and guava breakfast sandwiches, black beans and rice, huevos rancheros, and black bean avocado tacos.

Of course, I didn’t cook too much; we obviously had to go out and sample the local fare as well. It was, of course, pretty fantastic. Mofongo, plantain tamales, roasted pork, fish tacos, fresh coconut juice from roadside stands - it was all delicious.

Yes, we ate a lot of awesome food on our trip, but one of my favorite things would probably have to be the quesitos. We stumbled upon this delicious treat almost by accident on our first morning in San Juan when we ventured to the local panaderia for some breakfast. I’m always a fan of bakeries, and the one we visited (Kasalta) did not disappoint. Cases and cases of pastries, breads, sandwiches, cakes and other baked goods stretched the length of the store. How was I to choose? In the end, I chose something at random, and as luck would have it, it turned out to be a quesito.

A quesito is a sweet Puerto Rican pastry which, as the name implies, is filled with cheese.  And as a Wisconsinite, I am always, always down for some cheese. It’s deliciously simple - sweetened cream cheese, wrapped in a twist of pastry, with a sweet crunchy exterior. Washed down with a steaming hot cortado (espresso with milk), it was breakfast perfection. I knew immediately that I would be making some of my own quesitos when we returned home. And as you can see, I did. You probably should too.


makes 8

I made the standard plain cheese quesitos I fell in love with in PR, but these would be amazing with fruit preserves added to the filling as well.

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 1-lb package frozen puff pastry, thawed (you should have two sheets of pastry)
  • 1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and 2 Tbsp sugar until well combined. (Note: I like my quesitos a bit less sweet, but if you are a sweet tooth, you may want to add an extra Tbsp of sugar in this step)

3. Take one puff pastry sheet, and roll out on a well-floured surface until you have a 14” x 10” rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise and lengthwise to form 4 equal 7” x 5” rectangles of dough. Place one eighth of the cream cheese mixture on each rectangle, about 2” in from the lower left-hand corner. Spread cream cheese mixture diagonally towards the upper left-hand corner, leaving a little space near the edges of the dough (see picture above for how this should look).

4. For each dough rectangle, fold the lower left-hand corner over the cream cheese mixture, then fold in sides and continue to wrap until filling is completely encased in pastry. Place, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the remaining pastry sheet and cheese filling.

6. Whisk together the egg and 2 Tbsp sugar until completely combined. Use a pastry brush to brush egg mixture over the tops of the rolled pastries, making sure to cover them completely.

7. Bake quesitos at 400 degrees until puffed, dark golden, and shiny, about 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

3.11.14 Thai Style Stir-Fried Pork

We’re still in the Caribbean this week, but that’s not going to stop me from telling you about this most delicious stir-fry. After all, it was so tasty, it would be a shame to wait any longer to share it with you. This dish is a riff on one I once made from the Pok Pok cookbook. I went to Pok Pok when we were in Portland last year, and it was a glorious event. In particular, the chicken wings. Yes, I still dream about those Vietnamese fish sauce wings. But I digress. When we returned home, I had to get my hands on Pok Pok’s cookbook, knowing that wing recipe was in there. Also, many other amazing recipes, one of which was a stir-fry of ground chicken and some other things, served over rice and topped with a fried egg. Sold. I made it, and it was fantastic.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago. I needed to make dinner, and I needed to make it fast. Stir-fry was the obvious choice. I happened to have some ground pork on hand, and several different types of herbs, peppers, and condiments from my latest foray to the asian grocery store. I knew what needed to be done.

I cooked up some rice, sauteed some aromatics, and threw my pork in to brown. I whisked together a quick sauce to flavor the pork and threw that in as well. Before I knew it, dinner was ready. A couple of quickly fried eggs, and a topping of fresh chopped herbs and thai chiles, and we were ready to eat. Not too shabby.

Thai Style Stir-Fried Pork

Serves 2

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp chile garlic paste
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs such as Thai basil, cilantro, mint, or a mix
  • 1 Tbsp chopped scallion (green part only)
  • 1-2 red Thai chiles, finely chopped (use more or less to taste)
  • White rice for serving

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, non-stick pan. Add the shallot, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the ground pork, and cook, breaking pork apart with a spatula. Cook until pork is no longer pink.

3. Whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, chile garlic paste, and sugar. Add to the pan with the pork, and cook, stirring frequently, until no liquid remains and pork is darkly browned, about 5-6 minutes.

4. Divide rice between two plates, and top with equal amounts of the pork mixture. Return pan to heat and fry two eggs. Top each plate with a fried egg.

5. Mix together the chopped herbs, scallions, and chiles, and sprinkle an equal amount over the top of each plate. Eat immediately.

3.4.15 Charred Citrus Salsa

First off, let me apologize. I’m sorry that I could no longer handle the winter cold and had to get away for a couple of weeks. I apologize for the fact that as you read this, there’s a good chance it’s snowing outside, and an even better chance that I’m sitting on a beach working on my tan and reading trashy beach novels. I’m sorry, but it had to be done. Every year, we mean to book a vacation in the dead of winter, and we never get around to it. By the time February rolls around, we look at each other and curse our inability to plan ahead. Not this year.

This year, we’re spending some quality time in Puerto Rico. But don’t worry, thanks to some foresight and the technology to schedule posts ahead of time, I’m still able to bring you this bright flavorful salsa recipe I made last week. Which is important because it’s really delicious. And serious deliciousness like this can’t wait.


I’ve always found that in the middle of winter, one of the best things you can do is liven up your cooking with some bright sunny citrus and fresh herbs. Now, citrus is all well and good on its own. Trust me, we’ve been eating a lot of it this winter. But when you throw said citrus in a hot pan and get a nice char on it, it’s even better. What you get is a deeper, almost smoky flavor; perfect for salsa. This salsa comes together very quickly - simply char some citrus, throw some ingredients in the food processor, and 30 seconds later, you’ve got a bowl of salsa. It’s the perfect thing to top roasted chicken or fish, it’s wonderful on tacos, and it’s the perfect way to take your standard chips and salsa to the next level. Most importantly, it feels like a refreshing ray of sunshine in an otherwise cold and snowy winter, and that’s good enough for me.


Charred Citrus Salsa

makes about 1 ½ cups

  • 2 navel oranges (I used Cara Cara)
  • ½ lime (cut in half crosswise)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 serrano chile peppers, seeded if less heat is desired
  • ½ tsp salt

1. Heat a cast iron pan or grill pan over medium high heat. Cut the oranges in half lengthwise, then in half again to make quarters. Once pan is hot, place the orange quarters, and the half of the lime in the pan, cut sides down. Cook until the flesh begins to char, about 2-3 minutes, then remove the lime and flip oranges to char the other cut side. Once all citrus is charred, remove from heat and let rest for about 5 minutes to cool.

2. Peel the rind off of the charred orange slices, then place them into a food processor. Squeeze the juice from the charred lime half into the food processor. Add the cilantro, mint, onion, garlic, chiles, and salt. Pulse until a finely chopped consistency is achieved about 20-30 seconds. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator.

2.24.15 Quick Pasta Carbonara with Kale

One thing I will say about winter is it greatly increases the number of days I’m really thankful to have a well-stocked pantry. You know, for those times where I know I need to make dinner, only to find that anything I want to make is going to require a trip to the store. In spring or summer, it seems like no big deal. This time of year, when it’s freezing cold and dark before 6 pm, going on a store run sounds like the last thing I want to do. On days like this, I make carbonara.

If you can always remember to have dry pasta, bacon, eggs, and parmesan cheese on hand, you’re all set to make carbonara. In our house, this is not a problem. I guess that’s why I make it so much. If you’re new to carbonara, here’s all you need to know. It’s like a grown-up version of mac and cheese. Also, way easier to make then mac and cheese, and it includes bacon. Are you sold? Good.

The basic steps are as follows: Boil some water, and cook your pasta. Cut up some bacon and fry until crisp. Cook other flavorizers and veggies (a.k.a. what you can find in your vegetable drawer) in the bacon grease until soft. In my case, this happened to be some shallots and baby kale. Add your cooked pasta to the delicious bacony goodness, and whisk together some eggs and parmesan cheese. Now here’s where the magic happens. On low heat, stir the egg mixture into the pasta with a touch of pasta water. It sounds like a disaster, but just trust me. Stir, stir, stir, and before you know it, the eggs and cheese will have formed the most lovely, silky smooth sauce imaginable. Like I said, mac and cheese, but fancy. Also, you have dinner, and you didn’t even have to make a store run. You’re welcome.


Quick Pasta Carbonara with Kale

serves 2

  • 4 oz dry pasta (I used campanelle)
  • 3 pieces bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 oz baby kale, any long stems removed
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for topping)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta until just slightly al dente. Once cooked, drain, but reserve ¼ cup pasta water.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat and add the bacon pieces. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is just beginning to crisp. Add the shallot and crushed red pepper and continue to cook until shallot is soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to low and add the baby kale, cooking until it is just starting to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and toss to mix well.

4. Quickly whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. With the pan still on low heat, add 2 Tbsp of the reserved pasta water to the pasta. Slowly pour in the egg mixture, stirring constantly to coat pasta. After a minute or so of stirring, the egg mixture should have coated the pasta to form a smooth, silky sauce. If sauce is too thick, stir in some more of the reserved pasta water to thin it out. Serve pasta immediately topped with more parmesan cheese.


2.19.15 Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake and a Big Thank You

As a food blogger, I’m always on the lookout for ways to grow and improve my little blog into a means of inspiring our community. Luckily, I’m not alone in this endeavor. Madison is a city of great food bloggers, and last year, I was fortunate enough to meet a couple of them. Since then, every few weeks, Bowen of Bowen Appetit, Vicky of Things I Made Today, and I have been getting together to discuss our blogs, our lives, and of course, food.

In the beginning, we met mostly as a fun way to discuss the ins and outs of food bloggery, and help support each other’s culinary efforts. As our meetings continued, we found that there were a lot of benefits to helping each other. We could pool our resources, cross-promote, and even collaborate on future projects. And so, we’ve joined forces to create Wisconsin Whisk, a food blogger collective focused on sharing our love of cooking with our community. Our aim is to share our love of cooking with others by providing a variety of delicious recipes, cooking tips, and culinary insight to help inspire home cooks.

This week, you may have noticed that Madison Magazine has released it’s annual Best of Madison list. And as luck would have it (and by luck, we of course mean the tireless voting efforts of you, our wonderful readers), our three blogs have all been recognized this year as Best of Madison best local food blogs for 2015! We’re so happy to have such great readers - we couldn’t have done it without you! And to celebrate, we’ve got an extra special blog post for you. Instead of just one recipe, we’ve teamed up to bring you a whole three course menu! Each of us has contributed a delicious recipe to create one fabulous meal, once again proving that collaboration is definitely a good thing.

First Course

The first course is a beautiful Creamy Sundried Tomato Soup from Things I Made Today. A rich, deeply flavored soup made with sundried tomatoes, cream, and fresh herbs, it’s a perfect starter. Click the photo below for the full recipe on Things I Made Today.  

Second Course

For the second course, Bowen Appetit brings us this cozy dish of Roasted Sweet Potato, Chorizo and Mushrooms with Chipotle Quinoa. Click the photo below for the full recipe on Bowen Appetit 

Third Course

Hopefully, you’ve saved room for dessert, because I’m sharing this delicious Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake. This is probably one of the most beautiful desserts I’ve ever baked, and on top of that, it's downright delicious. This recipe is the result of once again finding myself with way more citrus than I know what to do with, which tends to happen this time of year. Not that I’m complaining.


I especially love blood oranges, and am always on the lookout for any excuse to eat them. So when I was headed over to a friend’s house for dinner recently and needed to bring a dessert, I took one look at the bowl of blood oranges on my counter and knew what needed to be done. Blood oranges are delicious - that’s a fact. But they’re also incredibly beautiful, and I knew I had to showcase this in my dessert. So upside down cake it was. But not just any upside down cake. I swapped out the butter in the cake for olive oil, whose fruitiness I felt sure would compliment the oranges. I added some coarse ground cornmeal to the cake batter for texture and a more rustic feel. I whipped up some honey mascarpone cream to use as a topping. This wasn’t going to be your everyday cake, that’s for sure.

It’s always a risk to try out an experimental cake recipe on a friend who’s nice enough to have you over for dinner. Luckily, this cake did not disappoint. It came out of the oven a lovely golden brown, and soon after, I flipped it out to reveal the gorgeous crimson red orange slices baked into the top. The cake itself was wonderfully moist and flavorful, with a hint of orange and cinnamon from the caramel topping. It was perfect. I can only hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

serves 8

Leaving the rind on the orange slices helps them keep their shape during cooking and also adds a slightly bitter note that compliments the sweetness of the caramel topping.

  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal (preferably coarse ground)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 large blood orange, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ¼ cup mascarpone, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a larger bowl, mix together the olive oil, sugar, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla.

4. Add half the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture, followed by the milk, and the rest of the flour mixture, stirring just to blend after each addition.

5. To make the topping, heat a 9-inch cast iron pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the brown sugar and cinnamon stirring to mix well. Cook 1-2 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Remove from heat and arrange sliced blood orange rounds in an even layer on top of the caramel. Pour the cake batter over and spread evenly over top.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 -35 minutes - cake should be golden and a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.

7. Immediately after removing from the oven, place a plate over the pan, and carefully invert cake out of the pan and onto the plate (make sure to wear oven mitts - the pan will be very hot!)

9. To make the mascarpone cream, whip the heavy cream with a whisk or mixer until peaks form. Beat in the mascarpone and honey until smooth. Serve cake warm with a dollop of mascarpone cream.

2.17.15 Winter Minestrone

Minestrone has, for a long time, been one of my favorite types of soup. Maybe because it’s seems so simple, yet has such a surprisingly complex flavor. Maybe because it’s infinitely customizable. Maybe it’s because I can often use it as a way to clean out any stray vegetables hanging around the fridge. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because you can (and are actually encouraged) to top it with copious amounts of parmesan cheese.

Whatever the reason (okay, it’s the cheese), I’m always down for making a big pot of the stuff. I base my recipe on what sorts of veggies and other add-ins I can find readily available in the current season. This time of year, I find myself making a very veggie-heavy version (and after all the hot cocoa I’ve been drinking, this is probably a good thing), chock full of beans, root vegetables and hearty greens. I round out the flavor with some tomatoes, a healthy dose of garlic, some rosemary, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. And of course, most importantly, no bowl of minestrone is complete without a generous pile of parmesan cheese on top. Once stirred, the cheese will melt into the soup, leaving you with a little bit of cheesy goodness in every bite. This is vegetable soup at its finest.

Winter Minestrone

serves about 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced thinly
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (such as Muir Glen)
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, ribs removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
  • grated parmesan for serving

1. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, leek, carrot, fennel, rosemary, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook stirring often, until vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5-6 minutes.

2. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to coat vegetables with the tomato paste. Add the canned tomatoes, broth, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

3. Add the beans, chard, and kale, and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium, cover pot, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until greens are tender. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve soup topped with grated parmesan cheese.