Creamy Wild Rice & Kale Soup
Despite its name, wild rice is not rice at all. It IS a seed of an aquatic grass, like rice, but its not directly related to it. The grass grows in shallow freshwater marshes and along the shores of streams and lakes.
There are four different species of wild rice: one is native to Asia and harvested as a vegetable rather than rice. The other three are native to North America (around the Great Lakes region) and harvested as a grain.
Wild rice was originally grown and harvested by Native Americans, who used the grain as a dietary staple for hundreds of years. Its only referred to as rice because it looks and cooks like other types of rice.
Wild rice has a stronger, nuttier flavor than white or brown rice and contains small amounts of iron, potassium, and selenium. Naturally low in calories, it contains impressive amounts of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and makes a great plant-based protein source. Wild rice actually contains more protein than other forms of rice and many other grains, and is considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Wild rice was found to contain 30 times more antioxidants than white rice, thus reducing your risk of disease, especially heart disease.
With all these benefits AND this recipe being a one-pot meal...have you started cooking yet?
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. of tomato paste
1 tsp Greek oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup of wild rice or wild rice blend, rinsed
7 cups of low-sodium vegetable stock
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)
1 cup of unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
4 heaping cups of kale, washed and chopped (I used Lacinato kale, but you can use any kind)
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms to a dry pan and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms release all their water and it evaporates.
Move the mushrooms to the side and add the olive oil to the other side. Add the onion and sauté the onion and mushrooms for about 5 - 8 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for another 5 - 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add the tomato paste and stir to combine with the vegetables and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, and dried basil and stir. Add the balsamic vinegar to de-glaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up any stuck bits on the bottom (these stuck bits are called frond and its where the best flavor lives).
Add the rice, stir, then add the vegetable stock and thyme sprigs. Stir again, bring to a boil and once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer on low heat, covered, for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, remove the lid and add the almond milk, chopped kale, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, cover again and cook for another 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid and stir again. If its too thick, add more stock, water, or almond milk. Serve immediately with fresh chopped parsley and a lemon wedge, if desired, and enjoy!