Monday, January 26, 2015

Tuscan Kale Vegetable Bean Soup Bento

Hi! How was your weekend? Here in the bay area we experienced an unseasonably warm and sunny weekend. We (along with lots of other people) decided to spend it at the beach in Monterey Bay, where we were treated to a lot of gray whale activity. We saw them spouting, diving, and even breaching from right on shore. It was very exciting! Back home today, it feels like a complete 180 degree turnaround in weather: cloudy and cold once again. A cold day like today calls for a warm soup bento! I made big pot of vegetable soup with beans and sausage to fortify us through the frigid weather. All right, it's only in the mid-50s but still.

MisterMan will bring this LunchBots Thermal Food Jar to school with him, with this very cool spoon/fork combo utensil, along with a side container of ombre blood oranges, pickled cucumbers and grape tomatoes. I love the way the blood orange segments look. Have you tried this variety before? They taste a little more tart than cara cara oranges (my favorite) at first, but they finish nice and sweet. If you see them in the market, you might want to give them a try. They are easy to peel and you can pack these pretties in segments, as I've done here, or cut them into wheels, as I've done in the past. They look like this on the outside; kind of like blushing oranges. ^__^

Tuscan Ribollita Soup Recipe
(adapted from Eating Well)

  • 1 14-ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed, divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced, white and light green parts only (I omitted; used round onion instead)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 2 whole diced carrots
  • 2 stalks diced celery
  • 1 cup diced zucchini 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, trimmed and cut into 2-inch-wide slices (I used various baby kale varieties)
  • 1/4 head Savoy or green cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes (I omitted)
  • 2 cups diced russet potatoes (I omitted)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • Crushed red pepper to taste


  1. Drain canned tomatoes, reserving the liquid. Dice the tomatoes. Using a potato masher, mash half the beans into a paste (add a bit of broth, if desired, to make mashing the beans easier). Set the tomatoes and beans aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; cook, stirring, until translucent and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not brown. Season with 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir in carrots, celery and zucchini and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil; cook, stirring, until nearly tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  3. When the carrots and celery are nearly tender, stir in kale (or chard) and cabbage. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 6 minutes. Add potatoes, broth, water, the diced tomatoes and juice, the bean puree and whole beans, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with celery seed, crushed red pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until all the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.


  1. like the color of the oranges!

  2. Your photos are always so beautiful! You have inspired me to make my child's lunches more fun and unique! Do you have a recipe you can share for that yummy looking soup?

    1. Thanks Bex for the kind words. I love to hear from parents like you who want to start making bento! I usually post links to recipes from previous posts but I'm a bit out of practice and need to get back up to speed soon. I will add the recipe here. Thanks!