Yield: 4 hardy servings
Today is a second “snow day” with temps in the twenties–far milder than much of the country (and world!) I realize–and I’ve been home from school craving something warming and nutritious. I love alliteration and happened to have some tempeh on hand so when there was no pre-chopped kale (sorry, I was feeling lazy) at the grocery store, but there were turnip greens, I greedily tucked a big bag into my basket.
I happened to have a can of white beans in the pantry and debated adding them, but I have something else in mind for them and there is PLENTY of protein in this soup thanks to the tempeh, as well as just the right amount of creaminess from the nip of non-dairy creamer. But feel free to add beans if “beans and greens” along with the tempeh sounds more satisfying, or if you want to stretch the soup for a larger group.
Because greens where I come from are typically eaten with pork (sorry!), I used fennel and smoked paprika for a nod in that direction. Note that the hint of sweetener is optional but, while I love bitter greens, tempeh is also a tiny bit bitter–or maybe pungent is a better word–so I feel the sweetener creates a better balance of flavors. And, while it may sound odd to add vinegar to bitter flavors, malt vinegar is wonderfully mellow and complex and actually enhances those flavors which is probably why we southerners love vinegar sprinkled over our greens. Finally, if you can’t easily obtain nutritional yeast, feel free to omit, but it adds a subtle richness and depth that is difficult to duplicate.
4 cups vegetable stock (or 4 cups water + 4 veggie or “no-chicken” bouillon cubes)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces tempeh, cut into bite-size cubes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cups chopped turnip greens
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon natural sugar, agave nectar, or maple syrup
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer (I used So Delicious coconut milk creamer)
In a covered 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a simmer, reduce heat to medium. Meanwhile, heat the tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently until beginning to turn golden brown. Add garlic, and continue sauteeing for another minute or two, stirring frequently. Add tempeh, fennel, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes, and saute, stirring frequently, for about five minutes or until tempeh is coated in the spices and hot through. Add half the greens and about 1/2 cup hot stock and cook down for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Repeat with remaining greens and another 1/2 cup of stock. Stir in nutritional yeast, sugar and vinegar until completely combined. Add contents of skillet to stock, bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring in the 2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer at the end. Check for seasoning, adjust as necessary, and serve immediately.