Over the early part of the summer when Ramadan was in full swing, I took advantage of the somewhat cooler weather and made soups for Iftar (meal that breaks the fast). The main reason for that was not only the fact that I love how soups really acclimate my stomach to food after fasting, but more motivation actually came from the beautiful fresh greens I began finding at a local farm stand run by Loyola University called the Loyola University Retreat Campus in Woodstock, IL. There’s a very nice farmer named Emily who runs the greenhouses, gardens and Friday farmsteads and I’ve come to familiarize myself with what’s there every week and try to plan my meals around what’s being sold, if I’m in town at the time. What has been constantly abundant and beautiful has been the Tuscan kale and the beets, which I actually buy more for the greens than the beet itself, although I do use both.
I’ve been making variations of this soup with orzo and greens like kale, beet leaves and broccoli all week. I got the produce from my local farm stand @gardensofloyola_woodstock and the freshness of their ingredients makes all the difference. I also added onions, garlic and chicken broth – it is so perfect for #Iftar. #ramadan2016🌙 #shoplocal #eatseasonal #eatclean #halalisabundant
I use these greens the same or the next day, usually. To keep them fresh and crisp I wrap them in paper towels and put them in a brown paper bag and don’t wash them until just before cooking. Once I do wash them, it’s always in cool water, leaving them in the water for a few minutes which really freshens them up even more.
I love all the beautiful and bright colors, and the other thing about this soup is that you don’t have to strictly use the kale and the beet greens, but instead you can use just one. Also, you can add some fresh broccoli into it, too. It’s that versatile and so rather than just follow the recipe strictly use what you have or what is fresh and local and appealing and I’m sure it’ll come out tasting fabulous. Just take a look at this color- isn’t it simply inspiring?
And the key ingredient, the key to making any soup nice and rich and healthy- is the broth. If you can, don’t just use water. Water is great and all, but in order to give your body the minerals and vitamins it may be craving to be healthy and strong, real beef, chicken or lamb broth is a wonderful ingredient to include. My go-to convenient, halal and healthy option if I haven’t had time to make my own is the Saffron Road variety. It’s spoiled me a lot (in a good way) to be able to grab a box at the store, know and trust that it’s completely halal, and wholesome.
I used the Artisan Roasted Chicken broth variety but you could also use their Culinary Classic Chicken Broth variety.
Now that Ramadan is way over, I’m still making soups over the summer, but I’ve also got a taste for trying new things- have you seen the new Fish Bowls from Saffron Road? How cool do those look? I have yet to try them, so let’s do it together!
I’m giving away one week’s worth of Saffron Road coupons so that you can try something new every day of the week– they have so many cool, convenient halal, gluten-free and Non-GMO products like frozen entrees, lentil crackers, lamb broth (trying finding another brand that makes that), and even desserts!
Here’s how this fun giveaway works:
- U.S. participants only. I know, bummer. Sorry, guys and gals, but products are only available in the U.S., but anyone in the world can watch our Instagram feed once the giveaway is over and food pics are shared 🙂
- Entrants must have an Instagram account that they will use to share pics with the Saffron Road products they buy from the coupons received.
- To enter, go to the PRODUCTS section of Saffron Road and see the types of items they have.
- Leave a comment about which one(s) you’d love to be able to try with your FREE coupons for FREE Saffron Road products.
- Check back here and on my Instagram account for the winner, which will be announced on August 12, 2016. No more entries will be accepted after August 8, 2016. As a winner, you agree to post pics of the products (i.e. shopping, packages, your dish, etc.) using the hashtag #mhksaffronroadfoodpics and tagging both @saffronroadfood and @myhalalkitchen on Instagram. Once that’s happening, anyone can follow the food pics using the hashtag #mhksaffronroadfoodpics!
Have fun exploring some of those really great halal global cuisine products and share this with all the foodies you know!
- 4 cups kale leaves
- 1/4 cup kale stems, diced
- 1 cup beet leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup diced beet stems
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (about 1/3 cup)
- 3 large cloves of garlic (3 tablespoons)
- Salt, to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons)
- 1 carton Saffron Road Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth (about 5 cups)
- 6 cups water
- 1/3 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Once all the leafy greens and stems have been cleaned and chopped, make sure they are completely dry (pat with a paper towel) and set aside.
- In a large sauce pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil gently. Add the stems of the kale and beets, the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and salt and continue to cook until the garlic is softened. Add the greens and use a wooden spoon or spatula to make sure they are fully coated in the oil and cooked down slightly.
- Add the chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
- Add the orzo and cook according to the package instructions, approximately 6-10 minutes.
- Once the orzo is been fully cooked (softened), remove the soup from heat and serve. Top with fresh Parmesan, if desired.