I'd walk five miles to buy escarole. Love that green.

I created this recipe from my memory of my mother's tasty and healthy escarole soup. As a young child, I remember loving this meal!

Here it is.....a lovely head of escarole from this season's garden (2013).

Escarole is a member of the chicory family of lettuces. England and France cultivated this fiber rich leafy green since the 1400's. However, most equate escarole with Sicilian Italian cuisine. We Sicilians love our greens!

One of my childhood memories was having this soup for dinner. As a seven or eight year old, I remember enjoying the wonderful taste of this soup which mom made with red kidney beans and rice. Of course, the soup was oozing with extra-virgin olive oil and loads of salt.

Olive oil was a tradition in our home. Mom and my grandmother kept oil on hand in gallon containers......'extra-virgin, cold-pressed', and imported! I have to honestly admit that I wondered if I could create that magical memory minus the oil. Well, I did. Let me know what you think!!

Healthwise, here's the skinny on escarole:

A fiber winner, packing 16 grams in an entire head.
1 cup gives 4000 international units of Vitamin A; that's over 100% RDA recommendation
Rich in Vitamins K, C, and essential B's.
Gives us folate, calcium, and iron.
Contains flavonoids and lutein

Soup ingredients:

1 head escarole
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 can dark, red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the escarole leaves well, and cut off about an inch from the root end. Cut the leaves in small pieces.

In medium sauce pot, saute the onion and garlic in a little water or veggie broth till soft. (Add water as needed to prevent burning.) Add the escarole, cover the escarole with water or light veggie broth. Bring to light boil and simmer till escarole looks cooked. (It cooks quickly.) Add the beans and simmer a few more minutes till beans are warmed. Add the Italian seasonings and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can also add some cooked brown rice to the soup. The combinations are endless, but I like the soup pure and simple - greens, beans and Italian seasonings.

I was in heaven enjoying this lovely soup, knowing it's hearty, healthy and packed with gifts that make our cells smile!