My coworkers and I were invited out to a picnic a few weeks ago and while the property is gorgeous and right on the river, I think my favourite part was all of the food-bearing plants it had. The property boasted two vegetable gardens, countless fruit trees, and blackberry bushes and the two dogs that reside there were pretty cute too! 😉 The owners are some of the nicest people I have ever met and knowing I’m vegan, insisted on sending me home with some goodies from their gardens. ‘Some’ is perhaps an understatement though, as I came back with two bags full of zucchini, beets (with greens!), cauliflower, potatoes, kohlrabi, and plums that resulted in a very full fridge! After a failed beet green smoothie adventure, I let the remainder sit in the fridge until I could do them justice, which happened to be in the form of this healthy soup that I came across in a recent cookbook perusal. I am not sure that calling this Italian is correct but somehow the rosemary and balsamic vinegar combination tastes very Italian to me.

Beans and Greens Soup (Adapted from ReBar Cookbook)

1 onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

4 cups cooked chickpeas

3/4 cup diced, canned tomatoes

greens from two bunches of beets, chopped

1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Saute onions in a frying pan until golden, add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant (don’t burn the garlic!). Add chickpeas and tomatoes and enough water to just cover all the chickpeas. Bring to a boil then let soup simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add beet greens and cook until just wilted. Add balsamic vinegar and salt (if desired, I didn’t feel it needed any) to taste.

As going to an event is a great excuse to bake goodies, I whipped up a batch of the cowboy/cowgirl cookies from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar. I used sliced blanched almonds instead of pecans and added some cinnamon and vanilla extract. Two thumbs up from me, and I think all the omnivores who were in attendance as well as they disappeared awfully quickly. I will warn you though that the recipe makes a LOT of cookies (granted I think it does say that in the book, but apparently I didn’t really believe them).