As the cool weather settles in, our soup cravings come alive, and one timeless favorite takes the lead—the classic escarole and beans. This Italian gem brings together leafy greens and creamy white beans in a broth brimming with comfort.
Not only is it incredibly filling, but the gentle bitterness of escarole plays a perfect duet with the buttery beans. Overflowing with nutrients, this soup is warm and delicious.
Having perfectly cooked escarole and bean soup involves two secrets. The first is to add a teaspoon of baking soda to the bean mix before simmering, then add the escarole at the very end of the simmer, just 5 minutes before eating. This ensures a vibrant, textured green that’s far from slimy. Be wary, you’ll need to let your beans soak overnight with this one! Here’s the full recipe.
Escarole and Bean Soup
● 16 oz. navy beans
● 2 bay leaves
● 1 Tbs. olive oil
● 1¼ lb. hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
● 1 medium onion, diced
● 3 medium carrots, diced
● 2 stalks celery, diced
● 3 cloves garlic, minced
● 6 sprigs thyme, bundled
● 1 head escarole, roughly chopped (see below image for reference)
- Pour beans into large dutch oven and sort through to remove pebbles or debris.
- Fill pot with enough water to cover the beans by about 2 inches. Put lid on pot and set aside 8 hours or overnight.
- Drain water from beans and refill pot with fresh water—about 2 inches above reconstituted beans.
- Add 2 bay leaves to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 45 to 50 minutes on low simmer. Turn off heat and let beans sit in pot, covered.
- Preheat a large skillet, add olive oil on a medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the sausage and break it apart with the back of a spoon, then cook until brown.
- Add carrots and onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften.
- Stir in garlic, and cook another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Transfer the sausage mixture to the soaked beans. Add the thyme and stir to combine.
- Heat pot to boiling, then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 30-40 minutes until beans are quite tender.
- Just before serving, stir in escarole and cook until it wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Tips and Tricks
You can also consider kale or Swiss chard as a substitution. Both greens hold their own during slow cooking, offering a similar bitter note that matches perfectly with creamy beans.
Just keep an eye on the pot, as these substitutes might need more time to soften because their leaves are sturdier. In under 20 minutes of active cooking, you’ll have a soul-warming bowl of escarole and bean soup.
Nowadays, parents are often left feeling desperate to work out some non-screen entertainment options for their young kids, especially teens. In fact, there’s a wide variety of indoor games available for kids of all age groups, going beyond typical remote-driven car models and Barbie dollhouses. Before you run out of options, here are a few top choices of super-fun games, puzzles, and STEM kits for your children that are both exciting and challenging.
For Toddlers and Little Kids (Ages 2-5)
Little Thinkers’ Block Logic Puzzle
This colorful set of games includes 30 puzzles to solve by manipulating nine coloring wood blocks. In each challenge, the player needs to fit all the blocks on a grid while matching stars and blocks by color. Your toddler can start with the easier ones that also include suggestions for players. After getting the hang of it, they can move to the harder ones.
SmartGames Three Little Piggies
This brilliant game is perfectly capable of engaging your little ones for a much longer period of time. It includes a book with multiple puzzle games to solve. Every puzzle has the same mission of protecting three little pig figures with three little houses to save them from the Big Bad Wolf. A few parts of the game are easy to clean up and portable enough to carry anywhere outside so that your little kid can work on their brain power wherever they go.
For Big Kids (Ages 6-10)
Outfoxed! by GameWright is a cooperative whodunit game. Here, the player practices deductive reasoning and problem-solving while moving around a board and trying to figure out who’s the thief that has stolen a valued pot pie from the main character Mrs. Plumpert. Because it’s a group game, friends or siblings can have a great time together, working out the games to win, but hopefully without quarreling or bickering too much!
Discovery Toys Marbleworks
This STEM toy was around even before STEM was a common acronym. With this toy, your child can spend hours playing fun open-ended marble games. The pieces are durable and are perfect to be easily put together by small kids. As your kids build and tinker, they get hands-on experience in physics, especially stability and balancing. It’s a great way of learning while having fun!
For Tweens and Teens
The Happy Isles by The Three Magic Puzzle Company
The puzzle games by The Magic Puzzle Company are for those who have stamina in them! One elaborate 1000-piece puzzle alone takes multiple evenings to finish. Incredibly well-designed with a mysterious setting, The Happy Isles is immensely satisfying to complete. It’s especially more fun when tackled in a pair or small group. So this one can be the perfect sibling or family project to spend a few fun brainstorming evenings with together.
PuzzleGears Precision Clock
This teens-special STEM kit is a super-cool and perfectly working pendulum clock, to be made from scratch. The gears and structures are made with laser-cut wood pieces and are powered by springs. Patiently completing this mammoth 166-piece challenge will earn your teen a true sense of accomplishment. The complete project will also look stunning sitting on a shelf!