As everyone knows, greens are good for you, but with its high calcium content, kale is a standout. Its deep green color and elaborately ruffled leaves, contrasted with the yellow of squash and the orange of sweet potato, makes this an attractive and nourishing dish for the early autumn harvest.
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup short- or medium-grain brown rice, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 to 8 ounces fresh kale
2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 cups water with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes, or 1 32-ounce carton low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 small yellow summer squashes, diced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the rice, then cover and simmer gently until done, about 35 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and saute over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to saute until both are golden.
3. Trim away and discard the thick midribs from the kale leaves. Chop the kale into bite-sized pieces and rinse well in a colander. Add to the soup pot along with the sweet potatoes and water with bouillon cubes. Add the ginger and mustard and stir well. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in the squash and tomatoes and simmer until the kale and sweet potato dice are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Mash enough of the sweet potato with the back of a wooden spoon to thicken the base.
5. Season with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Serves 6 to 8.