Foggy Day Lunchbox: Kale, White Bean & Sausage Soup

What to pack for school lunch is often a big challenge for parents.  I know I struggle with it a great deal on a daily basis.  I lovingly prepare from scratch, quick & easy lunches for Ria, only to have them come home UNTOUCHED.  Not because it is food Ria does not like, but because she is the resident lunch-time chatterbox and busy-body (wonder where she gets that from 🙂 ?).  I can talk and eat quite efficiently, but for some reason Ria cannot.  She gets in the car after school and is often in the foulest of moods because she is starving.  I used to show up with a snack but these days I make her finish what is leftover from lunch and, if she is still hungry, she then gets something else.

There are still days I want to throw in the towel and stop taking the time to prepare her lunches.  But then, I don’t really want to be known as the mom who sent her kid to school with a bag of Cheetos (because, the Cheetos she will eat).  Her teacher was aghast when I once joked that I was contemplating sending Ria to school without any lunch.

She doesn’t eat it anyway, so why bother?

And if I wasn’t such a foodie “show-off”, I am sure I would have long given up.  So inspite of the failure and daily disappointment, I soldier on in hope that one day something will click and she will eat all of what I prepare for her.

I recently purchased a mini thermos made by Crocodile Creek and I am looking forward to sending along some of Ria’s favorites which tend to be ricey, soupy and stewy.  I actually have my money on this working out.  Due to some clever marketing on my part, she is excited about her thermos (in hot pink with a butterfly on it!) and I think she gets that it will be filled with tasty delights.  She needs to now just shut-up and eat her school lunch and make her Mama proud.

The kale, white bean and sausage soup get consumed easily at home and I am hoping it translates into school lunchbox success.  Make a batch on the weekend,  freeze some and keep some for your kids lunch.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will work.

Kale, White Bean & Sausage Soup adapted from Frances Mayes from Everyday in Tuscany (Zuppa di Cavolo Nero, Cannellini e Salsicce)

Serves 12 to 14 (half it if required)


  • 2 Italian sausages, skins removed and meat crumbled
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bunch of dinosaur kale
  • 4 cups cooked cannellini beans (dried beans best but I often use canned)


  1. Saute the crumbled sausage in the olive oil till browned and remove from pan
  2. In the same pan, saute the onions, thyme and garlic until softened
  3. Add the chicken stock to a big pot.  Bring to a boil and add the kale and cover and simmer for 15 minutes
  4. Add the cooked sausage and beans and simmer for another 15 minutes