Chef at Home: G-Love

Garrett Benedict throws a soup party.

When he makes soup for friends and family, chef Garrett Benedict knows exactly what he wants. “I like a tomato base for richness of flavor and balanced acidity,” says the chef behind the vegetable-forward PDX restaurant G-Love. “But anything made with love will be a hit!” The chef first learned this ribollita recipe — the perfect winter soup — while working at Ubuntu in the Napa Valley. The key, he says, is achieving richness in flavor through deeply caramelized vegetables. “It’s vegan — but you’d never know it,” he says. Serve it with mushroom toast for a full seasonal delight.


(Serves 4)


• 1 qt small white beans, soaked in water overnight

For the sachet:

• Splash of olive oil 

• 1 lemon, washed and halved

• 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch rings 

• 2 stalks celery, cut similar size 

• 1 large yellow onion, cut similar size

• 2 sprigs rosemary

• 10 sprigs thyme


While the beans are soaking, cut the veggies. Heat a large pan until it is smoking hot with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the lemon, cut side down, to the pan; cook until charred black. Add the veggies and stir. Cook until the vegetables are charred as well; you want them darkly caramelized but not as black as the lemon. Turn off the heat on the pan, add the herbs and let cool to room temperature. Tie vegetables in a little bundle with cheesecloth; if you don’t have cheesecloth, you will just have to pick out the vegetables and herbs after you cook the beans. Add the vegetable bundle and the beans to a large pot and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender and creamy on the inside, 1 to 2 hours. When the beans are done, let them cool to room temperature in the cooking liquid, and season with a hefty pinch of salt. This liquid becomes the base of the soup. 

To finish the soup:

• 2 C olive oil 

• 3 C carrot, diced small (1/4-inch cubes)

• Pinch of salt 

• 3 C yellow onion, diced small

• 3 C celery, diced small 

• 1/2 C garlic, peeled and minced 

• 4 sprigs rosemary, minced

• 1 14-oz. can peeled Roma tomatoes, blended coarsely 

• 1 bunch kale, cut into ½-inch pieces 

• 2 T cracked black pepper

• 1 t coriander 


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the carrots carefully, and stir to distribute in the oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes with the heat still on high until the carrots just start to get a little darker in color. Add a pinch of salt, then add the onions. Cook the onions for 3 to 5 minutes, just until they start to pick up a little color. Add the celery and another pinch of salt; cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to distribute evenly. Cook the garlic for about 3 minutes until it no longer smells raw. Add the rosemary and fry for 1 minute. Add the blended tomato and stir. Cook the tomato for about 5 minutes, still on high heat, until the tomato has started to reduce and doesn’t smell raw anymore. Add the kale; stir and let cook for just a minute or so, until it has wilted. Add the beans and their liquid to the pot and bring to a simmer, stirring the bottom of the pot to avoid scorching. Add a pinch of salt and about 2 T of cracked black pepper. Add 1 teaspoon of ground coriander. Cook over medium-low heat at a low simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour; you want the flavor to meld together but don’t want to cook the beans too much. After an hour, add some fresh lemon juice and more salt or black pepper as needed. If time permits, let the flavors meld overnight.

Miso Caesar Salad 

(Serves 4)


• 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and cut into bite-size pieces

• 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese 

• Miso Caesar dressing (recipe follows) 

• Herbed croutons (recipe follows)


Wash and dry lettuce. Using a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce with the parmesan cheese and toss to incorporate. Drizzle on the miso Caesar dressing until it is dressed to your liking. Toss the salad and top with the herbed croutons.

Miso Caesar Dressing 

(Yields 1 pt)


• 1 egg yolk

• 1 T Dijon mustard

• .75 oz yellow miso paste

• 1 t lemon juice

• 1/4 C red wine vinegar 

• 1 t tamari 

• 1 t minced garlic

• 1 t Frank’s Hot Sauce 

• .75 oz grated Parmesan cheese 

• 1 t salt  

• 1 t ground black pepper 

• 1 T capers

• 1 C extra virgin olive oil


Blend everything but the olive oil until smooth. Slowly emulsify in the oil. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Herbed Croutons 


• 1 loaf Ken’s Artisan Blonde Sourdough bread

• 3/4 C extra virgin olive oil 

• 1 T salt 

• 1 T pepper, coarsely ground

• 1/2 T red chili flakes 

• 2 T rosemary, chopped 

• Zest of 2 lemons


Remove the crust from the bread with a bread knife. Cut the loaf into long rectangular strips 1×1 inch. After the bread is cut into strips, tear by hand into bite-size pieces that are roughly a 1-inch cube. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot with high sides over high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, add in the torn croutons and quickly stir with a wooden spoon. Toast the croutons over high heat until they are nicely caramelized and dark golden brown, adding a drizzle more olive oil if needed. When the croutons are caramelized, turn off the heat and immediately add the salt, pepper, chili flakes, rosemary and lemon zest. The pan will still be very hot, and we don’t want to burn the spices, so quickly stir with the wooden spoon to evenly distribute the seasonings. Then pour the croutons out of the pan onto a baking sheet to cool.

Mushroom Toast 

(Serves 4)


1 loaf Ken’s Artisan Baguette 

1 C cremini mushrooms 

1 C chanterelle mushrooms 

1 C maitake mushrooms 

3 T extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, sliced thin, divided 

10 sprigs thyme, divided 

Calabrian Chili Blaster (recipe follows) 

1/2 C shaved Parmesan cheese


Slice the baguette into 8 slices on a steep diagonal bias. Wash and dry the mushrooms. Cut the cremini mushrooms into quarters, and tear the chanterelle and maitake mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil has just begun to smoke, add in the cremini mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Stir with a wooden spoon, and continue to cook the mushrooms over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/3 of the sliced garlic and 1/3 of the thyme to the pan. Continue to cook and stir until the mushrooms are caramelized and cooked through; transfer to a bowl. Repeat mushroom steps with the maitake and chanterelle mushrooms. When all the mushrooms are cooked, mix them together and remove the thyme sprigs. Brush the slices of baguette with olive oil, and toast over medium heat in the same 10-inch skillet (work in batches). Once all the bread has been toasted, assemble the mushrooms on top of the toasted baguette. Drizzle generously with the Calabrian Chili Blaster, and sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan cheese.

Calabrian Chili Blaster 

• 1/2 C grapeseed oil 

• 3 T shallot, minced

• 3 T garlic, minced

• 3 T Calabrian chilis, minced

• 1 lemon, zested and juiced

• 1 t paprika

• 1 T parsley leaves, chopped

• 1 T oregano leaves, chopped

• 1 T thyme leaves

• 1 t salt


Combine the oil, shallot and garlic in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes until sweated and there is no color on the shallots or garlic. Add the Calabrian chilis, lemon zest and lemon juice. Continue to cook on medium heat until lemon juice has cooked off. Turn off the heat, add the paprika and let cool to room temperature. Add herbs; stir to combine.