Creamy, aromatic, and comforting, this delicious kale soup is a 30-minute recipe filled to the brim with beans, veggies, and tomato flavor.
It's wonderful as a family meal, served with focaccia or crusty bread to sop up the creamy soup leftovers.
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Every time I make this kale soup recipe, Louise gets so excited she starts dancing around in the kitchen.
We love kale soup, and soon you will too; and while this soup is undoubtedly wholesome, nutritious, and healthy, that's not why we adore it.
It's the rich and round taste and irresistibly creamy texture that conquered our hearts (and tummies).
And sure, it doesn't hurt that you can put it together in about 30 minutes and are going to feel amazing after eating it.
Kale is a superfood and, when mixed with nutritious white beans, veggies, herbs, and tomatoes, makes this soup the best remedy against winter blues and cold winter days. Here's how to make it.
Start the recipe with a flavor base with extra virgin olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. When cooked gently in olive oil, these simple ingredients will add a ton of flavor to your soup.
Wanna make it oil-free? No probs. Water-fry the veggies with ¼ cup of vegetable broth instead.
We recommend fresh thyme and rosemary here, finely chopped. You can substitute dried thyme and dried rosemary for their fresh ones.
Other herbs that work well are sage, oregano, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning.
You can use dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan kale, cavolo nero, or lacinato kale) or curly kale. Any type of kale works. We recommend removing the woodier stems before chopping the kale and adding it to the soup.
If you use pre-chopped kale, it should already be packaged without woodier stems.
We like to use canned diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes for kale soup. Whole peeled canned tomatoes are also ok, although the soup will be a little chunkier.
While you can use any beans, we recommend canned white beans (some excellent varieties are cannellini beans, great northern beans, and navy beans) because they are wonderfully creamy and are a perfect flavor match with kale.
You can also use dry white beans that you previously soaked overnight and cooked in boiling water until soft (about 1 to 2 hours).
Vegetable stock is our liquid of choice to simmer the rest of the ingredients. It adds plenty of flavor, and we like to use it instead of chicken broth or meat-based broths so that everyone can enjoy this delicious recipe.
Salt and pepper
Season kale soup with sea salt or kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and optionally a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Note: we don't add sausage or vegan sausage to the soup. However, if you want to do so, add it at the beginning with the onion, celery, and carrot.
Make the flavor base
Coarsely chop onion, celery, and carrot, and add them to a large soup pot or dutch oven with extra virgin olive oil.
Fry gently, on medium-low heat, for 5 - 10 minutes.
Add grated garlic, finely chopped rosemary, and thyme and fry for 1 more minute, stirring often.
Let it simmer
Add drained and rinsed white beans, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, and black pepper, stir with a wooden spoon, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 - 20 minutes on medium heat.
Prepare the kale
In the meantime, prep the kale. If you have whole kale leaves, we recommend separating the leaves from the woodier stems.
Chop the leaves into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Make it creamy
After simmering for 15 - 20 minutes, taste and adjust for salt, then blend about 2 cups of the soup.
You can do so directly in the pot with an immersion blender or transfer some of the soup to a regular blender.
Tip: blending some of the soup makes the whole dish incredibly creamy and delicious. Don't blend all of it; it'll lose the rustic chunky texture.
Add chopped kale to the pot, add more vegetable broth if required, and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the soup is creamy and the kale is tender to your liking.
Tip: you can add more broth if you like a thinner soup.
Let the soup cool down for 10 minutes, if you can, to allow flavors to meld, then serve it in a bowl with a thick slice of toasted crusty bread brushed with garlic and drizzled with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
You can also add a sprinkle of grated parmesan or dairy-free cheese on top if you like.
Alternatively, serve it with one of these bread-based ideas:
- No-knead focaccia bread: the perfect match for soups to top up the leftovers in your bowl.
- Homemade croutons: for added crispiness to your soup.
- 10-minute crostini bread in the oven or air fryer.
- Easy tomato bruschetta: garlic brushed and aromatic side dish.
Serve with seasonal roasted or fresh vegetables:
You can easily change your legumes or greens based on what you have at home.
Take this recipe as a guideline, and try it with lentils, spinach, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and more. For instance:
Rustic Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is another favorite in our home. We make it with green or brown lentils. Their earthy taste and excellent texture make this recipe a crowd-pleaser.
Check out our lentil soup recipe.
Tuscan White Bean Soup
Tuscan white bean soup, or ribollita, is a classic traditional soup from Tuscany, Italy. It's hearty, tasty, and nutritious, with plenty of leafy greens, white beans, and thyme.
Check out our Tuscan white bean soup recipe.
Blending vs. not-blending
Blending a small amount of the soup is a quick trick to make kale soup and other soups extra creamy without adding additional fat, heavy cream, or another dairy.
If you don't blend, that's ok. The soup will still taste amazing, but it'll lack creaminess.
This depends mostly on your preferences. If you like it soft and buttery, cook it for 15 to 30 minutes. If you want more texture and chew, cook it for 5 to 10 minutes.
In most cases, we recommend adding kale towards the end, when the soup is almost ready, and you are happy with its taste and texture.
Kale can be ready in as little as 5 minutes to up to 30 minutes if you like it very tender.
So it also depends on your preference if you want to add it a few minutes before the soup is ready or a little earlier so that it has time to simmer and soften up.
You can substitute kale with most leafy greens such as chard and Swiss chard, green cabbage, bok choy, savoy cabbage, Chinese cabbage, spinach, and broccoli.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead: kale soup is a beautiful recipe to make ahead because its flavor gets better as the soup sits in the fridge. It's also very easy to freeze.
Refrigerator: let the soup cool down at room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: let it cool down completely at room temperature, transfer it into a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months. Do not thaw and freeze multiple times.
Thaw: defrost kale soup in the refrigerator over several hours, or use a microwave's thawing function.
Reheat: you can reheat it in a small pot with a spoonful of water, or you can do so in the microwave. It's best not to reheat the soup multiple times.
More Kale Recipes
If you're curious about cooking with leafy greens, get inspiration from these wholesome kale recipes:
- Rainbow kale salad: a healthy lunch, dinner, and side dish idea.
- Kale pesto pasta: easy pasta in 20 minutes and a great way to use up kale leftovers.
- Creamy kale pasta with a lemon-ricotta sauce, a weeknight-friendly pasta meal.
- Crispy kale chips: chips made healthier with crisp notes of lemon.
- Tuscan soup with veggies and leafy greens.
- Savory crepes with mushrooms and greens.
More Soup Recipes
Find more wholesome and flavor-packed soup meals with these easy and healthy soup recipes:
- Chickpea soup with Italian herbs and a creamy tomato base.
- Tofu soup: ready in 20 minutes with seasonal vegetables and noodles.
- Red lentil soup with split red lentils and a creamy tomato soup base.
- Butternut squash soup with bake-and-blend butternut squash and fresh sage.
- Cauliflower soup: a bright, easy, and light soup with a velvety smooth texture.
For more curries, stews, and soups, check out our soups category page.
- Immersion blender or regular blender (optional)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion white or yellow
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large stalk celery
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs rosemary sub 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or Italian herbs
- 4 sprigs thyme sub ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 - 3 cups vegetable broth start with 2 cups and add more if you like a thinner soup
- 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 2 small cans (30 ounces) cannellini beans sub other white beans
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 ounces kale
MAKE FLAVOR BASE
- Coarsely chop onion, carrot, and celery into dice and add them to a large pot or dutch oven with extra virgin olive oil.
- Fry gently for 5 to 10 minutes.Add grated garlic, finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and red pepper flakes and fry one more minute stirring often.
- Add rinsed white beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, and black pepper.Stir, bring to a boil, then simmer on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, prep the kale. Separate leaves from woody stems.
- Chop kale leaves into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
MAKE IT CREAMY
- Now, blend about 2 cups of the soup.You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender.
- Add chopped kale to pot, add more veg broth if required, stir well, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the kale is tender to your liking.
- Taste, and adjust for salt then let soup cool down 5 - 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Serve in a bowl with a thick slice of toasted crusty bread brushed with garlic and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.Parmesan cheese or dairy-free cheese is optional.
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