Creamy kale soup is a tasty and fulfilling 30-minute one-pot recipe that combines fresh kale leaves with tender white beans, vegetables, aromatic herbs, and a flavorful vegetable broth.

You’ll love this kale soup recipe because it’s comforting, nourishing, and simple enough for an everyday lunch or dinner.

Serve it with a thick slice of crusty bread for a complete and nutritious meal.

Kale soup with white beans, silver spoon and bread

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.

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What is Kale Soup?

Kale is a nutritious and versatile leafy green you can use to make countless soups, stews, and curries inspired by world cuisines.

Think of our delicious African peanut stew, Tortellini soup, Indian-inspired potato curry, or curry lentil soup.

They are all wholesome and tasty recipes where kale blends in spectacularly!

This easy kale soup recipe is inspired by Tuscan white bean soup or ribollita.

Kale soup in a bowl with spoon

It combines the creamy texture of cannellini beans with tender kale leaves, aromatic Italian herbs, and a rich and flavorful vegetable broth.

Like other Italian-inspired soups such as lentil soup, chickpea soup, and pasta e fagioli, this kale soup recipe is healthy comfort food thanks to its creamy and rustic texture, rich and hearty flavor, and wholesome nutrition.

To make the soup ultra-creamy, we recommend blending some white beans before adding the kale.

It’s a simple trick we use in our black bean soup and pasta with chickpeas, and our readers love it!

Serve kale soup with a grating of parmesan cheese or non-dairy cheese, some crusty bread, homemade croutons, a whole grain, or homemade focaccia to make a nutritionally complete, satiating, and balanced meal.

Kale soup with parmesan cheese

Ingredients & Substitutions for Kale Soup

Kale soup ingredients

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Flavor Base

A flavor base is a simple 5-minute first step to add flavor to soups and stews. This technique is called soffritto in Italian and mirepoix in French cooking.

It’s a game changer when making simple yet flavorful meals.

To make it, you’ll need:

  • Extra virgin olive oil: substitute olive or avocado oil for extra virgin olive oil.
  • Onion: you can use white, red, or yellow onion. Substitute shallots for onion.
  • Carrot: carrots add sweetness and chunkiness to the soup.
  • Celery: for freshness. Substitute a thinly sliced leek for celery.
  • Garlic: we recommend using fresh garlic.

Herbs

We recommend rosemary and thyme.

Substitute Italian seasoning, sage, oregano, and bay leaves for rosemary and thyme.

You can use fresh herbs or dried herbs. If you use dried herbs, start with a smaller amount because their flavor is more concentrated than fresh herbs.

We recommend starting with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for each dried herb.

Kale

You can use Tuscan kale, also known as dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, or lacinato kale. Curly kale works well, too.

Remove 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 the thicker stems.

Substitute spinach, chard, bok choi, or Chinese cabbage for kale.

Canned tomatoes

Use canned diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes for this kale soup.

Whole peeled canned tomatoes are also ok, although the soup will be chunkier.

White beans

While you can use any beans, we recommend canned white beans such as cannellini beans, great northern beans, and navy beans because they are creamy and are a perfect flavor match with kale.

You can also use dry white beans you previously soaked overnight and cook in boiling water until tender for 1 to 2 hours.

Vegetable broth

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.

Substitute plain water for vegetable broth.

Salt and pepper

Season kale soup with sea salt or kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Note: we don’t add Italian sausage or vegan sausage to the soup. However, if you want to do so, crumble it and add it at the beginning with the onion, celery, and carrot.

Serves well with

Kale soup serves well with anything bready, such as a thick slice of rustic bread, toasted, rubbed with garlic, and drizzled with good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Alternatively, you can serve it with rosemary focaccia, Italian flatbread, pita bread, or a grain of your choice; we recommend farro, barley, or brown rice.

kale soup served in a white bowl

How to Make Kale Soup

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add coarsely chopped carrot, onion, and celery and sauté gently for 5 to 10 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Tip: 5 minutes is enough to make a great soup; 10 minutes will make the soup even more flavorful.

carrot, celery and onion in a skillet

Add grated garlic, rosemary, and thyme and fry for 1 more minute or until fragrant.

fried vegetables in a skillet

Add drained and rinsed white beans, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Stir with a wooden spoon, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat.

beans and tomato puree in Dutch oven

In the meantime, prep the kale. If you have whole kale leaves, we recommend separating the leaves from the woodier stems.

removing kale leaves from stems

Chop the leaves into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

chopping kale leaves

Blend about 2 cups of soup with an immersion blender or with a standing blender.

Tip: blending some of the soup makes the whole dish ultra-creamy. But don’t blend all of it; it’ll lose its rustic chunky texture.

blend some of the kale soup

Add chopped kale and finish simmering for a few more minutes until the kale is tender.

Taste and adjust for salt and let it cool down for 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Tip: you can add more broth if you like a thinner soup.

rinsed kale in the soup

Serving Suggestions

Kale soup is a fulfilling and nourishing recipe you can have as a main meal sided with bread or grains.

Serve it in a bowl with a thick slice of crusty bread, toasted, brushed with garlic, and drizzled with good quality extra virgin olive oil.

You can sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese or non-dairy parmesan.

Alternatively, you can top it with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt or non-dairy yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Kale soup with spoon and bread

You can also serve it with:

rosemary focaccia

Variations

Take our kale soup recipe as a guideline, and change the legumes or vegetables based on what you have available at home.

Substitute lentils or chickpeas for the white beans. Or add chopped potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower florets for even more flavor.

For instance:

Rustic Lentil Soup

Lentil soup with spoon and bread

Lentil soup is another favorite in our home. We make it with green or brown lentils and kale.

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 with silver spoon and fresh herbs on the side

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.

Lentil vegetable soup

Lentil Vegetable Soup with hand

This one combines earthy lentils with a rich tomato-based broth, veggies, and tender spinach leaves.

Check out our lentil vegetable soup.

Tip

Blending a small amount of the soup before adding the kale is a quick trick to make this recipe creamy without adding additional fat, heavy cream, or dairy.

It’s a technique used in traditional Italian cooking; for example, Tuscan soup, chickpea pasta, and pasta with beans all use this same technique to make the recipe irresistibly creamy.

If you don’t blend it, that’s ok. The soup will still taste amazing but lack that extra creaminess.

Questions

How long do you cook kale in soup?

This depends mostly on your preferences. If you like soft and buttery, cook it for 15 to 30 minutes. If you want more texture and chew, cook it for 5 to 10 minutes.

When should I add kale to my soup?

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 to 30 minutes if you like it buttery tender.

So it 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.

What are some substitutes for kale in soup recipes?

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.

Storage & Make Ahead

Make ahead: kale soup is an excellent meal prep recipe because its flavor improves as the soup sits in the fridge. It’s also very easy to store and 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 it for up to 3 months.

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 kale, get inspiration from these wholesome kale recipes:

More Soup Recipes

Find more wholesome and flavor-packed soup meals with these easy and healthy soup recipes:

For more curries, stews, and soups, check out our soups category page.

creamy kale soup in a bowl

Kale Soup

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 12 votes
Creamy kale soup is a tasty and fulfilling 30-minute one-pot recipe that combines fresh kale leaves with tender white beans, vegetables, aromatic herbs, and a flavorful vegetable broth.
You’ll love this kale soup recipe because it’s comforting, nourishing, and simple enough for an everyday lunch or dinner.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 3 – 4 people
Course: Appetizer, Soup
Cuisine: American Italian

Equipment

  • Immersion blender or standing blender (optional)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots coarsely chopped
  • 1 rib celery coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary sub 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme sub 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups vegetable broth add more if you like a thinner soup
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans drained and rinsed or 3 cups cooked beans
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 twists black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 7 ounces kale chopped into bite-size pieces

Instructions 

  • If you use whole kale leaves, we recommend separating the leaves from the woodier stems.
    Then chop the leaves into bite-size pieces and set them aside.
    removing kale leaves from stems
  • Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large pot, add 1 large onion, 2 medium carrots, 1 rib celery, all coarsely chopped, and sauté for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
    Add 3 cloves garlic (pressed), ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, and ½ teaspoon dried thyme, and cook for 1 more minute.
    fried vegetables in a skillet
  • Add 2 cups vegetable broth, 2 cans (15 ounces each) crushed tomatoes, and 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans.
    Season with 1½ teaspoon salt, 2 twists black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
    beans and tomato puree in Dutch oven
  • Blend about 2 cups of soup with an immersion blender or with a standing blender.
    blend some of the kale soup
  • Add 7 ounces kale (chopped) and simmer for a few more minutes or until the kale is tender.
    Taste and adjust for salt. Add more broth or water if you like your soup thinner.
    rinsed kale in the soup

MAKE IT A MEAL

  • Kale soup is a fulfilling and nourishing recipe you can have as a main meal sided with bread or grains.
    Serve it in a bowl with a thick slice of crusty bread, toasted, brushed with garlic, and drizzled with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
    You can sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese or non-dairy parmesan.
    Alternatively, you can top it with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt or non-dairy yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
    Kale soup with sprinkle of parmesan

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 large serving of kale soup out of 3 servings without bread or toppings.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Make ahead: kale soup is an excellent meal prep recipe because its flavor improves as the soup sits in the fridge. It’s also very easy to store and 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 it for up to 3 months.
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.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 361kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 1269mg, Dietary Fiber: 19g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 14094IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 94mg, Vitamin E: 6mg, Vitamin K: 291µg, Calcium: 396mg, Folate: 98µg, Iron: 9mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 88mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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8 Comments

    1. That wonderful, Jill, I’m very happy you liked the kale soup.
      Thank you for the substitution tips and for your comment here.
      All the best,
      Louise

    1. Fantastic, Sam!! I’m so happy you loved it, it’s one of my favorites too.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to write a message. Kindest,
      Louise

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent, delicious and easy to make soup! I loved, loved, loved this recipe! Served with croutons I had on-hand. Perfect!

    1. Hi Sharon,
      Thanks so much for your message, I’m so happy you love the soup!! Sounds like a great pairing with croutons. Best wishes and a wonderful weekend to you, Louise