In the winter I crave comfort food, especially soup. One of my favorites is this recipe for White Bean and Kale Soup. This soup is perfect for cold winter weather. (Is it any wonder that January is National Soup Month?) The great thing about this recipe is that it offers lots of ways for you to personalize this soup so that it suits your tastes as well as what you have available to put in it.
*Scroll down to use print recipe feature and add to your Recipe Box.
GREENS: You can substitute just about any greens for kale. My favorite substitution is Swiss chard. You could try collard greens in this soup recipe. If you go with collards, allow it to simmer an additional 30 minutes or until the collards are soft. You could try spinach if you have that on hand, however, spinach should be put in as the last ingredient, and then serve the soup immediately. The spinach will wilt quickly.
BEANS: Use whatever white beans you have in your pantry, Northern or cannellini.
MEAT: If you don’t have bacon, use ham, pancetta, or any cured meat. The flavor is incredible.
VEGETARIAN OPTION: This recipe is easily adapted as a vegetarian soup recipe by using vegetable broth rather than chicken broth, and substituting a smoked turkey sausage for the bacon. (When you sauté the onions and kale, dice up turkey sausage and add at that point.)
This recipe for White Bean and Kale Soup came about almost by accident. Isn’t that the way some of the best recipes are created?
I had some leftover kale I needed to use and an entire bag of dried northern beans.
and froze what I didn’t use in this recipe for later.
I save the bean juice and put it into the soup. It gives it a nice starchiness (thick and comforting), and mashing the beans up thickens it too. If you like thin brothy soup, just don’t mash them up.
- 3 cups white beans (northern or cannellini) or 2 cans
- 32-ounce carton chicken broth (or try my homemade vegetable broth or use the juice from slow cooker batch of beans)
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 slices cooked bacon, chopped (you can also use diced ham or pancetta)
- 4 cups kale, roughly chopped
- In a large stockpot or dutch oven heat oil, then add onions and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Once softened, add bay leaf and thyme sprigs (leave whole).
- Add kale and bacon, cook until wilted.
- Pour in chicken stock, vegetable broth, or bean juice and deglaze the pan. (This just means that you use the liquid to clean the bottom of the pan.)
- Put 2 cups (or one can) of beans into soup mixture.
- Then take the last cup and mash it to make a paste. Add to soup mixture and stir.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese and baguette croutons.
White Bean and Kale Soup
3 cups white beans (northern or cannellini) or 2 cans
32 oz carton chicken broth (or my homemade vegetable broth, or use the juice from your slow cooker batch of beans)
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped (you can also use diced ham or pancetta)
4 cups kale, roughly chopped
Add kale and bacon, cook until wilted.
Put 2 cups (or one can) of beans into soup mixture.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese and baguette croutons.
Recipe developed by Kelly Hancock ©2010 Faithful Provisions. For personal use only. May not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed for capital gain without prior permission from Kelly Hancock.