At last, a Kale Soup that is worth getting excited about! With flavor for days, hearty white beans, and spicy turkey sausage, this soup is everything you didn’t know kale soup could be.
Why You’ll Love This Kale Soup Recipe
- Diet Food? Oh Heck No. Kale soup sounds like one of those punishing diet foods that you force yourself to eat until you end up crying uncle and ordering a burger at the drive-thru window. That is not what you get here, though. Like Minestrone and Crockpot Tortellini Soup (which is also loaded with kale!), this kale soup makes for a hearty, satisfying meal.
- An Umami Party in Your Mouth. While the zippy Italian turkey sausage, Parmesan rind, and white miso are optional, if you add them to the mix, you’ll end up with so much depth and umami flavor in this kale soup. If you’re over veggie soups with anemic, flavorless broths, this kale soup changes the game.
- Cozy Meal for Chilly Days. Eating a bowl of this soup feels like slipping on your favorite cozy cardigan. This kale soup has lots of filling ingredients, which is exactly what we all crave when the weather starts to turn.
- Loaded With Healthy Ingredients. With so many vegetables, protein-packed sausage, and fiber-rich beans, this kale soup is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Just like Cabbage Soup and Lentil Soup, this is the kind of soup that makes you feel like you’re doing your body a (delicious) favor.
- Make It Your Own. There’s plenty of room for customization here, which means you can put your own unique spin on the recipe—or use up those veggies that have been sitting in your crisper drawer for the past two weeks.
How to Make Kale Soup
- Hot Italian Turkey Sausage. This is optional, but Italian sausage will add flavor and protein, making this kale soup a meal on its own.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. No need for anything fancy since you’re cooking with it.
- Yellow Onion, Carrots, and Celery. The trifecta that starts so many of our favorite soup recipes, from 15 Bean Soup to Turkey Soup.
- Garlic. Feel free to add more, but never add less.
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper. To bring it all together.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Use as much or as little as you like.
- White Miso Paste. This may seem a little out of left field, but stick with me! Miso is an umami bomb, and white miso has a subtle sweetness. This optional addition adds a lot of depth to this kale soup.
- Parmesan Rind. Parmesan rind is your Italian grandma’s secret for an epic bowl of Pasta Fagioli.
- White Beans. I used Great Northern beans, but cannellini beans or navy beans are fantastic too.
- Low-Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth. Homemade or a high-quality store-bought variety.
- Kale. The star of the show! You can use Lacinato (also known as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale) or curly kale.
- Lemon. To brighten things up and balance the flavors.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese. The perfect finishing touch. Freshly grated Parm melts beautifully into the soup.
- Brown the Sausage. A meat chopper makes it easy.
- Sauté the Vegetables. This builds flavor.
- Add the Miso and Garlic. Stir and cook for a minute or two.
- Simmer. Add the Parmesan rind, beans, and broth. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Finish. Stir in the kale; once it wilts, add the lemon juice and season to taste. Serve topped with grated Parmesan and ENJOY!
- Not-Kale Soup. This recipe also works for chard, spinach, and other greens.
- Vegan Kale Soup. Skip the Parmesan (or add dairy-free Parm) and add the miso. Omit the sausage or replace it with your favorite vegan sausage; crumble it up and add it with the kale.
- Kale Soup With Butternut Squash. Butternut squash and kale make a great pair, as in my Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Kale. Cube the squash small and add it to the pot with the beans and broth.
- Kale Soup With Potatoes. Add small diced potatoes (or sweet potatoes!) with the beans and broth.
- Kale Soup With Chickpeas. Swap the canned white beans with chickpeas.
- Creamy Kale Soup. After the kale wilts, pour in half-and-half for a creamy finish.
- To Store. Leftover kale soup will keep in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Warm leftovers on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze kale soup in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Get a jump start on this recipe by chopping the vegetables a day ahead of time. Store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook!
What to Serve with Kale Soup
- Salad. Soup and salad is a classic combo! Serve kale soup with Burrata Salad or a light Arugula Salad.
- Sandwich. Prefer something a little more substantive with your kale and white bean soup? Then try a Chickpea Salad Sandwich or Apple Grilled Cheese with Turkey.
- Bread. You could buy a crusty baguette from the bakery, or if you’re feeling ambitious, make Rosemary Olive Oil Bread or Cornbread Muffins.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. A kitchen multitasker that goes from stovetop to oven.
- Ladle. Makes serving soup easy!
- Chef’s Knife. You don’t need pricy gadgets and tools for prepping veggies when you’ve got a good chef’s knife at the ready.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Wash the Kale Well. Curly kale can have grit and dirt hiding in the leaves and you don’t want that in your soup! Instead of running the whole bunch of leaves under the faucet, rinse them one by one. Or, you can chop the kale and use a salad spinner.
- Add Some Umami Flavor. Both the miso and the Parmesan rind will give your soup a lot of depth and umami flavor. I recommend adding at least one of them for the best kale soup.
- Strip the Kale With Ease. The easiest way to do this is to hold the thick end of the stem in one hand and use the other to run a knife down both sides of the stem, stripping off the leaves.
- Cut the Kale into Bite-Sized Pieces. My rule for soup is that everything should fit onto a spoon.
- 4 links uncooked hot Italian turkey sausage optional (1 pound)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 2 celery stalks chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus additional to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste* optional
- 1 Parmesan rind* optional
- 2 15-ounce cans white beans drained and rinsed (I used Great Northern beans)
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 bunch curly or lacinato kale destemmed and chopped (5-6 cups)
- 1/2 lemon juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
- Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- If using sausage, heat a Dutch oven or similar large pot over medium heat and squeeze the sausage from the casing into the pot. Cook, breaking the sausage up into small pieces, until it’s well browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pot.
- Add the olive oil to the pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring periodically, until the vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes
- Add the miso and garlic. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, until very fragrant.
- Add the Parmesan rind (if using), and the beans and broth. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the kale. Cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with more salt, black pepper, and/or red pepper flakes.
- Serve hot, with grated Parmesan on top.
- TO STORE: Leftovers will keep in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze kale soup for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Cooking kale reduces the amount of vitamin C and antioxidants slightly, but it’s still very healthy. Plus, since we add kale right at the end of the cooking time, it will retain much of its nutritional value.
The squeeze of lemon juice will balance any bitter flavors from the kale. This soup has a lot of flavors, but bitter isn’t one of them!
I like to use Lacinato and curly kale in a soup, but milder red kale will work too.