With a bright fresh flavor, this Tuscan White Bean Kale Soup is a simple soup that’s easy, healthy and delicious all year round.
Like many natural foodies, I enjoy cooking locally. But come January in Wisconsin, this gets darn hard. So I was happy to discover Tuscan White Bean Kale soup. Happily, the tasty soup is loaded with hardy keepers like onions and carrots!
And for a vegetable soup, it’s amazingly flavorful! This is thanks, in part, to an ingredient combo known as mirepoix . Mirepoix is a mixture of minced carrots, celery and onion that is sauteed to flavor a soup base. Using minimal effort if you have a food processor, even! Yes!
So, if you’ve ever had the fear that your soup will turn out bland, this may be your solution! For more on mirepoix, see Jersey Girl Cooks.
Finally, the soup loads up on tasty tomatoes and some finely chopped kale to add lots of nutrition too Doesn’t that sound perfect for January–or anytime!
Why You’ll Love This!
Flavorful. Although this is a relatively simple soup, the mirepoix and spices deliver a tasty final result!
Prep in Food Processor. Everything in this soup that needs chopping or pureeing goes right in the food processor. And since it’s all going into the same soup, I don’t even wash it in between veggies.
Healthy. Even though most of the vegetables are cut very small, they’re still there. Just don’t tell your kids!
Vegan Option. You just need to make sure you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this soup vegan. You can make your own or there are some good commercial brands (I usually use Trader Joe’s in that case).
What You’ll Need
- Celery, Carrots, Onion. These go into the mirepoix which creates rich flavor.
- Olive oil. To sautee the vegetables. You can use a different oil if you prefer.
- Garlic, Basil, Oregano. These add flavor. You can ad lib if needed on herbs as long as you add some with good flavor.
- Cayenne (optional). This can add a small punch of heat if you’d like.
- Tomatoes. This creates some of the broth and adds flavor and nutrition.
- Kale. This adds nutrition and color. You can substitute spinach, but if you do add it in the last minutes of cooking time.
- Chicken or Vegetable Broth. These form the bulk of the broth.
- White beans. Add nutrition and flavor and thicken the soup. You can use another type of bean.
- Salt, black pepper. These add flavor.
- A large stockpot or Dutch oven to hold everything!
- A food processor is very helpful to efficiently cut everything up and puree one of the cans of beans.
Step by Step Directions
Mince the celery, carrots, and onion until finely chopped (about ¼ inch pieces).
In a large Dutch Oven or Stockpot, heat oil until hot then add minced celery, carrots and onion. Add garlic and cook briefly.
Stir in spices, then add remaining ingredients except one can of beans. Mash that can of beans (I used the food processor), then stir it in for thickness.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes until kale is tender and flavors have blended. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
How to Serve
Since this soup is low on protein, it works better as a side/first course soup than an entrée soup. That said, you could easily pair it with a simple protein dish like grilled cheese or even cheese and crackers. Or take a look at “Variations” below for some ideas to add meat.
Of course, since this soup is light but flavorful, it makes a particularly good first course soup. No worries about being too stuffed for diner!
In fact, White Bean Kale Soup is already in the running for my 2023 Christmas Eve soup. I always go with something vegan so everyone can enjoy!
Variations and Special Diets
As I mentioned, to make a Vegan White Bean and Kale Soup, just use vegetable broth. And if you’re gluten free, you’re already good since the soup is thickened with pureed beans! Dairy free? Got you covered!
If you’re looking for something a bit heartier, feel free to add some sausage (I’d go with Italian sausage) for a kale sausage white bean soup. Or chop up some leftover cooked chicken for chicken kale white bean soup. Yum!
Per foodsafety.gov, soups should be used within 3-4 days. You can freeze this soup if you’d like.
Tips & FAQs
Did you know you can freeze tomatoes whole? It’s true–with no prep other than to cut out the stem scar on regular (not cherry or roma) tomatoes. Just pop them into zip loc bags or other freezer containers when they are abundant in the fall. Then when you want to use them, the skins will slip right off after a minute or two of thawing and you can chop them to use just like canned chopped tomatoes.
Can I use dried beans? Yes. You can use beans that have been cooked properly (so that the bean toxins are deactivated). About 1 1/2 cups would equal one can so you’d need a total of about 3 cups.
Do I need to add cayenne? This soup is often made with a pinch of heat but that is optional. I used some canned tomatoes with green chilis along with my homegrown frozen tomatoes to achieve this. But plain canned tomatoes and a pinch of cayenne or other spice would accomplish the same thing. Or go mild if you prefer.
If you have small or funny shaped carrots, that won’t make good carrot sticks, this is a great place to use them!
Can I add potatoes? You will see versions of this soup with added potatoes. I personally try to avoid potatoes in soups, other than potato soup, because they tend to get overly soft if frozen. And I like to be able to freeze leftovers if needed.
I like to make soup in a pretty Dutch Oven. Then it’s easy to bring right to the table looking spectacular. While the Le Creuset are the gold standard (and come with a life time warranty), I have also had good luck with brands like Martha Stewart and Lodge.
Tuscan White Bean Kale Soup
- 3 stalks celery (about 1 cup after chopping)
- 3 carrots (about 1 cup after chopping)
- 1 onion
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped, optional
- Pinch cayenne optional
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes 2 15 ounce cans or home chopped
- 1 bunch of kale chopped, about 2 cups chopped
- 3 cups Vegetable Broth or chicken broth
- 3 cups white beans 2 15 ounce cans, drained
- Salt black pepper to taste
- Mince the celery, carrots, and onion until finely chopped (about ¼ inch pieces).
- In a large Dutch Oven or Stockpot, heat oil until hot then add minced celery, carrots and onion. Cook on medium, stirring regularly, until fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. If the vegetables start to brown, turn down the heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
- Stir in spices, then add remaining ingredients except one can of beans. Mash that can of beans (I used the food processor), then stir it in for thickness.
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes until kale is tender and flavors have blended. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.
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