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White Bean & Kale Soup

A cozy, hearty, healthy soup that's loaded with nutritious ingredients! This White Bean and Kale Soup has a few simple seasonings that take it from bland to flavorful. Give it a try! This soup recipe will yield about 4-6 servings, and takes only about 20 minutes of hands-on work. 

This is a great soup for meal prep because it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Oh, and it happens to be vegan and gluten-free. 

Overhead image of White Bean and Kale Soup in a bowl
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Canned white bean soup

A can of white beans is great to have in the pantry because you can add it to so many dishes to make a hearty, filling meal. For white bean soup, I like to use great northern beans because they hold up well to being boiled and stirred. But if you have cannellini beans or navy beans, those will do just fine.

This recipe uses one 15-ounce can of white beans.

The other main ingredients in this soup are carrots, kale, onion, and celery, making it very nutritious and healthy while being flavorful and satisfying. The onion, carrots, and celery are sauteed before adding any liquid ingredients, which caramelizes them and gives the soup so much flavor.

I hope you give it a try!

2 bowls of White Bean and Kale Soup

More kale and bean soup recipes to try: Kale, Sausage, and Kidney Bean Soup

Ingredients

Here's the list of ingredients for this hearty soup. But be sure to read the "recipe variations" section below for more ideas for how to jazz up this soup.

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 celery ribs, diced. 
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced. I sometimes double the carrots to add more veggies.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed with a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or use your favorite dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, Italian seasoning)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander (this gives the soup a really nice savory flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (This gives the soup a nice rich tang, a mild tomato flavor, and thickens the soup. If using the 6-ounce cans, you can freeze the rest of the tomato paste by the tablespoonful on a parchment paper line plate and then store in a freezer bag so the rest of the tomato paste doesn't go to waste. Or these tubes of tomato paste are great for preventing food waste. Pricier per ounce, but a good choice if you always end up throwing the rest of the canned tomato paste away.)
  • 1 15-oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer great northern white beans)
  • 4 cups of your favorite vegetable broth. I LOVE using Better than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base for vegan soups. The "no chicken" base is also great for vegetarian soups. Simply add 4 teaspoons of the bouillon paste + 4 cups water to the soup and stir. Add additional paste a tiny bit at a time if you need more flavor or salt.
  • 3-4 cups kale leaves, with the big ribs/stems removed. This is about ½ lb of kale, or a small bunch of kale. To save time, prep the kale while the soup is cooking.
  • 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice (this REALLY brightens up the flavor of the soup. Start with a tablespoon and stir in more to taste if you feel like it needs more).
  • Optional: crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. A small pinch is enough if you don't want spice, but I sometimes add as much as ½ teaspoon when I really want to warm up.
  • Optional: salt, to taste, up to about 1 teaspoon. Instead of salt, I prefer to stir in additional bouillon paste which adds flavor and salt.
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese for serving (obviously this makes the soup not vegan)
Ingredients to make kale and white bean soup

More soup recipes to try: Sweet Potato Leek Soup

Equipment

  • Large soup pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle and bowls for serving

More bean soup recipes to try: Black Bean and Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes

Instructions

Prep all the veggies: Peel and dice onion and carrot. Mince garlic. Dice celery, trimming off the leaves and discarding them.

Diced carrots, celery, onion, and garlic on a cutting board.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook stirring regularly until beginning to turn golden, about 7-10 minutes. Do not let it burn.

2 pictures showing how to sauté diced onions

Add the carrot and celery and cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until celery is beginning to soften.

2 pictures showing how to sauté carrots and celery

Add the minced garlic, rosemary, coriander, and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring consistently.

2 pictures showing how to add seasonings and tomato paste to soup

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the white beans and broth. Stir to scrape everything off the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, until the carrots are soft enough for your liking.

White beans and broth added to soup pot

While the soup is cooking, wash and prep the kale: Tear the leafy parts off the ribs and rip or chop it into bite-sized pieces.

Kale leaves removed from the ribs and cut into bite-size pieces

Once the carrots have softened, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the kale leaves. Stir to submerge kale and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the kale is tender and cooked to your liking. Taste and adjust lemon juice and salt as needed. Serve hot, sprinkling with Parmesan if you want.

2 pictures showing how to add kale to soup

More delicious vegan soups to try: Turnip Potato Pureed Soup

Storing leftovers

Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing this soup because the texture of the beans and veggies changes upon freezing. 

More soup recipes to try: Pureed Parsnip Soup with Bacon

Recipe variations

  • Use frozen kale instead of fresh for convenience. Just make sure the hard ribs/stems are removed from the type of frozen kale you buy. If it still has the ribs in it, it's not as nice for the soup and I recommend using fresh kale.
  • Swiss chard is also a great option for this soup. You can even cut off the ribs and dice them in place of celery. Once you add the swiss chard leaves to the broth, cook for only 1-2 minutes, since swiss chard is softer than kale.
  • Use fresh baby spinach instead of kale. If using spinach, you'll need to stir the spinach in and immediately turn off the heat, since the spinach wilts quickly. I really prefer the nice chew of the kale instead of spinach.
  • Stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream for a touch of creaminess (or cashew cream, if you want to keep it vegan).
  • Before adding the kale, use an immersion blender to puree the soup just for a few quick bursts. This will leave some of the beans and veggies intact for texture, but will puree the soup just a little bit for thickness.
  • Stir in fresh herbs, such as finely diced parsley or cilantro as soon as the soup is done cooking. Or add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the broth as the soup cooks.
  • Stir in a bay leaf or two with the broth. Remove it before serving.
  • If you have a piece of Parmesan rind, add it to the broth as the soup is cooking. It will add some rich savory flavor (but obviously the soup won't be vegan anymore).
  • Add more veggies or potatoes: dice Yukon gold potatoes or parsnips and add them along with the broth.
Bowl of kale and white bean soup

More soups using greens: Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan kale soup)

What to serve with white bean kale soup

For lunch, I typically eat a large bowl of this soup with whole wheat garlic bread, warm dinner rolls, or crusty bread for dipping.

For dinner, we have a small bowl of soup and then follow with a smaller portion of dinner. Our favorites to pair with soup are mushroom melt sandwiches (if we're trying to keep it meatless), or chicken and broccoli casserole or baked perch.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Bowl of kale and white bean soup
Print Recipe
4.42 from 12 votes

White Bean and Kale Soup

This White Bean Kale Soup is hearty, warming, delicious, and PACKED with nutritious ingredients. Be sure to read the notes below the recipe for lots of recipe variations and ideas for what to add to this soup!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion - diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery - diced
  • 1 large carrot - diced
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary - or your favorite dried herbs
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 15 oz canned white beans - drained and rinsed (such as great northern beans)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth - I love using 4 teaspoons Better than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base + 4 cups water
  • 3-4 cups fresh kale leaves - ribs remove and torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces (hint: prep the kale while the soup is cooking to save time)
  • 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice - to taste, start with 1 tablespoon
  • optional: salt - to taste, or stir in additional Better than Bouillon paste
  • optional: pinch of red pepper flakes

Special equipment

  • Large soup pot
  • Wooden spoon

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook stirring regularly until beginning to turn golden brown, about 7-10 minutes. Do not let it burn.
  • Add the carrot and celery and cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until celery is beginning to soften.
  • Add the minced garlic, rosemary, coriander, and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring consistently.
    2 pictures showing how to add seasonings and tomato paste to soup
  • Add the white beans and broth. Stir to scrape everything off the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, until the carrots are soft enough for your liking.
  • While the soup is cooking, wash and prep the kale: Tear the leafy parts off the ribs and rip or chop it into bite-sized pieces.
    Kale leaves removed from the ribs and cut into bite-size pieces
  • Once the carrots have softened, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the kale leaves. Stir to submerge kale and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the kale is tender and cooked to your liking. Taste and adjust lemon juice and salt as needed.
    Serve hot, or allow to cool to room temperature and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
    2 pictures showing how to add kale to soup

Notes

Recipe variations to try:
  • Stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream or cashew cream for a creamy soup.
  • Another option to make a creamier soup, use an immersion blender to puree the soup just for a few quick bursts before adding the kale. This will leave some of the beans and veggies intact for texture, but will puree the soup just a little bit for thickness.
  • Stir in fresh herbs, such as finely diced parsley or cilantro as soon as the soup is done cooking. Or add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the broth as the soup cooks.
  • Stir in a couple of bay leaves.
  • If you have a piece of Parmesan rind, add it to the broth as the soup is cooking. It will add some rich savory flavor (but obviously the soup won't be vegan anymore). Or serve with freshly grated Parmesan.
  • Add more veggies or potatoes: dice Yukon gold potatoes or parsnips and add them along with the broth.
  • If using fresh baby spinach or swiss chard leaves, reduce cook time after adding the greens.

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal (12%) | Carbohydrates: 40g (13%) | Protein: 9g (18%) | Fat: 6g (9%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (5%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1026mg (43%) | Potassium: 970mg (28%) | Fiber: 9g (36%) | Sugar: 6g (7%) | Vitamin A: 1318IU (26%) | Vitamin C: 80mg (97%) | Calcium: 202mg (20%) | Iron: 5mg (28%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

Comments or questions about the recipe?
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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

Wednesday 20th of May 2015

That baby is so tiny!! Aren't you nice to save it!

You could save me by giving me a bowl of this gorgeous soup. :)

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