White Bean and Kale Soup

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This one pot white bean and kale soup is loaded with nutritious ingredients. This vegetarian soup is hearty and packed with plant-based protein (quinoa & white beans), but you can add in some shredded, cooked chicken if desired.

Nothing compares to a big crusty loaf of bread as an accompaniment for this soup! If you’d also like a salad on the side, this Olive Garden Salad would pair nicely.

 

Overhead image of the white bean and kale soup with a spoon in it

White Bean and Kale Soup

This nutritious and hearty soup is the perfect recipe for a chilly winter night. It’s total comfort food, but won’t leave you feeling heavy and sluggish thanks to all the veggies and healthful ingredients. While it’s technically a vegetarian soup, you won’t miss the meat! Quinoa and white beans are loaded with protein which will help this soup be even more satiating.

While there’s a bit of prep up front with dicing the veggies, this white bean and kale soup comes together relatively quickly and is fairly hands-off throughout the cooking process. As long as you stir it a few times throughout, you’ll be good to go!

Below I’m sharing a few tips and ingredient notes along with some variation ideas.

Process shots-- images of the veggies being sautéed, seasonings being added, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes being added and everything being cooked

Veggie notes

  • Finely dice the veggies: You don’t want any chunks of uncooked carrot, onion, celery, or garlic, so take your time to be certain the veggies are finely and evenly diced.
  • Take time developing the flavor base. The mirepoix (carrot, onion, & celery), tomato paste, and seasonings really set up this white bean and kale soup to have a rich flavor; take your time sautéing and getting these veggies tender.
  • Short-cut: Many grocery stores sell pre-chopped mirepoix in the produce section. Use 3 cups of these already-chopped veggies in place of  your own celery, onions, and carrots.

Tomatoes

  • Good tomatoes make all the difference in this white bean and kale soup. I highly recommend San Marzano® or Muir Glen® fire-roasted crushed and diced tomatoes in this recipe.
    • Why fire-roasted tomatoes? When tomatoes are charred over a flame before being crushed (or diced) and canned, the contact with that flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct smoky flavor. It’s a great way to get more flavor without any extra work.
  • Lower-quality canned tomatoes tend to be a bit more acidic; so if needed, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to counteract that.

Process shots--images of the quinoa, bay leaves, broth, beans, and kale being added and cooked over the stove top

Variations

  • Soup thickness: as the quinoa cooks through, it continues to expand and thicken the soup. As written, this is a very thick soup (stew-like), but feel free to add some additional broth if desired.
  • Additional protein: The quinoa and beans add a lot of protein, but if you’d like more, stir in some shredded rotisserie chicken near the end of cooking to warm it through.
  • Use spinach instead of kale: if you aren’t a fan of kale, add some baby spinach in instead. Add it in off the heat and gently stir; the residual heat will wilt it quickly.
  • Use chicken broth: if you aren’t a vegetarian, chicken broth (or stock) can be used in place of the vegetable broth.
  • Swap out the beans: if you don’t love white beans, use kidney beans or red beans instead.

Tips

  • Season as you go. Taste often and season the soup as you go. At the end of making this soup, be sure to taste again before serving and adjust the salt and pepper. 
  • Garnish: Freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese makes the perfect finishing touch to this white bean and kale soup.

QUICK TIP

Rinse the quinoa. If the quinoa isn’t already rinsed (it will say on the package, if it is), add it to a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. This removes the saponin coating which can cause quinoa to taste bitter. (Saponins are bitter compounds that are naturally present in quinoa and help protect the plant from pests. Some people are sensitive to saponins, and rinsing well helps remove them from the grain.)

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White Bean and Kale Soup

5 from 3 votes
This one pot white bean and kale soup is loaded with nutritious ingredients. This vegetarian soup is hearty and packed with plant-based protein (quinoa & white beans), but you can add in some shredded, cooked chicken if desired.
Print Recipe

White Bean and Kale Soup

5 from 3 votes
This one pot white bean and kale soup is loaded with nutritious ingredients. This vegetarian soup is hearty and packed with plant-based protein (quinoa & white beans), but you can add in some shredded, cooked chicken if desired.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword White Bean and Kale Soup
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 222kcal
Cost $5.35

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup EACH: diced carrots, diced onion, diced celery (~2 large carrots, 3 celery stalks, and 1 small onion)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic (~4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried oregano, dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: dried crushed rosemary, dried thyme, pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces EACH) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I love San Marzano or Muir Glen)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock or broth (can use chicken broth if not vegetarian)
  • 3/4 cup white quinoa, (See Note 1)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white cannellini or Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups (loosely packed) coarsely chopped kale
  • Finishing touches: 1 more tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

  • VEGGIES: Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a large cast iron pot. Heat to medium and once oil is hot, add the 1 cup diced carrots, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced onion, and heaping 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Add a tiny pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until veggies are tender, about 7-9 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and seasonings (dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, dried rosemary, dried thyme, pepper, Italian seasoning, and sea salt.) Cook and stir until fragrant, about another 30 seconds.
  • SIMMER: Add both cans of undrained, fire-roasted diced tomatoes and stir for 1 minute still over medium heat. Add in the 2 bay leaves and rinsed quinoa. Stir and add in the 6 cups vegetable stock. Increase heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. (Soup should be maintaining a simmer, but not boiling). Stir occasionally.
  • FINISHING: After 15 minutes, add in the 1 can of drained and rinsed white beans and kale. Stir and cook for 3-4 more minutes or until quinoa has fully "popped" and kale is softened. Finish the soup with 1 more tablespoon olive oil and, if desired, 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve.
  • SERVE: Garnish bowls of soup with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  • STORAGE: Soup will continue to thicken as the quinoa expands. We still think it tastes great, but it does get thicker and thicker as it stands. This soup is best eaten within 2-3 days. It does not freeze well; the soup continues to absorb liquid and gets overly bloated.
  • SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Follow step one and then transfer everything from that pot to a 6 quart crockpot. Add in the diced tomatoes, stock, rinsed quinoa, drained and rinsed white beans, and bay leaves. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 3-5 hours or until quinoa has popped and veggies are tender. Stir in kale, olive oil, and lemon juice. Remove bay leaves. Adjust salt and pepper; serve in bowls garnished with fresh parsley and topped with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: If the quinoa isn't already rinsed (it will say on the package, if it is), add it to a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. This removes the saponin coating which can cause quinoa to taste bitter.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6servings | Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 7.5g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1049.4mg | Fiber: 8.4g | Sugar: 9.2g

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30 Comments

  1. Another trifecta! My three favorite ingredients, quinoa, kale and white beans! Can’t wait to try it By the way the sweet potato, chicken and quinoa soup was awesome! I have made that recipe several times!

    1. Yay!! So glad to hear it Nancy! I hope you love this soup and glad you’ve liked the other one 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  2. Love this one! Cannellini beans are my favorite staple. Would it be OK to set this up in the morning before work, and leave on low for 8 hours instead of high for 3-4?

    1. Hi Aida! I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure, the only thing is the longer quinoa is in the slow cooker, the more it seems to absorb the liquid and becomes less soup like. Maybe you could cook everything on low and then add cooked quinoa later? Sorry to not be of more help!

      1. Chelsea, just wanted to get back to you about this since you are always so kind to give recipe pointers… I did this soup – minus the quinoa – on low for about 8.5 hours. I then made some couscous on the side after I returned from work, and combined. It tasted great. Perfect for a gloomy Tuesday. 🙂 Thanks a bunch!

  3. So it is frigid out today, and I could use a heaping bowl of this delicious-looking soup! Love that it is so easy to throw together, too!

  4. It got cold here so quickly this week! Like overnight I was suddenly able to see my breathe outside AND it snowed (sort of, more like slush but you get the idea). I am all about soup this season, and I would dive into a bowl of this hearty soup in seconds! Love this recipe, Chelsea! Cold weather comfort at its finest. 🙂

  5. Soup is pretty much my favorite thing in the world. I could live off of soup and usually do in some way or another by making a massive batch of it to eat throughout the week. This recipe has been added to next week’s menu!

  6. YUM! This sounds SO delicious! I just purchased some Kale and Quinoa soup at Trader Joe’s, but I would love to use this recipe to make my own!!

  7. Hey there Chelsea – love the looks of this recipe and can’t wait to try it. The photo is beautiful! I printed it out and its going on my shopping list for today! Thanks for sharing! 🙂 I’ll stop back by and let you know how it went.

  8. 5 stars
    Yummy soup!! Mine didn’t look quite the same as the picture, the broth is much less clear.

    If anyone is interested, here are the nutrition facts from calorie counter’s recipe analysis (based on 6 servings) – I’m assuming 2 cans meant 2, 15.5 oz cans. That’s the only thing that I was a tad confused about in the recipe, but I couldn’t find smaller cans than 15.5 oz so I’m guessing that’s what she meant. The broth seems to be total ounces, which is why I got stuck on how many ounces of beans. 🙂

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 385 g
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 620
    Calories from Fat 35
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 3.9g 6%
    Saturated Fat 0.7g 3%
    Trans Fat 0.0g
    Cholesterol 1mg 0%
    Sodium 534mg 22%
    Potassium 2539mg 73%
    Total Carbohydrates 107.6g 36%
    Dietary Fiber 38.9g 156%
    Sugars 4.8g
    Protein 41.9g
    Vitamin A 106% • Vitamin C 84%
    Calcium 28% • Iron 78%
    Nutrition Grade A
    * Based on a 2000 calorie diet
    Nutritional Analysis
    Good points
    Very low in saturated fat
    Very low in cholesterol
    Low in sugar
    Very high in dietary fiber
    High in iron
    High in manganese
    High in magnesium
    Very high in phosphorus
    High in potassium
    High in vitamin A
    High in vitamin C

  9. 5 stars
    This is the first recipe of your’s that I made, Chelsea, and it’s the one that inspired my current love of healthy cooking. I had never even tried quinoa or kale before making this recipe, nor had I made a soup (or really anything) from scratch. My family was skeptical based on the ingredients (particularly the kale) the first time I made it, so despite the fact that it probably wasn’t the healthiest choice, I served it in bread bowls. It was absolutely phenomenal and served the three of us for 2 days (although it didn’t make it past lunch the second day)! My dad actually commented that he liked it as much (if not more) on the second day after the quinoa had absorbed more of the broth and it had become more stew-y. We make this recipe constantly for guests now and love how easy it is. Thank you for inspiring my obsession with healthy recipes!

    1. This comment makes my day! It really makes me so happy to hear this, so thank you so very much for sharing! I’m so, so happy this was a hit and has continued to be enjoyed. Thank you so much for the comment Cait!

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