This homemade White Bean and Kale Soup recipe is affordable, easy, and the epitome of comfort food no matter what season you serve it. My simple soup recipe proves that you can coax loads of flavor out of 5 ingredients in just 30 minutes.

White bean and kale soup in a bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. White Bean and Kale Soup Recipe

Recipe ingredients

White bean and kale soup ingredients.

Ingredient notes

  • Cannellini beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of black beans.You’ll mash half of the beans to thicken the soup and stir in the other half whole.
  • Chicken broth: Chicken broth adds the best flavor to this soup. Substitute vegetable broth to make the soup vegetarian or vegan.
  • Kale: Any hearty, leafy dark green like escarole or chard will do. Just be sure to remove the thick stems and tear into 1-inch pieces for spoon-sized bites that wilt down wonderfully.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Onions cooking in a saucepan.
  1. Meanwhile, mash one can of beans in a small bowl. Add mashed beans, broth, and water to saucepan. Bring to a boil.
White Bean soup in a saucepan.
  1. Stir in the remaining whole beans and the kale. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, until the kale is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper).
White bean and kale soup in a saucepan.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 4 hearty servings, 2 cups each.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: For company, this soup is best served the day it is prepared because the beans tend to break down over time.
  • Freezing: Cool within 2 hours, then portion, label, date, then freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Flavor boosters: I love the light, clean flavor of this soup and I think it is delicious as written. But if you are seeking more flavor, try a clove of garlic (minced), a bay leaf, a leftover Parmesan rind, or some leftover chicken.
  • Garnishes: Top with croutons, pieces of toasted baguette, or grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Slow Cooker: Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir. Cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. During the last 20 minutes of cook time, stir in the kale and cook until tender. Enjoy warm, ladled into bowls straight from the slow cooker.
  • Soup and sandwich: White bean and kale soup is delicious paired with my Ultimate veggie wrap, turkey roll-ups, or tuna salad on toast.

More brilliant bean recipes

White bean and kale soup in a bowl.

White Bean and Kale Soup

This homemade White Bean and Kale Soup recipe is affordable, easy, and the epitome of comfort food no matter what season you serve it. My simple soup recipe proves that you can coax loads of flavor out of 5 ingredients in just 30 minutes.
5 from 34 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings (2 cups each)
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 198

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed (see note 1)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (see note 2)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups kale stems removed and torn into 1” pieces (see note 3)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mash one can of beans in a small bowl. Add mashed beans, broth, and water to saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in remaining beans (left whole) and kale. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, until kale is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper).

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Cannellini beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of black beans.You’ll mash half of the beans to thicken the soup and stir in the other half whole.
  2. Chicken broth: Chicken broth adds the best flavor to this soup. Substitute vegetable broth to make the soup vegetarian or vegan.
  3. Kale: Any hearty, leafy dark green like escarole or chard will do. Just be sure to remove the thick stems and tear into 1-inch pieces for spoon-sized bites that wilt down wonderfully.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 4 hearty servings, 2 cups each.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Make ahead: For company, this soup is best served the day it is prepared because the beans tend to break down over time.
  7. Freezing: Cool within 2 hours, then portion, label, date, then freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  8. Flavor boosters: I love the light, clean flavor of this soup and I think it is delicious as written. But if you are seeking more flavor, try a clove of garlic (minced), a bay leaf, a leftover Parmesan rind, or some leftover chicken.
  9. Garnishes: Top with croutons, pieces of toasted baguette, or grated Parmesan cheese.
  10. Slow Cooker: Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir. Cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. During the last 20 minutes of cook time, stir in the kale and cook until tender. Enjoy warm, ladled into bowls straight from the slow cooker.
  11. Soup and sandwich: White bean and kale soup is delicious paired with my Ultimate veggie wrap, turkey roll-ups, or tuna salad on toast.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cupsCalories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 10gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1169mgPotassium: 393mgFiber: 7gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 3352IUVitamin C: 59mgCalcium: 155mgIron: 4mg
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Comments

  1. I’ve been using this recipe for over a year, but when I look at it today, I remember there being a lot more kale. Has the recipe been updated? I usually buy a 1 pound bag of kale and use the whole thing – I’m guessing this is way more then two cups. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Courtney, YES. The recipe has for sure been updated. It used to be one pound of kale, but I feel like when I wrote that, I was confusing weight and volume. I’ve been making this a lot lately and I feel like 2 cups is more than adequate for the amount of kale, and that a pound is way too much. I guess I’m curious what you think. Do you prefer it with one pound? I’ll make a note to say the recipe has been updated. Sorry for the confusion!!! Thanks for your comment.

    1. That sounds AMAZING Laura! Great idea. I cannot wait to try that, I may even post the recipe. Credit to you of course! :D

    1. Yes, absolutely! It’s probably better that way. I’m going to give it a try myself – great suggestion!

  2. Just found your blog and am not only intrigued by your food but your history as well. I live in So Cal and was raised in mid Wisconsin. My dietary preferences are light years different from what I was raised eating and am so grateful for the food choices and healthy restaurants that are seemingly on every corner here in San Diego. Keep up the good work. 

    1. Another Wisconsin transplant! It always so fun to meet someone in SoCal who is from Wisconsin. My recipes on this blog are starting to shift more towards the food I grew up with, but I do really appreciate the diverse food available in LA. The culture around food is SO different than the way it is in the Midwest as I’m sure you know. The stereotypes aren’t all that far off sometimes, with regards to both places! People joke that when they hear “Wisconsin” the just think of brats and cheese and, well, that’s about right. :) So glad you stopped by the blog, thank you so much! And I hope you enjoy the soup if you try it. It’s one of my favorites. It doesn’t look like much when you read the recipe, maybe, but the flavors are so clean and light. I just love it!

  3. It doesn’t seem to be there now.  It must have been some kind of glitch.  It was a big colored box that said something like “see what we are sharing,” and when I clicked on it, it took me to your Pinterest boards where I followed you and returned and the box was still there blocking the recipe on the right, so you couldn’t see it and you couldn’t move past it.  Thanks for your response.  At least you are paying attention, unlike some others who never respond.  

    1. I think I know what it was, so I disabled that on my site. So no one will see it ever again! Obviously I don’t want you to have a bad experience if I can possibly help it. :) Thanks for getting back to me and letting me know the issue is resolved.

  4. Your “See what we’re sharing” banner is blocking much of the recipes.  After following you on Pinterest, I still cannot get rid of it.  You should have some way to turn it off if you are ot interested.

    1. Hey there, I’m so sorry about that! Could you please tell me more about this? Is it an ad? What is it a box for following me on Pinterest? I will deactivate it if that’s the case (that’s what it sounds like). I am really sorry about that.

    1. Hi Tiffany, I’m sure you could substitute spinach for the kale. I think it would probably cook a lot faster though, possibly in as little as 5 minutes. I haven’t tested it, but that’s what comes to mind when I think about it. So I’d definitely go for it, but just plan on it being done faster!

  5. I love making soups in the winter, especially because they are so easy and so comforting. I also love that I can get a bunch of veggies and protein in a healthy meal! It’s a win all around!
    5 stars

    1. Well said, Luci! I like this soup because it has beans but it’s not overly beany, either. And I’m always looking for more ways to eat kale. :)

  6. i often make this. it’s so healthy. i am having some kale soup tonight. i think it’s a necessity in between holiday cookies!5 stars

    1. I completely agree with you. Even as I sit here and eat a chocolate bar, my gut is telling me to eat some beans and kale. It’s a bowl of all good stuffing, none of the bad. Sometimes I just need a little dietary recovery.