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 27 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. Delicious! When it starts getting chilly outside – this is on the stove simmering away! We do add a clove of minced garlic ( because we love garlic:) to the onions and serve the soup with homemade foccacia- yum!5 stars

  2. This has become a go to in my house. My kids love it, and I’ve taken to sautéing some small cut andouille before the onion to up the protein content (my husband is on a high protein diet, so we add meat wherever we can XD).5 stars

    1. Hi Phyl, YES. That would be excellent. It reminds me of Italian Wedding Soup. In that recipe, the meatballs go in uncooked and they cook in 5 to 10 minutes in the broth (165 degrees on an internal thermometer). Great idea. We have an excellent turkey meatball recipe on the site if you’re interested: https://www.culinaryhill.com/turkey-meatballs/

      Thank you so much! -Meggan

  3. My sweet dear friend brought me this soup while I was sick with a bad flu. She added lemongrass and chicken to the recipe, and it was superb! Thankful for people who share such healing recipes! Blessings to you all.5 stars

  4. Wow! So simple and so yummy. We used 1 part garlic bouillon to 3 parts chicken bouillon for the broth. Will DEFINITELY be making this again. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  5. Hi Erin! Can I use frozen kale?? If so, how much and would you alter liquid ingredients to account for liquid content in frozen kale or would you defrost and squeeze excess liquid out of kale first?? Also, I’d like to add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. How much of each would you recommend? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Rachel, sure! Sounds like a great idea. One 10-ounce package of frozen kale is about 1 1/2 cups fresh, so use at least one package. What’s lovely with this soup is you can season to taste, I would start with one clove of garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and go from there. I hope you enjoy this! – Meggan

  6. This recipe looks fantastic – I can’t wait to try! Just wondering, you have 11.6g fat listed in the nutritional value. Where does the fat come from?

    1. Hi Eden, our nutrition label was a little off, I’m sorry about that. I ran it again, and now it’s saying 7g fat. It comes from the olive oil. You could omit that if you wanted to cook the onions in nonstick spray or in a little broth or water. I think it would work. I hope this helps! Sorry about that error. Thanks for letting me know. -Meggan

  7. My stepmother use to make this when I was in highschool and I gobbled it up every time. I would like to add that she also threw broccoli rabbi in with the kale too. Delicious!5 stars

  8. So quick and easy. I’m not a fan of kale, but I will eat in this soup.
    I also added garlic and crushed red pepper flakes as some commenters suggested. I recommend.
    I added two soft boiled eggs to my leftovers for extra protein. Went great with the soup.5 stars

  9. This is so delicious! I added garlic and red pepper flakes! I made it again and substituted one cup of water with coconut milk… yum yum yum!!!!5 stars

  10. This looks like a great soup recipe! I’m concerned about the amount of sodium. If I were to use low sodium stock, rinsed the canned beans and omitted seasoning with salt would it taste totally bland?

    1. Hi Joanne, I have updated the recipe and nutrition label to reflect low-sodium chicken broth and canned beans-no salt added. Those two changes reduced the sodium significantly. I think you may want to still add some salt, but blandness is really a personal preference. If you are used to watching sodium in your diet and don’t regularly pile on the salt, you might be perfectly happy with the soup as-is. Another thing you could do is try to boost the flavor with other non-salt ingredients. You could stir in some garlic while you sauté the onion, for example. Or add a bay leaf at the same time you add the chicken broth (maybe simmer it 30 minutes total to give the bay leaf time to work its magic). Or add other spices you like, or some red chili flakes if you like spicy food. There are a lot of ways you could add flavor without salt. I bet fresh lemon juice would taste good too. If you need more ideas just let me know! And take a look at the new nutrition label if you get a chance so you can see how the sodium has changed. Thank you! -Meggan

  11. Awesome recipe! Reminds me of my mom’s Italian cooking. I used vegetable broth and it was delicious. I smushed more beans in the pot before I served the soup and that gave it a thicker texture. Delicious! Thank you for sharing.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Nancy! A reminder of mom’s cooking is the best compliment you can give!! :) -Meggan

  12. Just made it stove top method. Delicious. I added a touch of garlic, just because we like garlic.
    Nice easy recipe. thanks.

    1. Hi Brian, I don’t think it would be “better” in a slow cooker, but it would be just fine.
      Here are the instructions:
      1. Combine the olive oil, onions, mashed white beans, whole white beans, broth, water, salt, and pepper in your slow cooker and stir.
      2. Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
      3. During the last 20 minutes of cook time, stir in the kale and cook until tender.
      Thank you! -Meggan

  13. Love, Love, Love this soup. made it the other night for a quick meal with garlic bread. It was so quick and so easy and SO Delicious!! Thank you for the recipe. Making it again today.5 stars

  14. This is my go-to kale soup recipe! I sometimes add chopped up chicken sausage/meatballs. Such a simple and flavorful recipe! Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Amy! 4 days in the fridge. Standard CDC guidelines for leftovers. If you need anything else, just let me know!

  15. I just made my first batch of this and this soup is hearty, healthy & tasty! A few variations I made, mostly from everyone’s comments – I added 2 cloves of garlic, grated parmesan + pecorino, red pepper flakes, used chicken broth instead of vegetable and for the one can of mashed beans, I kept the bean juice for extra flavor in the broth. I will definitely make this again – next time, I may add sausage. Thanks for the great recipe!5 stars

    1. I need to add sausage next time!! That sounds perfect Erin. Thank you so much. And everything else you said – TWO CHEESES, awesome. You’re so my kind of girl. :) My stomach is literally growling at your ideas.

  16. Yum! This was fabulous! I added chopped garlic, leeks, carrots, and a parmesan rind from my freezer. Great recipe – thank you!

  17. I made this as stated except I aded red pepper flakes for a little kick. Next time I would chop kale a little smaller. But it was fabulous! Will definitely make again. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. I added two chopped carrots and two chopped celery stalks in with the onion,  a can crushed tomatoes, and some cumin, celery seed, red pepper flakes, and oregano to the salt and paper. It was fantastic!  Mashing one can of beans and leaving the others whole was a great tip I’ll be using again and again .  Thanks for sharing there recipe. 5 stars

    1. Hi Sam, yes absolutely of course! Substitute any beans that you want. :) Thanks for your question and take care!

  19. Hi! I found this recipe on Pinterest while trying to come up with my own recipe. Mashing up another can of beans is such a good idea. 5 stars

  20. I was informed yesterday that my vegan son and girlfriend are coming for a meal today so I made this along with a vegan wholegrain loaf. After I had commenced preparation, I was informed their plans had changed and will come next week. (grrr kids!) I had a bowl myself and it is delicious! I know what I will be cooking next week!

    1. Yay, thank you so much Sally! At least you enjoyed it too, although how frustrating that you went through so much trouble only to have the plans change. Thank you for leaving a comment, it means a lot! :)

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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. :)

  26. 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.