Rustic Red Kale and White Bean Soup

by on February 4, 2007
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On Tuesdays, our local natural foods co-op offers members 10% off on produce; the new supply arrives on Wednesday, and it’s the produce department’s way of clearing the shelves. I just happened to be shopping there last Tuesday, scouring the depleted produce area for anything that still looked fresh, when I came upon something I couldn’t identify. It had flat, oak-shaped leaves and a bright purple center stem and looked like a combination of Swiss chard and dandelion greens. Of course, I immediately put it into my cart—there’s nothing so tempting to me as a New Vegetable.

red kale

I was stumped and had to track down someone from the produce department, who identified this mystery green as red kale. I would have never guessed it was a member of the kale family because it was neither bumpy like lacinato kale nor curly like regular kale. Instead, its purple and green leaves seemed to have other tiny leaves sprouting out of them!

When I got it home and tasted a little bit of it raw, I found that it is less bitter than regular kale and could possibly be eaten in a salad. But because the center veins and stems are very fibrous and tough, I knew I wanted to cook it, so I made it the centerpiece of this light and delicious, Italian-style vegetable soup. I can’t say that it made the soup taste any different than regular kale, but I, at least, knew it was there.

Rustic Red Kale and White Bean Soup


Just wanted to let you know that the photo that you readers chose, Kiwano, Banana, and Pineapple Sorbet, received two awards in the Does My Blog Look Good in This? competition! Thank you all for helping me to pick the right photo to enter.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elaine in CT November 12, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Thanks for posting this recipe. I just made a batch of this soup today and it was delicious! I had been growing some greens in my garden and wasn't sure exactly what they were as the seed packet decribed them as "gourmet greens". After searching the web, I found your site and realized I had been growing the Red Kale that's featured in this recipe. I'm going to try some of your other recipes too. I really enjoy your website.


2 Bill November 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I am no total vegan, but I found your recipe to be the kind I wanted with no chicken broth and/or sausage. I will add a few carrots for more flavor and nutrition however. This will be dinner tonight. I have some regular ol' green kale from the farmer's market! YUM!


3 Kellie April 25, 2010 at 8:59 am

Just stumbled upon your blog and, after an hour of perusing, I’m headed to the co-op with several new recipes in hand! Love it.


4 Dana February 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Another perfect night (cold, wet and just raw out there) for soup and another perfect recipe from our favorite Vegan Chef! Thank you Susan. We used regular green Kale and it was just fantastic and so easy. I think we’ll double the recipe next time so we’ll have more leftovers. Thank YOU!!


5 Connie Fletcher May 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

This is a wonderful recipe!!! I, also added a carrot cut into a fine dice and a russet potato diced fine as well, for some added texture. It came out absolutely delicious………thanks for a great recipe….


6 Angie July 15, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Made today with some modifications to use what I had on hand. Did not use celery but added a chopped sweet potato and handful of chopped baby carrots. Used about five cups of green kale and teaspoon of dried parsley. Used extra red pepper spice. Really great. Will make again.


7 alisa March 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Loved this soup!! Added diced potatoes and carrots and frozen cubes of leftover seasoned collard juice. You have just the right seasonings. So happy to have another way to use kale. You’re the best, thanks for all you do to make me look like a great cook 🙂


8 Esther J March 22, 2014 at 7:15 pm

This is such a great, simple soup–especially if you love tomato-y, brothy ones like I do. I added 4 or 5 chopped new potatoes and a sliced up carrot to add a little “backbone”, but I can imagine enjoying it without either of these additions. And the water (instead of stock or bouillon cubes) really worked for me here; it let the flavors of the tomatoes, basil, and other herbs shine through.

Thanks, Susan!


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