This delicious creamy kale soup recipe is not only healthy, but it’s easy to make as well. The combination of kale and white beans is very common in Italian cooking, often associated with the Tuscan region of Italy.
This soup is perfect for family dinners, or even as a side dish to a larger meal.
Preparing this soup takes very little time, and most of the cooking is left unattended. You can also use a pressure cooker which I explain later on.
Creamy kale soup recipe
I love making soups that use healthy greens. I first fell in love with kale soup when my husband made it while I was awfully sick many years ago. I’ve since modified his version of the Italian kale and potato soup recipe by changing out the potatoes for the cannellini beans and a few other ingredient changes as well.
For this recipe, I use organic canned beans which saves me a lot of time vs. using dried beans. In order to make the soup creamy, all you need to do is blend up half of the beans using a handheld potato masher or a handheld immersion blender.
This is not a blended soup like my blended chickpea soup recipe. Instead we only blend a portion of the beans, leaving some intact.
The soup makes about 6 servings and takes 20 minutes to prep and approximately an hour to cook, although you can adjust times accordingly.
About the kale and white beans
Let’s take a moment and talk about the kale and cannellini beans.
What type of kale to use?
There are many types of kale that can be used. For this recipe, I’m not picky. Here are some common varieties you may find at the grocery store.
- Tuscan kale
- Lacinato kale
- Red Russian kale
- Curly kale
Any of the above will taste great in this soup, but I do recommend that you make sure it’s organic kale. You can buy full leaf kale and chop the leaves up yourself (omit the stems), or you can buy bags of chopped kale which will also help save prep-time.
Using cannellini beans for a creamy texture
For the creamy consistency, I use cannellini beans which are a type of white bean. Cannellini beans are great for mashing; they are large and when mashed, they offer a creamy texture.
In fact, I think they get creamier the longer they cook, and will even make leftovers taste better. I use this same method in my Italian cannellini bean soup recipe.
A 6 Quart stainless steel pot will be fine for this recipe.
These come in handy when you want to blend up some beans or other ingredients. It gives you more control over how much to blend than a standard blender.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for making this delicious and creamy soup. Specific measurements are provided in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Olive oil. Use extra virgin.
Chopped onions. I use regular yellow onions.
Cannellini beans. Use canned.
Chopped carrots. You can also just slice them. Just remember the thicker they are the longer they take to soften.
Chopped celery. Same as the carrots – slice or dice.
Chopped garlic. This recipe calls for a good handful of garlic. So use less if you don’t want it too potent.
Chicken broth. You can also use vegetable broth.
Chopped kale. Any variety. Tuscan kale will provide a slightly sweeter taste.
Grated Romano cheese. You can also use Parmesan cheese.
Salt and black pepper. Optional.
Step by step instructions
Here is how you make this creamy kale soup recipe. You can print out the instructions using the recipe card below.
Step 1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Step 2. Add the chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes.
Step 3. Drain the cannellini beans (no need to rinse them), and add to the onions. Using a potato masher, immersion blender or any other method, mash or blend half (or more) of the cannellini beans.
Step 4. Add the chopped carrots, celery, and garlic and saute for 10 minutes, stirring periodically.
Step 5. Pour in the broth and add the chopped kale. Stir to make sure nothing is sticking on the bottom of the pan and cook over low-medium heat for 60 minutes.
PRO TIP: I use a lid to slightly cover the soup. I want this soup to cook down.
Step 6. Test the soup to make sure the beans have fully softened. If ready, serve in soup bowls and top with the grated cheese, salt and pepper, and optional red pepper flakes.
Recipe substitutions & variations
One thing about these types of Italian soup recipes, is that you can be as flexible as you want. Use what you have on hand and don’t worry about exact measurements. Here are some ideas for changing things up a bit.
- Add cooked sausage to the soup for a sausage and kale soup.
- If you don’t have cannellini beans, try other types of white beans such as great northern beans, or navy beans.
- To make this a heartier soup, add in some chopped potatoes when you pour in the broth. Mash some of the potatoes to make the soup even creamier.
- Instead of using chicken broth (my preference), use vegetable stock, bone broth, or just use water, or a combination of water and broth.
Preparation and storage tips
Here are some tips for making this soup in advance and how to properly store your creamy white bean soup for long term storage.
Can you make this soup in advance?
Yes, you can make this creamy kale soup in advance. It freezes well and tastes even better a day or two after making.
How to store kale soup in the fridge or freezer?
Store your homemade soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 or 5 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you have a lot of soup left over, I recommend storing the soup in serving size containers so you don’t have to reheat a huge batch if you want just a single serving.
How to reheat kale soup?
To reheat your kale soup, simply place the soup (even in frozen form), in a medium or large sauce pan and slowly reheat over low-medium heat for 20 minutes or until the soup is fully heated through.
Can I cook kale soup in an instant pot?
Yes, you can easily make this soup using an instant pot or other pressure cooker. Make sure to follow the soup instructions for your particular model, but the process will usually be as follows.
- Add all the vegetables, seasonings, beans, kale and broth into the cooker. Don’t add the cheese until you are ready to serve it.
- Then put the lid in place and lock it so it is properly sealed.
- Set the cooker to high and the timer for about 8 minutes. It will take the pressure cooker about 10 minutes to get to full pressure, then the countdown will begin for the cooking time.
- When the pressure cooker timer goes off, use the quick release for the steam, or if you’re not in a rush, use the natural release.
What goes well with creamy kale soup?
Here are some helpful ideas for what you can serve alongside your delicious healthy soup.
As with nearly any Italian soup, you can’t go wrong with authentic Italian fresh bread. If you can’t make it, then buy a loaf from the grocery store.
Another side dish that goes well with kale soup is Italian roasted red potatoes with rosemary.
And with every good soup, there should be a delicious Italian green salad.
Similar Italian soup recipes
If you enjoy soups like this soup, then you might also enjoy these.
This winter minestrone soup is great for cold winter days or as a side dish for a main course.
For a comforting soup recipe, try our Italian pastina soup recipe!
For our vegan friends, try this vegan cabbage soup! Not a vegan? Then just use chicken broth instead!
I hope you enjoy this recipe for creamy kale soup. It’s delicious and easy to make. Be creative and have fun with it! Let me know in the comments below if you made any changes to make it your own!
Creamy Kale Soup Recipe
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 16 oz. canned cannellini beans
- 1 carrot chopped
- 4 celery stalks chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- 6 oz chopped kale about 3 cups or so
- 6 cups chicken broth
- grated Romano cheese for topping
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add the chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes.1 medium onion chopped
- Drain the cannellini beans (no need to rinse them), and add to the onions. Mash or blend half (or more) of the cannellini beans.2 16 oz. canned cannellini beans
- Add the chopped carrots, celery, and garlic and saute for 10 minutes, stirring periodically.1 carrot chopped, 4 celery stalks chopped, 3 cloves of garlic chopped
- Pour in the chicken broth and stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.6 cups chicken broth
- Stir in the chopped kale, and cook the soup over low-medium heat for 60 minutes uncovered (or partially covered).6 oz chopped kale
- When beans are fully cooked through and soup is flavorful, serve topped with the grated cheese, salt and pepper, and optional red pepper flakes.grated Romano cheese
- To reduce sodium intake, use 4 cups of broth and 2 cups of water.
- Freeze some of the soup if you can so you can have it handy. It only takes 20 minutes to thaw on the stove.
- It is very hard to judge servings for soups because some people like soups with less broth, while others like it thicker. So if you need to add more ingredients, like more carrots or whatever, then do so.