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Italian kale soup is a great alternative to chicken soup.  It’s healthy and simple to make.  It’s unfortunately underrated due to the association with kale, which is not a fav among the general populous.  

However, this recipe is very easy to make and requires little effort.  Just like chicken soup, the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it gets.

This recipe was first introduced to me by my husband when I was sick.  He loaded it up with kale and garlic big time and I tell you it helped me just as much as chicken soup.

Now we make it for a winter soup and sometimes we add potatoes to make a kale and potato soup.  Instead of potatoes, you can also use pasta noodles, whether small ones like orzo, or spaghetti that’s been cut up.

One word of caution here though – make sure to cook the pasta separately and add it to your soup only when it’s served.  Reason is that the pasta will totally bloat and get mushy if it’s stored in the soup.

Fresh or Frozen Kale?

This is a logical question, and my honest answer would be whatever you have available.  For less prep work go frozen.  

The fresh kale will take longer too cook down, and also longer prep time as you have to remove the thick stem on each leaf, then chop everything up.

In regards to quantity of the kale, I tend to go on the heavy side.  So for frozen an 8oz bag would be good – although you can certainly add more.  Since we buy ours frozen at wholesale clubs we get large bags and I never measure, I just dump some in and add more if I need to.

That’s actually another benefit to frozen kale is that it’s easier to add more later without messing up the timing of the cooking.

Kale Soup Recipe

This is a great recipe as an alternative to chicken soup.  Perfect for vegetarians too.  Loaded with nutrients and super easy to make!

Course Soups
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water or broth
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 3 carrots chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • chopped kale
  • grated Romano cheese
  • 1 16 oz. chopped or diced tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in large pan or pot over low-medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots and celery and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Stir frequently.
  3. Add chopped garlic and simmer for 3 more minutes.
  4. Add the water and/or broth. If the broth is store bought, I typically do 3 cups broth and 4 cups water. Do what you like.
  5. Add kale and let it cook down. Cook for 1 1/2 hours
  6. Add the can of tomatoes and cook an additional 10 minutes. (optional)
  7. Serve with graded romano on top (if serving to someone with a cold, do not use the cheese because you want the soup to have a clear broth).

Recipe Notes

Tip #1: If you add potato to the soup it becomes a Kale Potato Soup.

Tip #2: Serve with toasted bread on the side.

Tip #3: Freeze some of the soup if you can so you can have it handy. It only takes 20 minutes to thaw over the stove.

Tip#4: 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 whatnot, then do so. If you don't want to use 6 cups, use 5 or 7. Whatever you prefer.

How to Make an Italian Kale Soup