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This wonderfully savory kale soup with white beans and potatoes is fabulous healthy comfort food. It’s naturally vegan and gluten-free.

easy kale soup with white beans and potatoes in a bowl with a spoon
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Why we love this recipe

I get super-jazzed about dinners like this one: deeply delicious, super-healthy comfort food. There’s so much good-for-you produce packed into this one-bowl meal, but it leads with comfort and satisfaction, so you’ll hardly notice its nutritional profile unless you want to.

Plus, it’s ready in 45 minutes, cooks in one pot, and makes a nice big batch that keeps well in the fridge for a week.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls

The background notes

  • The trinity of onioncarrot, and celery creates the first layer of flavor. Embrace a little bit of browning on the bottom of the pot and scrape it all up into the broth as you go. It adds a lot of depth.
  • There’s no substitute for lots of fresh garlic. Give it an even chop, but don’t mince it too finely. That way it will contribute little pops of flavor and won’t burn.
  • Tomato paste adds a backbone of umami and silkiness. You can use either the kind in the can or the double-concentrated kind in the tube — use the full measure either way.
  • A touch of the English condiment Marmite adds an extra layer of savoriness to this soup. You won’t taste it per se, but it really does add nuance. You can use the same amount of the Australian Vegemite instead if you have that on hand. The two are different, but they serve a similar purpose in this recipe. Or leave it out if you prefer (or if you need this recipe to be gluten-free).
  • Homemade stock works beautifully if you happen to have some on hand. If not, this recipe is great with a high-quality boxed veggie broth, too (that’s usually what I use). My favorite boxed vegetable broth by far is Imagine No Chicken lower-sodium broth. It has a great flavor profile and none of the rust-colored nonsense that plagues many other brands.
  • Balsamic vinegar pairs beautifully with kale — its complex, earthy sweetness takes the edge off the kale’s bitterness without cloying. A midpriced option is perfectly fine — save the fancy balsamic for drizzling.
  • A little bit of chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley stirred in after cooking adds freshness. It’s not strictly necessary, but I like the dimension it adds.

The stars of the show

  • I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes for their excellent ratio of creaminess to starchiness, but feel free to substitute a starchy variety like Russets or Idahos if that’s what you’ve got.
  • This soup works equally well with curly or lacinato kale (also called dinosaur or Tuscan kale or cavolo nero). Depending on the specific variety and the season, you’ll need to do a little more or less simmering of curly kale to make it nice and tender. Most lacinato kale needs just a few minutes.
  • You can use any canned white beans in this recipe. I tend to use cannellini beans, which are are also called white kidney beans. They’re mild, creamy, and fairly large. The two cans called for in this recipe equal about 3 ½ cups of cooked beans, from one heaping cup dried. You can of course use beans cooked from scratch if you prefer.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make this recipe in one pot in about 45 minutes. You can watch all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.

step by step
  1. You’ll start with a nice big pot that has a lid (which you’ll use later). I use a 7.25-quart Dutch oven. Heat the olive oil, then add the onion, carrots, and celery, along with some salt, and cook until a little bit browned and softened. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and marmite if you’re using it, and cook for a couple more minutes.
  2. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil, then add the potatoes, cover, and cook until they’re just tender.
  3. Add the beans and the kale (by the handful, stirring to incorporate until it all fits) and cook until the kale is tender.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar, the parsley, and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve with grated cheese if you like (or skip it — it’s great either way). That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Is this recipe vegan? Gluten-free?

To make this recipe vegan, simply don’t include grated cheese, or use a vegan version. To make it gluten-free, omit the Marmite.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

You sure can. Like many soups, it only improves in flavor as it has a chance to settle into itself. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It will freeze just fine too, for up to a year. As always, the textures will soften a bit after freezing.

More healthy comfort food favorites

We really love this kind of meal. Here’s a shortlist of some of our other favorites:

easy kale soup with white beans and potatoes in a bowl with a spoon

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Easy Kale Soup with White Beans, Potatoes + Savory Broth- 780 | Umami Girl-2
4.55 from 110 votes

Easy Kale Soup with White Beans, Potatoes + Savory Broth

By Carolyn
This delicious soup was supposed to be one of those dinners conjured from what we had in the fridge that never saw the light of blog. It was so late by the time we ate it last week that we had to pretend we were in Buenos Aires or Barcelona. We liked it a LOT, so I photographed the leftovers.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 ribs celery, diced small
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon marmite, optional
  • 7 cups 1(650 ml) good vegetable broth
  • 2 pounds (907 grams) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 bunches Lacinato kale, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 15.5- ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup about (10 grams) minced flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for serving, optional

Instructions 

  • Warm olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid. (You'll use the lid later.)
  • Add onion, celery, carrot and one teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned and somewhat tender, 5-10 minutes.
  • Add garlic, tomato paste and marmite (if using) and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
  • Pour in broth, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.
  • Add diced potatoes and remaining teaspoon salt. Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cook until potatoes are almost tender, 15 minutes or so depending on the size of your dice.
  • Add kale and beans and cook a further 10 minutes, until kale is tender and potatoes are just shy of falling apart.
  • Off the heat, stir in vinegar, parsley, and pepper.
  • Serve hot with cheese to pass at the table if you like.

Step-by-step video

Notes

  1. The trinity of onion, carrot, and celery creates the first layer of flavor. Embrace a little bit of browning on the bottom of the pot and scrape it all up into the broth as you go. It adds a lot of depth.
  2. There's no substitute for lots of fresh garlic. Give it an even chop, but don't mince it too finely. That way it will contribute little pops of flavor and won't burn.
  3. Tomato paste adds a backbone of umami and silkiness. You can use either the kind in the can or the double-concentrated kind in the tube — use the full measure either way.
  4. A touch of the English condiment Marmite adds an extra layer of savoriness to this soup. You won't taste it per se, but it really does add nuance. You can use the same amount of the Australian Vegemite instead if you have that on hand. The two are different, but they serve a similar purpose in this recipe. Or leave it out if you prefer (or if you need this recipe to be gluten-free).
  5. Homemade stock works beautifully if you happen to have some on hand. If not, this recipe is great with a high-quality boxed veggie broth, too (that's usually what I use). My favorite boxed vegetable broth by far is Imagine No Chicken lower-sodium broth. It has a great flavor profile and none of the rust-colored nonsense that plagues many other brands.
  6. I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes for their excellent ratio of creaminess to starchiness, but feel free to substitute a starchy variety like Russets or Idahos if that's what you've got.
  7. You can use any canned white beans in this recipe. I tend to use cannellini beans, which are are also called white kidney beans. They're mild, creamy, and fairly large. The two cans called for in this recipe equal about 3 ½ cups of cooked beans, from one heaping cup dried. You can of course use beans cooked from scratch if you prefer.
  8. This soup works equally well with curly or lacinato kale (also called dinosaur or Tuscan kale or cavolo nero). Depending on the specific variety and the season, you'll need to do a little more or less simmering of curly kale to make it nice and tender. Most lacinato kale needs just a few minutes.
  9. Balsamic vinegar pairs beautifully with kale — its complex, earthy sweetness takes the edge off the kale's bitterness without cloying. A midpriced option is perfectly fine — save the fancy balsamic for drizzling.
  10. A little bit of chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley stirred in after cooking adds freshness. It's not strictly necessary, but I like the dimension it adds.
  11. To make this recipe vegan, simply don't include grated cheese, or use a vegan version. To make it gluten-free, omit the Marmite.
  12. Like many soups, this one only improves in flavor as it has a chance to settle into itself. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. It will freeze just fine too, for up to a year. As always, the textures will soften a bit after freezing.

Nutrition

Calories: 397kcal, Carbohydrates: 61g, Protein: 12.9g, Fat: 12.7g, Fiber: 11.9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soups
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.55 from 110 votes (110 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. Love this recipe, but I’m interested to know what the serving size that has 379 calories in it would be. I’m tracking calories, so it would be helpful. Would 1 serving be 1 cup? Or more?

    Thanks so much

    1. Hi Cari, the nutrition info was calculated to get six servings from the recipe. I’m not exactly sure how many cups are in each portion. You could weigh the whole batch (or measure it volumetrically) and divide by six if it’s important to you. Sorry I can’t give you an exact answer right now!