This comforting, vegan White Bean and Kale Soup is one of our all-time favorite soup recipes. It has plenty of fresh lemon for brightness, a kick from red pepper flakes and potatoes for a little heartiness. It’s even better as leftovers the next day!
We’re always extra excited about a vegan recipe when my husband Brent raves about it. He’s by far the pickiest eater in our family (yet has excellent taste), so anything Brent-approved is a definite win!
Brent is also not vegetarian, although he did recently vow to stop eating red meat other than for special occasions. I actually had nothing to do with this decision. I respect his dietary choices no matter what, but I can’t say I’m mad about it! It certainly makes things easier for me when it comes to planning out meals for the two of us.
He happily ate two bowls of this White Bean & Kale Soup for dinner last week and didn’t miss the meat whatsoever. That being said, he does also love this soup with spicy Italian chicken sausage. Good to know if any of your family members (or yourself) would like to add meat!
The best part about this white bean and kale soup? It only requires a few minutes of hands on time and about 35 minutes of simmering time. It tastes like something that took hours to make (so flavorful!), but you can have it on the table even on the busiest weeknights.
How to make a super flavorful soup without spending hours at the stove
I make A LOT of soup. Seriously. From about September-late May (otherwise known as winter in Michigan), soup is on the menu at least twice (often three times) a week at my house.
It’s easy to make, easy to adapt (add meat for my husband), and with a few quick tips, it always tastes fantastic. Here are a few guidelines I always follow (when relevant!).
Give the onions a few extra minutes.
If the soup starts with a base of onions, I always let them sauté for a few extra minutes than the directions call for. A bit more time simmering in butter or oil helps them caramelize and brings a whole lot more flavor to the base.
If the soup also calls for garlic, don’t add at the same time as the onions. Garlic has a propensity for burning (and tasting awful), so wait until the onions are browned to your liking.
Salt is everything.
Unless you have a medical reason for avoiding salt, don’t be afraid to add more than the directions call for. As a recipe developer, we typically keep the salt a bit lower for those that can’t have as much (or don’t like it). However, you should feel free to add as much salt as you prefer.
The best way to do it? Just taste the soup. Often. And then add more salt.
Along the same lines, you need some acid.
A little bit of acid goes a long way when it comes to balancing flavors. It adds that extra oomph you’re looking for in a boring soup. In the case of this white bean and kale soup, it comes in the form of lemon juice.
Other options: a splash of vinegar, wine, yogurt (as a topping), lime juice, etc. Also, if you haven’t yet, read Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.* It’s easily the most helpful cookbook I’ve ever read! *affiliate link
Don’t be afraid to add extra herbs and/or spices.
Herbs and spices = flavor. A (somewhat large) pinch of red pepper flakes takes this soup to the next level! Extra curry powder makes this Coconut Curry Squash Soup super flavorful. A bright, herby oil adds SO much to this very green vegetable soup.
Now that you’ve made a delicious soup, you certainly don’t want to waste any leftovers…
How to freeze this white bean and kale soup
First things first, let the soup cool before transferring to any container. Next, choose a container that’s freezer safe. Glass jars, glass (and some plastic) food storage containers, and even freezer-safe plastic bags all work well. Just be sure to leave at least 3/4 inch of space at the top to allow for expansion. You don’t want any cracked glass in your freezer!
Broth-based soups (like this one) tend to freeze quite well, so you shouldn’t have any issues. When you’re ready to reheat, we suggest heating in a large pot over medium heat on the stove.
You may need to add extra broth or water to loosen it up. Additionally, be sure to stir often to prevent burning at the bottom of the pan. This will also speed up the thawing process!
Serve this soup with cheesy vegan crostini for extra flavor
Then, top toast with vegan cheese and broil for a few minutes to melt. Not embarrassed to admit that I went through 4-6 crostini as I ate a bowl of soup. Okay, two bowls.
For more of our favorite vegetable & bean soups, try these:
- Vegan Red Lentil Soup
- Five-Bean Vegetable Soup
- Vegan Minestrone Soup
- Super Green Vegetable Soup
- Maple White Bean Vegetable Soup
- White Bean Fennel Soup via Tending the Table
This comforting White Bean & Kale Soup is one of our favorite new recipes – it has plenty of fresh lemon juice for brightness, a kick from red pepper flakes and potatoes for a little extra heartiness. It’s even better as leftovers the next day!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 1/2 cup diced yukon gold potatoes (or similar variety)
- 1 1/2 cup sliced carrots
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried parsley leaves or 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning blend or 1 1/2 tbsp fresh herbs (marjoram, basil, thyme, oregano)
- 3/4–1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 6 cups kale, chopped
- 2 14 oz. cans cannellini beans
- 2 tbsp lemon juice + more to taste
Vegan cheesy garlic toast:
- 4 slices bread of choice
- 1 clove garlic
- Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
- Vegan cheese of choice (we used mozzarella- style)
- Heat oil in large stock pot.
- Add onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, carrot and potatoes – stir and continue cooking 5 minutes, until carrots are slightly softened.
- Add all spices/seasonings, stir well, then add broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes. Add in kale, cannellini beans and lemon juice and cook until kale is wilted. Taste and adjust salt + lemon as needed.
Vegan cheesy garlic toast:
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Slice toast into triangles, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper and transfer to baking sheet. Toast in oven for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through cook time.
- Remove from oven, rub each slice with garlic, top with cheese and return to oven for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melty.
If you don’t have any white beans (aka cannellini beans, aka white kidney beans), you can sub great Northern beans or regular kidney beans. We think the creamy texture and larger size of cannellini beans are perfect for a hearty soup.