This white bean and kale soup is a staple in our house during winter. If you’re looking for a winter pick-me-up, this is just the recipe for you. I love this recipe mostly because it’s a guilt-free comfort food. It only has 155 calories per serving, it’s vegan, flour and sugar free, and full of vitamins, so I never flinch at having a second bowl.
This soup is also extremely easy to make. You can use several methods based on your needs. I have included cooking instructions for using a slow cooker as the main method, but I have also included instructions for a pressure cooker. You can also use a stove top if you’re going to be around to keep an eye on the soup.
White Bean and Kale Soup – Slow Cooker Method
If you use the slow-cooker method, soak the dry white beans overnight.
Remove the kale from the stem, wash, and tear into small pieces.
Slice the carrots, onion, and garlic.
Place the beans and the produce in the slow cooker. The instructions for using a pressure cooker are at the bottom of the page with the full recipe – so scroll down.
Add all of the spices and liquids, including the water.
Cook on high for 6 hours if you’re using a slow cooker. The instructions for using a pressure cooker are below.
Top with your favorite toppings. I like to spice mine up with some fresh jalapeno peppers, especially if I have a cold. It clears the sinuses right up! I also like to add freshly squeezed lemon to brighten it up. Yum!
More Great Recipes:
- 16 oz great northern beans (dry)
- 4 - 8 cups water (The amount of water depends on the cooking method. The slow cooker requires more water to be added over the course of cooking.)
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 1 vegetable bullion cube
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp ground ginger (I use already ground ginger. Be careful if you use fresh ginger because it is strong and can overpower everything. There should be just a hint of ginger in the background.)
- 1 large onion
- 3 tsp soy sauce
- 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 14.5 oz carrots (about 1 cup sliced)
- 3.5 oz kale chopped
- 1 medium lemons
- sea salt (to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Soak the beans for 8 hours and then drain.
- Add the ingredients to the slow cooker in the following order - pre-soaked beans, carrots, onion, garlic, and spices.
- Add the liquids last. Add all of the broth, and then add as much water as the slow cooker will hold. Once the beans soak up some of the liquid, you can add the remaining water to cook the beans to the desired consistency. I like for my beans to be soft but not mushy, but you may prefer for your beans to have a softer consistency. This is a matter of personal preference. Test the beans at least 2 hours before the soup is done and add more water if you want the beans to be softer.
- Fill the pressure cooker half-way full with water. (See Note 1)
- Add dried great northern beans to the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Once at high pressure, cook for 45 minutes. (See Note 2)
- Chop the vegetables (i.e. garlic, onion, carrots,kale). (See Note 3)
- Use the quick release method to open the pressure cooker, and drain the beans, which should be al dente.
- add the beans back to the pressure cooker, and add the vegetable broth, vegetable bouillon cube, garlic, ginger, onion, soy sauce, salt, and pepper to the beans.
- Bring the pressure cooker to high pressure, and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
- Use the quick release method, and add kale and carrots. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. (See Note 4)
- Bring the pressure cooker to high pressure, and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Use the quick release method, and add balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
Please note that this recipe uses a pressure cooker. If you do not have a pressure cooker, you will need to soak the beans overnight, and the cooking temperature and time will be different from this recipe. You can still use the ingredients in this recipe, but you will need to adjust the cooking times based on the cooking temperature and cooking method (e.g. slow cooker, stove top, etc.). Keep in mind that low and slow (low temperature over a long period) is the best method for soup.
Note 1: Follow the instructions on your pressure cooker. Most will instruct never to fill more than half-way with liquid.
Note 2: The cooking time is 45 minutes at high pressure because the beans have not been pre-soaked. The pressure cooker is so fast that I do not bother to pre-soak the beans. If you prefer to pre-soak the beans, take this into consideration for the cooking time. I have not tested this, but I would try reducing the cooking time to 15 minutes if the beans are pre-soaked.
Note 3: When chopping the kale, first remove the stem and then chop the kale into medium-size pieces or smaller. The stem is not bitter, but it will remain tough, so it’s best to remove it before chopping the kale the pictures of the kale in the soup provide a good illustration of how finely to chop the kale. Kale will reduce in bulk when heated, but it will not wither away like spinach, so cut it close to the size you want the final product to be.
Note 4: Add the carrots first and then the kale. Spoon the hot liquid over the kale to reduce the bulk of the kale before putting the lid back on the pressure cooker. This will prevent the kale from blocking the vents on the pressure cooker.
Overall: I mention several times in this recipe to use the quick-release method. If you are new to using a pressure cooker, this is referring to the method of running the rim of the pressure cooker under cold water to release the seal rather than waiting for the temperature and the pressure to naturally dissipate. This is important because even though you may remove the pressure cooker from the heat, the contents will continue to cook until the pressure is released. The quick method ensures that the cooking times in the recipe are correct. If you do not use the quick-release method, reduce the cooking times to account for the time needed for the pressure cooker to naturally release the pressure. Just realized that the beans and vegetables may be softer or harder than this recipe recommends. In short, the quick-release method is an important part of this recipe.