Day 326: Bean & Lacinato Kale Soup ♥

Bean & Lacinato Kale Soup cooked with a Parmesan rind for extra creaminess.
graphic button small size size 10 Come cold weather, there's just no beating the home-iness of a big pot of bean soup simmering on the stove: you just know, supper's going to be fine-fine-fine. This soup calls for sausage, kale and the "secret ingredient" – the rind of a piece of Parmesan cheese, it makes all the difference. graphic button small size size 10

~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~

2006: This lacinato kale was so pretty that it graced the kitchen table in a vase for two days before being sacrificed for bean soup! It's all bumpy and prehistoric looking and – so says quick research, thank you, Google – it's also called Tuscan kale, cavolo nero and my favorite name, 'dinosaur' kale. But don't stress about finding lacinato kale specifically, any kale will do for this great wintry soup.

2015: I cut the original recipe in half, knowing even a half recipe (that's what you'll find below) makes one huge pot of soup, too much for a home kitchen's typical large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven. I also found myself doctoring the soup with vinegar, a technique that I know makes a similar soup, Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup, one we happily gobble up.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes (20 minutes up-front, 10 minutes to finish)
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 11 cups

1/2 pound (225g) dried small white beans (or cannellini or Great Northern or navy beans)
Water to cover plus two inches

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water

A couple of tablespoons of water (or olive oil, if preferred)
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons or 2 cloves garlic, minced
2x3 inch piece of Parmesan rind (don't skip this!)
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 cups water
1/2 pound (225g) carrots, peeled and chopped
1 link spicy Italian sausage, optional, cubed
1 bunch lacinato kale, washed well, stems and ribs removed, chopped (about 4 ounces/112g after trimming)
2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar (or more to taste)

QUICK-SOAK THE BEANS Add the beans and water to a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse in a colander. (Alternatively, soak beans overnight in water, allowing plenty of extra water for the beans to absorb. Drain in a colander and continue.)

COOK THE BEANS Bring the broth and 4 cups water to a boil in the microwave. (This is a time-saving trick that can be skipped if there's no rush.)

Add the couple tablespoons of water (or olive oil if preferred) to the Dutch oven over MEDIUM HIGH. Add the onion and garlic as they're prepped and let cook til just soft. Add the beans, hot broth and hot water. Add the rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf and rosemary. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to MEDIUM and let simmer until the beans are soft and fully cooked. Let cool and refrigerate overnight.

MAKE SOUP Stir water into the soup and return the soup to a boil. Add the carrots. Brown the sausage in a small skillet and add to soup. Add the kale and vinegar, let cook for about 15 minutes, until carrots and kale are both fully cooked.

Serve and enjoy!

THE MAGIC OF A PARMESAN RIND The creamy undertones originate with a crusty rind of Parmesan cheese, don't skip it!
COOKING DRIED BEANS Timing for beans is notoriously difficult to predict. The older and drier the beans, the longer the cooking time. These cooked for more than four hours before they were edible and even then were more chewy than appreciated: lots of fiber, these. (More info on this phenomenon, check out Why Dried Beans Won't Cook.) So I recommend making the soup all the way through the beans one day, not counting on serving it until the next. This way? There'll be no last-minute 1-800-Domino's call.
SAUSAGE Be sure to use a sausage that tastes good to you. In 2006, I loved a (relatively) low-cal spicy chicken Italian sausage from Trader Joe's. In 2015, I used sausage from the freezer (not sure of the source) and it just didn't taste that great and made all the difference, I think.

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Still Hungry?


~ Kale Salad To-Go with Avocado & Apple ~
~ Seductive Kale Salad ~
~ Quinoa Pilaf with Kale & Corn ~
~ Crispy Salty Kale Chips ~
~ more kale recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup ~
~ Hearty Healthy Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale ~
~ Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup ~
~ more kale recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006, 2015
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Yum! I'm so into soup right now [not a bad thing to be into this blustery, snowy week]!

  2. ooh, this soup looks so good! i love kale!

  3. The leftovers were great too. Still think it needs fewer beans next time.

  4. Ok, this one has inspired me. I still haven't managed to get my store to order broccoli rabe, but I can find kale.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna