White Bean Soup with Kale is nourishing, comforting, and simple to make with canned Great Northern beans, nutritious kale, spinach, and pantry-friendly ingredients!
Confession time: when I was little, beans were not my favorite food, with one big exception. Baked beans. Out of a can. My dad would cook them up on the stove when it was just the two of us for dinner, drop in some sliced hot dogs, and I would pretend that I was on a prairie eating them from a pretend tin plate by a bonfire. Clearly, I watched a lot of Little House back then.
But my taste has definitely matured as I grew up and I have come to appreciate having cans of beans (of all colors and shapes and sizes) in the pantry. Having them on stock promises a hearty, wholesome meal, without the bother of dried beans.
This bean and kale soup is a perfect example of how having beans on hand can extend your pantry and vegetable bin ingredients to create a simple supper – it’s hearty, it’s creamy without any added dairy or fat, and so simple to make, I bet even my dad can make it.
How to Make White Bean Soup
White Bean Soup with Kale is one of those soups that can easily be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand. I love using canned beans in this, since it means I can make it in under 30 minutes, which is especially handy when I’m in a rush or didn’t have the time to plan soaking beans the night before. Great Northern beans or cannellini beans are my first choice for their creaminess, but navy beans or any white bean can work well here.
Be sure to rinse and drain the beans before cooking — this helps to “de-gas” the beans and prevent uncomfortable bloat. And don’t forget to mash some of the beans (I use an immersion blender, but a potato masher or wooden spoon works just as well) to give the soup its creamy texture.
As for the greens, feel free to toss in your favorites or whatever you have on hand. I use a combination of kale and spinach, but Swiss chard would work nicely here, too!
More Bean Recipes to Try
Fettuccine with Chicken Sausage, Kale and Cannellini Beans
Chicken, Black Bean and Charred Poblano Salad with Pumpkin-Red Curry Vinaigrette
Swiss Chard with Orzo, Cannelini Beans and Pancetta
Lima Bean Salad
Lemony Kale, Avocado, and Chickpea Salad
Vegan Chili: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Simple, Classic Chili
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
White Bean Soup with Kale
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups celery diced
- 1 1/2 cups carrots diced
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 3 15-oz cans white beans such as Great Northern beans or cannellini beans
- 2 cups kale stems removed, leaves chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the celery and carrots, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the broth and bring to a boil. Rinse and drain the beans well. Stir into the soup, lower the heat to a simmer, and let it continue cooking until the carrots and celery are tender. Using an immersion blender, wooden spoon or potato masher, mash some of the beans - this will make the soup thicker and creamier.
- Drop in the kale and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Let it bubble for about another 5 minutes, then stir in the spinach and about a tablespoon of the parsley.
- Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and more parsley sprinkled on top, and croutons, if you like!
White Bean Soup Tips
- Make it vegetarian: use vegetable broth. The recipe will then be vegan!
- What greens can I use in this soup? I use a combination of kale and spinach for that one-two punch, but use whatever you have on hand. Make it all kale, all spinach or your favorite greens. Swiss chard would work nicely here, too.
- Canned beans or dried beans? I use canned beans because it means I can make the soup in under half an hour. Be sure to drain the liquid and rinse the beans well. If you have dried beans and the time, go for it!
- What beans can I use? Great Northern beans or cannellini beans work perfectly here, but you can also use navy beans or your favorite white beans.
- Mashing the beans makes it creamy. Don't skip this step as it adds texture and creaminess to the soup.