white bean and kale soup

It’s that time again - the bit between Christmas and the new year when you’re not sure what day it is, who you are or what you’re supposed to be doing… BUT these days are perfect to slow down and recover from any Christmas extravaganzas. I’m proud to tell you that I maintained my gluten, dairy, and processed sugar-free diet over the holidays; however, it’s nice to have a healthy winter stew that even those who aren’t on a strict protocol will enjoy!

This kale and white bean soup is hearty and marvelously simple. My momma would cook it a few times each winter when the damp, cold, dark days of the midwest call for something both warming and filling. It’s an inexpensive soup to make, combining broth with winter vegetables and beans.

A wintertime staple, Cannellini beans, are a small, kidney-shaped white bean that like all beans, are rich in folate – a B vitamin.  They are also particularly rich in fiber, which not only helps to keep you feeling full longer, but also helps to nourish microflora of the human gut.  Fiber is food for good bacteria, and eating fiber-rich foods correlates with more diverse, and better overall gut health which is a priority for us Lyme and autoimmune disease warriors.

yields: 6 - 8 servings

time: 1.5 - 3 hours (partially unattended)

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  • 1 pound dried and rinsed Cannellini beans (Great Northern or Navy, or even canned Cannellini beans work too)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 6 cups vegetable stock or broth

  • One 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes

  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 and a 1/2 pounds kale

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped basil leaves

  • Salt and black pepper


  • One 2-by-1-by-1/4 inch Parmesan rind, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. Put the beans in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by 2-3 inches. Cover and bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the water simmers gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender (30 minutes to two hours, depending on their size), season with salt. (You can do this step a day or two ahead of preparing the rest of the soup: cool the beans, transfer them to an airtight container with their cooking liquid, and refrigerate until you’re ready to make the soup.)

  2. Put the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are very soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the drained beans along with the stock, tomatoes, Parmesan rind (optional for those who are diary-free), thyme, and bay leaf. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup simmers steadily, and cook for 15 minutes.

  3. Remove the thick stems and ribs from the kale and discard them. Roughly chop the leaves. Stir the kale and soy sauce into the soup, cover, and cook until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme stems, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind (if desired). Stir in the basil and taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Serve hot, garnished with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

  4. Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days.

Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments!