Kale and White Bean Minestrone Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Kale and White Bean Minestrone Recipe

white bean and kale minestrone | pamela salzman

I think that sports are awesome for kids.  They’re fun!  The kids get exercise, make new friends, learn about competition and trying your best, and lots of other life lessons which I am constantly repeating to my children to the point of annoyance.  “It’s not over ’til it’s over!”  “Today is a new day!”  Love those.

Mr. Picky is 10 years old and he will basically play as many sports as his schedule and we will allow.  I can’t possibly let him participate in everything that strikes his fancy because then I would truly have no life and he would be exhausted.  He plays soccer all year plus basketball in the winter, baseball in the spring and tennis in the summer.  But can I just vent for one second?  Soccer, basketball, tennis — all good.  Normal practice schedule.  Short games. Love it.  10-year-old baseball?  T-O-R-T-U-R-E.

aromatics chopped

Forget about the fact that I think baseball is dreadfully boring.  I could watch any of my kids blow dirt and I would enjoy cheering them on.  But there’s not a lot of action in baseball and we’re committed to two 2-hour games a week plus a 2 1/2 hour practice on Saturdays.  Ugh.  And, those Thursday night games on metal bleachers and wind blowing from the West.  I am always chilled to the bone when I get home on Thursday nights.  That’s why I bribed Mr. Picky not to play baseball this year.  I offered my son cold hard cash if he would pick up lacrosse in the spring instead.  “What are you talking about, Mom?  I am definitely playing baseball.”

“Really, dude?  There’s nothing I can give you to make you not play?  Nothing?”

“I don’t even have to think about that.  I’m playing.”

“Everybody has a price, little man.  Just name it.”

“Mom, you’re acting weird.  Please stop.”

So frustrating!  “You know what, kid?  You have NO future in politics!  None!  Remember that!”

Seriously, I would have offered him a THOUSAND dollars not to play and I honestly think he would have turned it down. Drat.

tomato paste and rosemary

So, if you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, you know I post my family’s dinner every night.  I won’t promise high quality images, just the real deal.  But you should start expecting slow cooker meals and/or soups and stews on Thursdays for the next 2 1/2 long months.  Games are from 5:30 – 8:00 pm and I don’t expect my daughters to wait until 8:15 to eat (or at 4:30 for that matter.)  So I need something that can stay warm for a few hours without drying out.

mash some white beans


parmesan rind

I know the first day of spring is this week and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  But let’s face it, the temperature doesn’t all of a sudden go up by 15 degrees on March 21st.  Soups are still in play! (That was a cheesy pun, but I couldn’t resist.)  I love, love, love this kale and white bean minestrone.  I taught this soup in my classes last month, but I have been making a version of this forever.  It’s hearty and flavorful, but still light since it’s all veggies and beans.  I make it with chicken stock very often, but also with vegetable stock.  Sometimes Mr. Picky and I will eat something before the game like peanut butter toast and then have a bowl of hot soup like this when we get home.  Really hits the spot.  Because the beans add great protein, I’ll also reheat leftovers for school lunch the next day.

soup in progress

white bean and kale minestrone

I think kale is amazing in this soup, but I have also made it with Swiss chard and I think collards would be great, too.  Sometimes I’ll add a little extra tomato paste to make it more tomato-y.  But I almost never make it without my secret ingredient, a rind of Parmesan cheese.   This makes this soup so flavorful and rich without you actually eating cheese.  Although I can never resist grating some fresh Pecorino on top.

white bean and kale minestrone | pamela salzman

Sadly, I think many of you are bracing for another snow storm.  This soup’s for you!

white bean and kale minestrone | pamela salzman

5.0 from 2 reviews
Kale and White Bean Minestrone
Serves: 6
  • 3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste ( I like Bionaturae)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped (measure the rosemary, then chop)
  • 3 ½ cups of cooked white beans (such as Cannellini or Great Northern) or 2 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed* click here to learn how to make your beans from scratch
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (You will need about 3 teaspoons of salt if your stock is unsalted.)
  • piece of rind from Parmesan cheese (if you have it, otherwise don’t worry about it)
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade or 4 cups stock + 2 cups water
  • 6 cups of stemmed, coarsely chopped kale or Swiss chard leaves*
  • Accompaniments: serve with garlic toast, a drizzle of olive oil and/or grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  1. Warm oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until tender and translucent, about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  3. Add the white beans, salt, pepper and parmesan rind. Try to mash a few of the beans in the pot. This will help thicken the soup later.
  4. Pour in the stock. Raise the heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Lower heat so that soup gently simmers and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes (or longer if you want), or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Stir in kale leaves and simmer another 8 minutes or until kale is tender. Taste for seasoning and serve with or without desired accompaniments.
*Or you can use 1 can of beans and 1 pound of chopped Yukon Gold potatoes.

**If you use Swiss chard, separate the stems from the leaves before starting the recipe and chop both.  Sauté the chopped stems with the onions and add the chopped leaves at the end.

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  1. I absolutely love this soup, and I double the recipe to have leftovers to eat over the next couple days! I am a soup freak, and this recipe is a staple for us! As a sidenote, I agree baseball is a long season and was ever so grateful when my son switched to volleyball! In fact we were on a team with your son way back with Ed Zobrist coaching. I remember the end-of-season get together at the beach and you brought a delicious salad to share. Thrilled to know you followed your passion and have since written cookbooks, taught many cooking classes, and happily shared your tips & swaps! Thank you!!!!

    • corrrection – the coach might’ve been Tim Walmer, not Ed. hmm, too long ago!?

    • Hi! So nice to reconnect! I honestly can’t remember the coach either LOL

  2. This is one of the tastiest soups that I’ve made! The parmesan rind gave it such nice flavor. I used a mixture of regular and baby spinach instead of kale, and my family loved it. I’m so grateful…my husband recently had a heart attack and we are looking for bean recipes. I printed this one out and it’s going in my binder so that we can make it on a regular basis 🙂

    • It’s one of my favorites! So hearty and flavorful, but still light.

  3. Hi! Do you think th9s would freeze well?

    • Freezes very well!

  4. Hi there! From the photos it looks like you mash the white beans slightly but this isn’t in your instructions (it just says to drain and rinse. Which do you prefer?

    • Yes, drain, rinse and in Step 3 the instructions say to mash slightly against the side of the pot. You can do it before you add them to the pot as well. Enjoy!

  5. I love this healthy hearty soup! I’ve made it for family, I’ve made it for friends and everyone has liked it. An easy go to soup.

    • Thanks, Suzi! It’s a family favorite around here!

  6. hi pamela. is something i could make in a slow cooker after doing steps 1-3 on the stovetop? if so can i add the kale in at the same time as the stock ? and how long should i cook it. thanks. megan

    • ABsolutely! 4-5 hours on HIGH, or 6-7 on LOW

  7. Another success on a meatless meal! So delicious. Thank you! My family is really benefiting from your weekly menu posts.

    • I’m sooooooo happy about that!

      • Can you substitute sweet potatoes for potatoes in this recipe? This is a go to soup for us:) Thx!!

        • Do you mean can you sub sweet potatoes for white beans? There aren’t any potatoes in this recipe. I don’t see why you couldn’t. Just make sure you cook them until tender.

  8. What I loved about this soup was it was so easy to make and the ingredients would be things I would already have in my pantry. I really liked how creamy it got with the cheese rind in it. I took your suggestion regarding the extra pizza but I had whole wheat pita bread instead of naan and I just made them with red sauce and cheese. Thank you for another delicious meal!

  9. Can you use lentils instead of beans? Thx!!

    • I think that would taste great, but lentils would need to cook for longer. Check out my lentil soup recipe for guidance. 🙂

  10. made this last night & we loved it so much i’m making a huge batch today to freeze. Thank you always , Pamela !

    • Great idea! Thanks, Jessica 🙂

  11. Hi Pam – You are right – still a bit chilly and soup is so appropriate right now! Love to hear your stories about your family. This one was so darling! And, by the way, I hear swim team is a nightmare too – meets are very, very long! (Never had to endure that!) Keep the photos the real deal! I like it that way!

    • How sweet are you! Thank you, Lori!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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