If thinking about a cooking up a healthy vegetarian soup for dinner makes your stomach rumble (I’m talking about the kind of rumble that asks, “How many pieces of buttered bread am I going to have to eat to actually fill up on this?”) — think again. Our tuscan white bean and kale soup is as hearty as it is healthy. Plus, you can go from stovetop to full belly in only 40 minutes.
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This recipe is a lightened-up take on Olive Garden’s popular Zuppa Toscana soup; we lost the sausage and swapped in cannellini beans instead of potatoes for more protein and that delicious nutty flavor. Cannellini beans are an Italian white bean with a silky, creamy texture, but if you’ve already got a can of great Northern beans on your pantry shelf, those will work just fine. You can almost think of this bean soup recipe as an Italian chili (minus the heat). And if you’re always on the lookout for kale recipes to sneak more leafy greens into your diet (and especially ones that don’t leave you with a grill full of kale), you’ve come to the right place.
The secret to why this simple soup satisfies is the Parmesan rind. It’s totally optional because we know not everyone has one lying around — but if you don’t already hoard your old Parmesan rinds, this recipe will give you a good reason to start. (And if you’re used to using the powdered stuff from a green plastic shaker, it might also be the excuse you need to splurge on some true Parmesan cheese.) Simmering the rind in a soup is a trick that old Italian grannies swear by, because it gives the broth a deep, umami richness like none other.
Ready for your “Under The Tuscan Sun” moment? Well, cooking up a big pot of this white bean and kale soup may not sweep an Italian lover into your kitchen, but it will fill it with Italian aromas. Make this a complete Italian-inspired meal with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese on top and some crusty fresh-baked rosemary focaccia on the side.
Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup
Serves 6 – 8
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 medium celery stalks, diced
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 quart vegetable / chicken stock
- 2 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoons black pepper
- Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- 3 cups chopped kale
- In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the chili flakes, rosemary, thyme, and minced garlic, and cook until fragrant.
- Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and parmesan rind, if using.
- Bring soup to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the kale.
- Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until kale has fully cooked. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Serve with parmesan cheese and crusty bread.
Do you regret throwing away that old Parmesan rind, or what? Let us know how much you love being able to make a quick, healthy dinner in just 40 minutes!