Tomato, white bean and Kale soup

January 6, 2017
Family Verdict:


  • 100g spicy chorizo (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
  • 1l water or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 150g waxy potato such as charlotte, diced
  • 2 bay leaves, a couple of sprigs thyme,
  • 250g kale, stemmed, washed thoroughly, and chopped or cut in slivers (you want this weight after chopping)
  • 1 can white beans such as canellini , drained and rinsed
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Grated Parmesan for serving
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot. If using chorizo, dice it and add here and cook until it changes the colour of the oil, then and add the onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. 
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and juice from the can, add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly.
  4. Add the water, tomato paste, oregano, potato, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, add the bouquet garni, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just about tender.
  5. Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale and potatoes are tender and the soup is fragrant. Taste, adjust salt, and add pepper. 
  6. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes. Serve, sprinkling some Parmesan over each bowl.


I had some kale left over from Christmas and the fag-end of a piece of very nice Chorizo. I had one fo the Offspring lying shivering on the sofa off school with the Flu, there was frost on the ground and it was that horribly English period where there is little light, often grey skies and no warmth. So thoughts turn to comfort food and to soup. So I knocked this up for lunch - it has the advantage of not needing stock although I did actually use a powdered vegetable stock - and can be made pretty quickly and easily. Mid morning for an early lunch. It also (and perhaps surprisingly) is delicious.

I opted to add chorizo, for the ocassional bit of meat but more so for the paprika and chill kick that it gives the background flavour of the soup. I am a great fan of all things umami, and this certainly lends to the layers of savouriness but if you are avoiding meat or don't have any chorizo, don't use that as an excuse not to make this - you could add a dash of chilli if you like things a little warmer.

I also chose to make a watercress pesto which I spooned onto the top of the soup when I served it. this again added an earthy note and some fresh green flavour to the overall soup. Again don't worry about it if you don't have the stuff to hand - or substitute rocket if you have it. I dont think Basil would work here though you need something metallic and earthy with a bit of kick. I haven't given ingredients or method for the pesto - but its a couple of handfuls of leaves, a glug of good oil (i used cold press rapeseed), tablespoon of nuts (walnuts) and a handful of parmesan, some salt and a grated clove of garlic. All put in a small blender and smooshed to a paste. Add to the soup in serving bowls. If you have any left then you could stir it through pasta as well.

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