White Bean, Kale, and Pesto Soup

I’ve tried a lot of recipes for soups. Portuguese kale soup, corn and cheddar chowder, minestrone, pork and black eyed pea chili, and this one. I love how the pesto melts into the soup and gives it a smooth, creamy texture and an herbal, slightly sharp flavor. Plus, the pesto makes this a good summer soup – perfect for a cold-rainy-wintery day in June. I always use pecorino for this recipe, as I love how the sharp nutty tang plays off the creaminess of the white beans, but if you’re not a pecorino fan, substitute parmesan, or another hard, salty cheese.

White Bean, Kale, and Pesto Soup

White Bean, Kale, and Pesto Soup

White Bean, Kale, and Pesto Soup

White Bean, Kale, and Pesto Soup

Serves 4.

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/4 in. thick
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth to make the recipe vegetarian)
  • 1/2 large head fresh kale, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces (or 1 1/2 c. frozen chopped kale)
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 c. prepared pesto (homemade is best, but store-bought is fine too)
  • 1/2 c. grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional, but I love the interplay of pecorino and nutmeg)
  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot, and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, or until vegetables have begun to soften.  Add garlic, oregano, and parsley, and cook 2 minutes more, stirring.
  2. Add chicken broth, kale, and beans, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until kale and carrots are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in pesto, cheese, and nutmeg.  Serve hot with additional grated cheese and crusty bread.

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