ExperiencePlus! Blog

White bean and kale soup – with sausage, if you like

bowl of white bean and kale soup

A hearty yet simple soup of Tuscan origin, this bean soup features readily available and inexpensive ingredients. This laid back version features cannellini beans and kale. To make it even more “Tuscan farmer style” you can add some old/stale bread in the plate before you serve. This recipe skips it — but don’t let that stop you from adding it if you like, or serve on the side.

Monica and Maria Elena each have different variations on this soup that is a family favorite.

Monica modifies by adding minced garlic in addition to diced onions. She also cooks powdered/ground up rosemary (1-2 sprigs), sage (5-6 leaves), bay leaves (2 bay leaves) with the onion/garlic before adding the kale to be cooked in a bit of broth, and then the beans. Puree some of the beans if you want to make it creamy.

Maria Elena likes to add sausage (add and brown the sausage after the onions) and also adds thyme and bay leaves to the soup. Another secret ingredient that can help give this more flavor is to add a Parmesan cheese rind to the soup as it simmers. This helps provide that wonderful umami flavor (and uses up what would otherwise be thrown out!).

Recipe from Culinary Hill


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed or 1 cup dried beans pre-cooked.
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups kale stems removed and torn into 1” pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes (add sausage and brown if you choose to add the sausage)

  2. Meanwhile, mash one can of beans in a small bowl. Add mashed beans, broth, and water to saucepan. Bring to a boil.

  3. Stir in remaining beans (left whole) and kale. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, until kale is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper (say, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper).

Instant Pot version:

  1. Sauté in instant pot as step 1 above. Combine everything else and then cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release (or natural release) as you prefer.