Last month I shared my recipe for a vegan copycat version of Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana: a creamy soup with potatoes, kale, and spicy vegan Italian sausage. It’s the definition of comfort food and became a fast favorite in our home. This Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup is a whole foods, plant-based version of that recipe that doesn’t sacrifice any of the flavor or coziness.
Why You’ll Love this Kale and White Bean Soup
It’s budget-friendly. I added all the ingredients to an online grocery pickup cart and the total came out to $11.57 (not including the dried spices, which I already had hanging around in my pantry). That brings the cost-per-serving to just under $2 — and you’ll also have some leftover celery to toss into another recipe that week.
Healthy & whole foods plant-based. This recipe is similar to my Vegan Zuppa Toscana, except we’re leaving out the plant-based Italian sausage and opting for white beans as our protein.
Quick and easy! After a little bit of prep work, the soup comes together in one pot in under 30 minutes (and most of that time is just letting it all simmer).
- Mirepoix and olive oil. Diced onion, carrot and celery, plus plenty of minced garlic. Sautéed in some good extra-virgin olive oil, these form an aromatic and flavorful base for our soup.
- White beans. I like cannellini beans the best, because they’re super soft and creamy. Great Northern beans will work great too. Actually, really any variety of bean that you enjoy will be a fine substitution!
- Potatoes. I like gold potatoes (or other waxy varieties) best because they hold their shape a little better than russets. But either kind will work just fine in this recipe! I personally hate potato skins, but it’s up to you whether you want to peel them.
- Kale. I prefer Tuscan kale (aka “lacinato” or “dinosaur kale”) for this recipe. It’s the kind that’s thinner and darker than curly kale. Either variety will work, but Tuscan kale is a bit more tender so it cooks up beautifully in soups. If you’re not a kale junkie like me, feel free to sub in spinach or a different kind of green.
- Vegetable broth. Typically I use chicken-style veggie broth for soups, but in this veggie-forward recipe, regular veggie broth is just as delicious in my opinion! Use whatever you have in your pantry, and simply adjust the salt as needed depending on the sodium content of your broth.
- Dried thyme, rosemary, and basil. I have a bad habit of buying fresh herbs, using only a little bit for a dish, and letting the rest go bad. So I just used dried herbs for this recipe. Feel free to sub in fresh herbs if you like! And you can use really any kind that you like and have on hand.
How to Make Kale and White Bean Soup
- Sauté the mirepoix. Sauté onion, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until tender and fragrant.
- Add in the beans, potatoes, broth and herbs. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Add in the kale. Stir it in and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until it’s wilted and tender.
- Finish with optional cashew cream. Stir in the cream (or whatever substitute you’re using), and let it heat for another minute or so.
- Enjoy! I love to garnish mine with a little bit of grated vegan parm.
Tips and Substitutions
Beans. I think some variety of white bean (cannellini, Great Northern, butter beans) works best in this soup, because they have a soft and buttery texture that makes the soup a little extra creamy. In a pinch, you can substitute in a different kind of bean or lentil.
Cashew cream. I like to add this because it gives the soup just a slightly creamier mouthfeel, but it’s not enough to make the soup feel very heavy or thick (like, say, a chowder). But if you don’t have cashews or prefer not to cook with them, you could try using a store-bought vegan cream substitute like the kind Silk or Country Crock make. Or you could use a plain unsweetened plant milk (like a store-bought cashew or oat milk) — just make sure it’s something you think would taste good in a savory context. Otherwise, just leave it out. The soup will still taste good!
Thicker/creamier soup. If you want to make this feel a little chunkier and more “stew-like,” you can use your immersion blender to blend it up partially. This works especially well because the creamy white beans and potatoes will thicken the soup.
Storage & Reheating
Store Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup in the fridge in a sealed container for about 5 days. This is also a dish that freezes beautifully! It keeps well for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s great to have on-hand in that way to defrost and reheat when you need an easy weeknight meal that’s delicious and healthy. Simply reheat in a pan on the stove, or in the microwave.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup – One-pot, budget-friendly and super flavorful.
- Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup – One-pot, healthy, and budget-friendly.
- Gochujang Tofu – Spicy, savory and protein-packed.
- Butternut Squash Curry – One-pot, autumnal, warm and cozy.
Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup
- knife and cutting board
- large pot or Dutch oven
- wooden spoon
- high-speed blender if making homemade cashew cream
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 ribs celery chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 (15 oz) cans Cannellini or other white beans drained and rinsed
- 3-4 Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cubed
- 1 bunch lacinato kale stalks removed, thinly sliced (about 4 loosely packed cups)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or sub any dried herbs you like
- 1 cup homemade cashew cream (recipe follows), or see notes for substitutions below
- salt and pepper to preference
Homemade Cashew Cream
- 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked 4+ hours
- 3/4 cup water
- Parmesan shreds (we love Follow Your Heart vegan parm)
- fresh chopped parsley
- squeeze of lemon
- Add oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, if using, and bloom for ~1.
- Add in onion and celery and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until onion is translucent.
- Add in carrots and garlic and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add in potatoes, drained beans, vegetable broth, and dried herbs of choice. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium-low or low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
- Stir in the kale and bring back up to a simmer. Simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes until kale is wilted and tender. (If you prefer your kale very soft, you can add it about 5 minutes after the potatoes.)
- Stir in the cashew cream and cook for just another minute to warm through.
- Enjoy! I love topping this with a little shredded vegan parm, fresh parsley or basil chiffonade, and a squeeze of lemon to add brightness.
Homemade Cashew Cream
- Blend soaked cashews and water together until completely smooth.