Traditional Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe (Hearty, Warming Soup)

“Embark on a culinary voyage to the heart of Portugal with our Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe, a vibrant melody of flavors and textures. This hearty bowl weaves together the robustness of chorizo, the earthiness of beans, and the leafy goodness of kale, creating a symphony of taste in every spoonful. Tomatoes and potatoes dance in a savory broth, while a sprinkle of spices brings the tradition to life. Dive into this nourishing masterpiece, and let the rich, soulful flavors transport you to the cobblestone streets of Portugal!”

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Venturing into Lisbon’s cobbled streets, I was embraced by an alluring aroma that danced through the evening air. My culinary compass led me to a rustic tavern where locals huddled, savoring the warmth of a centuries-old recipe — Portuguese Kale Soup.

Portuguese Kale Soup

The first spoonful unveiled a tapestry of flavor; earthy kale mingling with tender chunks of chorizo, their smoky richness grounding the brightness of fresh, plump tomatoes. As I immersed deeper into this comforting bowl, every ingredient, each with its unique tale, unveiled the heart of Portugal itself.

A medley of bold flavors echoing the nation’s maritime past and humble beginnings. As the evening wrapped up, the owner gifted me the heirloom recipe with a twinkle in his eye, saying, “This is not just soup; it’s a tradition, a connection to our roots.” 

Each sip is a journey, a narrative of Portugal’s resilient spirit, captured in a comforting, soul-nourishing bowl of soup.

What Is Portuguese Kale Soup?

Portuguese Kale Soup, often known as “Caldo Verde,” is a timeless culinary masterpiece from Portugal. This soup blends the earthy flavors of kale and potatoes, brightened by robust, smoky chorizo. A beloved dish for centuries, it marries simple, hearty ingredients to create a symphony of flavors. 

The rich broth offers a cozy, comforting warmth, making it an ideal meal for colder days. Beyond its nourishing goodness, each bowl of Caldo Verde carries the soul of Portuguese tradition, offering an authentic taste of its rich culture. Delve into this comforting bowl to discover a culinary narrative of Portugal’s history.

History Of Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe

Portuguese Kale Soup, or Caldo Verde, originates from the Minho Province in northern Portugal. Over centuries, it’s become a staple nationwide, savored at homes, local taverns, and grand feasts. The soup’s simplicity—kale, potatoes, and chorizo—reflects Portugal’s agricultural roots. 

Caldo Verde gained global recognition when immigrants took it to new shores, symbolizing Portuguese resilience and tradition. Its enduring popularity, from humble kitchens to haute cuisine, continues to echo Portugal’s rich cultural and culinary heritage.

Interesting Facts About Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe

  • Portuguese Kale Soup, Caldo Verde, is traditionally made with “couve galega,” a type of Portuguese kale, which may be substituted with collard greens in other regions.
  • The soup is typically served with a slice of broa, a traditional Portuguese cornbread.
  • It’s traditionally consumed at Portuguese weddings and birthdays, signifying its cultural importance.
  • Caldo Verde was listed as one of the “7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy” in a national vote in 2011.
  • The soup is so beloved in Portugal that June 23rd, St. John’s Day, often sees Caldo Verde served as part of the festive fare.

What Makes Portuguese Kale Soup Special?

  • Portuguese Kale Soup is an authentic taste of Portuguese heritage, marrying rustic, earthy ingredients into a hearty, satisfying dish.
  • Its simplicity speaks volumes – a testament to Portugal’s agricultural roots.
  • The soup transcends everyday fare, often served at important celebrations, symbolizing its cultural significance.
  • Every ingredient, from kale to chorizo, tells a tale of Portugal’s rich culinary tradition.
  • This dish has withstood the test of time, moving from country kitchens to high-end restaurants, still maintaining its comforting, soulful charm.
  • Its global popularity showcases the universality of comfort food, connecting cultures through a shared love for hearty, nourishing meals.
Portuguese Kale Soup

Ingredients List

IngredientsQuantity
Dried white pea beans1/2 pound
Chorizo sausage, thinly sliced1/2 pound
Beef soup bones1 pound
Water1 quart
Medium head cabbage, chopped1
Kale, rinsed, dried and chopped2 bunches
Potatoes, peeled and cubed5
Hot water (or as needed)1 quart
SaltTo taste
PepperTo taste

Ingredient Tips

  • Soak the dried white pea beans overnight for easier cooking.
  • Use Portuguese chorizo, if available, for authentic flavor.
  • Bone-in beef shanks can enhance the soup’s depth of flavor.
  • Fresh, green cabbage and kale provide the best taste and nutritional value.
  • Waxy potatoes like Yukon Gold or red potatoes hold their shape well in soups.
  • Always adjust salt and pepper at the end of cooking to control the soup’s seasoning.
  • Use homemade stock instead of water for a richer, more flavorful soup.

Can You Vary The Portuguese Kale Soup With Other Ingredients?

Yes, Portuguese Kale Soup can be adapted to suit various diets:

  • Vegan/Vegetarian: Replace chorizo with a plant-based sausage or smoked tofu, and use vegetable broth instead of beef bones.
  • Gluten-Free: The original recipe is already gluten-free, excluding wheat-based ingredients.
  • Paleo/Whole30: Omit white pea beans and replace potatoes with sweet or compliant root vegetables.
  • Keto: Swap potatoes for lower-carb veggies like cauliflower or radishes, and omit the beans.
Portuguese Kale Soup

Recipe Directions

  • Soak beans in water for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Combine soaked beans, chorizo, soup bones, and 1 quart of water in a large pot. Cook on medium heat for 1 hour.
  • Add cabbage, kale, and potatoes to the pot. Pour in enough hot water to cover the ingredients. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Portuguese Kale Soup

Variations, Add-Ons And Toppings

Portuguese Kale Soup Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings Variations: Add cannellini beans for extra protein or replace chorizo with andouille sausage for a Cajun twist.

  • Vegan/Vegetarian Version: Use plant-based sausage and vegetable broth. You could also add lentils or chickpeas for protein.
  • Keto Version: Swap potatoes for low-carb vegetables like cauliflower.
  • Add-Ons: Add other vegetables, such as carrots or leeks, for added nutrients and flavor complexity.
  • Toppings: A sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes can give a spicy kick. Freshly chopped parsley or cilantro will add a touch of color and freshness.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve with a slice of crusty bread for dipping or a lemon wedge on the side for a tangy twist.

Scaling The Recipe

Scaling a recipe up or down primarily involves adjusting the quantities of ingredients while preserving the ratio in which they’re used. Here’s how to do it for the Portuguese Kale Soup:

Scaling Up

  • If you want to serve more people or want leftovers, double each ingredient’s quantity. For instance, instead of 1/2 pound of dried white pea beans and chorizo sausage, you’ll use 1 pound each. Instead of 1 quart of water, you’ll use 2 quarts, and so forth.

Scaling Down

  • If you want less soup, you will halve each ingredient’s quantity. For instance, instead of 1/2 pound of dried white pea beans and chorizo sausage, you’ll use 1/4 pound each. Instead of 1 quart of water, you’ll use 2 cups, and so forth.

What Is Used For Garnishing? 

Portuguese Kale Soup or Caldo Verde traditionally requires little garnishing as the soup is vibrant and flavorful. However, if you wish to enhance its presentation, you can use the following options:

  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro can add a pop of color and a hint of freshness.
  • Olive Oil: A drizzle of good quality olive oil before serving can add a beautiful sheen and enhance the soup’s flavor.
  • Slices of Chorizo: Additional thinly sliced chorizo on top can provide a nice visual appeal and an extra smoky flavor.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: A sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes can add a nice contrast for those who prefer a bit of heat.
Portuguese Kale Soup

Can I Make Portuguese Kale Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Yes, you can adapt the Portuguese Kale Soup recipe for both a slow cooker and an Instant Pot:

Slow Cooker

  • Follow the same preparation steps, but add all ingredients to the slow cooker instead of cooking on the stove. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours until the beans are tender.

Instant Pot

  • Use the sauté function to brown the chorizo, then add the remaining ingredients. Seal the Instant Pot and set it to manual high pressure for about 15 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then a quick release.

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

Both store-bought and homemade broths can be used in Portuguese Kale Soup, depending on your time and preference.

Store-Bought Broth

  • This is a convenient option that can save you a lot of time. Look for low-sodium versions to control your soup’s salt content.

Homemade Broth 

  • If you have time, the homemade broth will provide a depth of flavor that’s hard to match with store-bought versions. You can make it from vegetable scraps, leftover bones, or both.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For Portuguese Kale Soup?

Portuguese Kale Soup, traditionally known as Caldo Verde, is a versatile dish and can be adapted to include different ingredients based on personal preferences or dietary requirements. Here are some variations you might consider:

  • Meat: While chorizo is traditional, you could use other types of sausage, smoked ham, or even shredded chicken.
  • Fish: Although not definitive, adding fish like cod or shellfish like shrimp could create a seafood twist on the soup.
  • Pasta: Small pasta shapes could be added for extra heartiness. However, this is not traditional and may alter the soup’s texture.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables you have on hand. Carrots, leeks, or bell peppers would work well.
Portuguese Kale Soup

Success Tips-Tips And Tricks For Making Portuguese Kale Soup

Success Tips

  • Prepare Ingredients: Ensure all ingredients are fresh and of high quality. Kale, potatoes, onions, and garlic are staples in Portuguese kale soup.
  • Use Chicken or Beef Broth: Select a flavorful chicken or beef broth as the base for the soup. Homemade broth or a good-quality store-bought one will enhance the overall taste.
  • Sauté Aromatics: Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil to create a flavorful base for the soup. This step adds depth to the overall taste.
  • Include Potatoes: Use starchy potatoes like Yukon Gold to provide body and thickness to the soup. Dice them into bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Layered Cooking: Add ingredients in layers, starting with the sausage and aromatics, followed by potatoes, and finally, the kale. This ensures each component is cooked to perfection.

Prepping Tips

  • Soaking the Beans: Don’t skip this step; it ensures the beans cook evenly and become tender. An overnight soak is best, but a quick-soak method can be used if you’re short on time.
  • Chopping the Kale: Try to slice the kale into thin strips, as it traditionally should be. This also helps it to wilt nicely into the soup and makes it easier to eat.
  • Prepare Ingredients in Advance: Chop your vegetables and measure out your ingredients ahead of time for a smoother cooking process.

Cooking Time Tips

  • Don’t Rush the Cooking: Allow the soup to simmer gently to develop the flavors, and ensure all ingredients are well-cooked and tender.
  • Check for Doneness: Test the potatoes and beans for doneness before serving. They should be tender enough to break apart with a fork easily.
  • Adjust Seasonings: Seasonings can diminish over long cooking times. Always taste and adjust the salt and pepper right before serving.

General Success Tips

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh kale and high-quality chorizo will give the best flavor to your soup.
  • Quality Broth: Whether store-bought or homemade, a good broth can elevate your soup’s taste.
  • Serve Hot: Like most soups, Portuguese Kale Soup is best served hot and, if possible, with a side of Portuguese cornbread (broa) for a complete experience.
Portuguese Kale Soup recipe

Nutritional Values 

Portuguese Kale Soup is a nourishing and well-balanced meal. It provides:

  • From the chorizo and pea beans, aiding in muscle growth and repair. 
  • Vitamin K from kale promotes bone health and blood clotting.
  • Iron and zinc from beef bones support immune function and oxygen transport. 
  • From vegetables and beans, promoting digestive health.
  • Chorizo is necessary for absorbing vitamins and producing hormones.

What Are The Total Calories In Portuguese Kale Soup?

The total calorie count in Portuguese Kale Soup can vary depending on the specific ingredients and their quantities, including the type of sausage, the amount of oil, and any additional ingredients.

On average, a one-cup serving of Portuguese Kale Soup might contain around 200-300 calories. This includes energy from the protein in the chorizo and pea beans, carbohydrates from the potatoes and beans, fats from the chorizo, and any added oil.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Soup

Portuguese Kale Soup may not be suitable for all dietary restrictions, but it can be adapted:

  • Gluten-Free: The traditional recipe is gluten-free, as it doesn’t contain wheat or other gluten-containing grains.
  • Dairy-Free: The soup does not typically have any dairy products.
  • Nut-Free: The original recipe is nut-free, making it suitable for individuals with nut allergies.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: The soup has chorizo and beef bones, but these can be replaced with plant-based sausage and vegetable broth for a vegan or vegetarian diet.
  • Low-Carb/Keto: Potatoes and beans add carbs to the soup. For a low-carb or keto diet, replace potatoes with low-carb vegetables and omit the beans.

Health Benefits Of The Soup

Portuguese Kale Soup offers several health benefits due to its nutritious ingredients:

  • High in Fiber: The beans, kale, and cabbage provide dietary fiber, which aids digestion and keeps you feeling full.
  • Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Kale and cabbage contain vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like iron and calcium.
  • Protein Source: The chorizo and pea beans supply good protein, supporting muscle growth and repair.
  • Immune Support: The array of vegetables in this soup provide antioxidants and vitamins that can support immune health.
  • Heart Health: Kale and cabbage are heart-healthy veggies known to support cardiovascular health.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

How Can I Make Portuguese Kale Soup Lower In Sodium?

Lowering the sodium in Portuguese Kale Soup can be achieved through a few simple modifications:

  • Low-Sodium Broth: Use a low-sodium broth or make your own at home to control the salt content.
  • Chorizo: Choose a low-sodium variety of chorizo, or replace it with other low-sodium meats.
  • Seasoning: Add flavor with herbs and spices instead of relying on salt. Garlic, black pepper, and paprika can add a depth of flavor without increasing sodium.
  • Beans: If using canned beans, choose a no-salt-added version or rinse thoroughly before use to remove excess sodium.
  • Taste Test: Always taste the soup before serving and add salt sparingly, if needed.

How Can I Make Portuguese Kale Soup Lower In Sugar?

Traditional Portuguese Kale Soup is already low in sugar, containing no added sugars or sweet ingredients. However, to ensure that it remains low in sugars, consider the following:

  • Chorizo: Some types of chorizo may contain added sugars. Look for brands without added sugars, or consider making your own.
  • Broth: If you’re using store-bought broth, ensure it does not contain added sugars. Making your own is a great way to control what goes in your soup.
  • Beans: If using canned beans, check the label to ensure no additional sugars are added. If sugars are present, rinsing the beans thoroughly before use can help remove some.
  • Vegetables: All vegetables contain natural sugars. However, the amount of kale, cabbage, and potatoes is relatively small and should not significantly impact blood sugar levels.
Portuguese Kale Soup

How To Serve The Portuguese Kale Soup Best? 

Portuguese Kale Soup can be served in several delightful ways:

  • Bread on the Side: Traditionally, this soup is served with a slice of Portuguese cornbread (broa). A crusty baguette or a piece of sourdough bread would also work well.
  • Garnish: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil or a sprinkle of fresh parsley can add a finishing touch.
  • As a Starter: It can be served as a warming starter before a main course.
  • Main Course: This hearty soup can also be satisfying with bread and a side salad.
  • Pairing: Pair it with a glass of vinho verde, a young Portuguese wine, for a complete Portuguese culinary experience.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe

Portuguese Kale Soup is a hearty and filling dish on its own, but here are some side options that could complement it well:

  • Sandwiches: A simple ham and cheese sandwich or a more robust Portuguese bifana (pork) could pair nicely.
  • Salads: A fresh green salad with a lemon vinaigrette or a tomato salad with fresh basil and mozzarella can balance the soup’s richness.
  • First Course: If serving the soup as a starter, a traditional Portuguese main like Bacalhau a Bras (codfish with scrambled eggs and potatoes) or Arroz de Pato (duck rice) could follow.
  • Cheese and Bread: A selection of Portuguese cheeses served with crusty bread can add a touch of luxury.
  • Wine: A crisp, light Portuguese vinho verde or a fuller-bodied Douro red wine would complement the hearty soup nicely.
Portuguese Kale Soup

How Long Can We Store The Portuguese Kale Soup?

Portuguese Kale Soup stores well, making it perfect for meal prepping:

  • Refrigerator: Once cooled, it can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: For longer storage, freeze the soup in freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. It should keep well for about 2-3 months.
  • Reheating: When ready to serve, if refrigerated, reheat on the stove until hot. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Can I Make Portuguese Kale Soup In Advance?

Yes, you can certainly prepare Portuguese Kale Soup in advance:

  • Cooking in Advance: You can make the soup a day or two before you need it. The flavors meld together over time, enhancing the taste.
  • Storing: Once cooled, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • Reheating: When ready to serve, reheat the soup on the stove until it’s hot.
  • Freezing: You can also freeze the soup for 2-3 months.

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

Leftover Portuguese Kale Soup is versatile and can be used in various ways:

  • Next-Day Meal: Leftovers can be reheated for a quick and hearty lunch or dinner the next day.
  • Bread Soup: Pour the reheated soup over stale bread chunks for a different texture and added heartiness. This is a great way to use up stale bread and reduce waste.
  • Soup Base: Use the leftover soup as a base for another soup. Add new vegetables, grains, or proteins to create a unique flavor profile.
  • Freeze: If you can’t consume the leftovers within a few days, freeze them for future use. Remember to store in freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
Portuguese Kale Soup

Special Tools/Equipment Needed 

Making Portuguese Kale Soup requires no special tools or equipment beyond what most kitchens already have. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven: You’ll cook your soup here. A pot with a thick bottom is best for maintaining even heat.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: For chopping the chorizo, cabbage, kale, and potatoes.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: These will help you measure your ingredients accurately.
  • Ladle: Useful for stirring the soup as it cooks and for serving.
  • Colander: If using dried beans, a colander will be useful for rinsing and draining.
  • Slow Cooker or Instant Pot (Optional): You can adapt the recipe to a slow cooker or an Instant Pot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Other Types Of Greens Instead Of Kale In This Recipe?

You can use other leafy greens like collard, spinach, or Swiss chard. However, the flavor profile may change slightly depending on what you use.

What If I Don’t Have Dried Beans? Can I Use Canned Beans Instead?

Certainly, you can! Using canned beans, use 1-1.5 cups for this recipe. Remember to rinse and drain them before adding to the soup. It will also reduce your cooking time.

Can I Make This Soup Without The Meat For A Vegetarian Version?

You can omit the chorizo and use vegetable broth to make a vegetarian version. To add more depth of flavor, you could include smoked paprika or a bit of liquid smoke to mimic the smoky taste of chorizo.

How Can I Make This Soup Creamier Without Adding Cream?

If you’d like a creamier soup, remove some cooked potatoes, mash them, and stir them back into the soup. This will give your soup a creamier texture without adding cream or dairy.

I Find The Soup To Be Too Thick. How Can I Thin It Out?

If your soup is too thick, add more broth or water until you reach your desired consistency. Remember to adjust your seasonings after adding more liquid.

Traditional Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe (Hearty, Warming Soup)

Traditional Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe (Hearty, Warming Soup)

5 from 8 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipes
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

8

hours 

15

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

20

minutes
Calories

250

kcal

Portuguese Kale Soup, also known as Caldo Verde, is a hearty, warming dish steeped in tradition. It blends the earthy flavors of kale, potatoes, and white pea beans with chorizo’s robust, smoky taste, all simmered to perfection in a savory broth. This easy-to-make soup is a staple in Portuguese households. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Pound 1/2 Dried White Pea Beans

  • 1/2 Pound 1/2 Chorizo Sausage, Thinly Sliced

  • 1 Pound 1 Beef Soup Bones

  • 32 Fl.Ounce 32 Water

  • 1 1 Medium Head Cabbage, Chopped

  • 2 Bunches 2 Kale, Rinsed, Dried And Chopped

  • 5 5 Potatoes, Peeled And Cubed

  • 32 fl.ounce 32 Hot Water (Or As Needed)

  • Salt (To Taste)

  • Pepper (To Taste)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Steps
    Begin with soaking the white pea beans in twice their volume of water. This process should take about 8 hours, or leave overnight to ensure they soften and cook evenly.
  • Cooking
    Once the beans have been soaked and drained, place them in a large pot. Add thinly sliced chorizo and beef soup bones to the pot.
    Pour 1 quart of water into the pot, ensuring all ingredients are well covered.
  • Blending
    Place the pot on a stove set to medium heat. Allow the mixture to cook until the beans start to tenderize. This should take approximately 1 hour.
  • Final Touches
    After 1 hour, incorporate the chopped cabbage, kale, and cubed potatoes into the pot. Pour in enough hot water to completely cover the ingredients.
    Continue cooking the mixture until the potatoes become tender. This should take about 20 minutes.
  • Serving
    Finalize your Portuguese Kale Soup with a seasoning of salt and pepper. Adjust these to taste.
  • Additional Options
    You could garnish with some chopped fresh parsley or a drizzle of olive oil for an added flourish. Always serve hot, ideally accompanied by a slice of broa, a traditional Portuguese cornbread. Enjoy this comforting bowl of tradition.

Notes

  • Chorizo Selection: Portuguese chorizo, also known as chouriço, is traditionally used in this soup. If you can’t find it, substitute it with Spanish chorizo or another smoky, flavorful sausage.
  • Kale Preparation: Traditional Caldo Verde uses very thinly sliced kale. Taking the time to slice your kale thinly will produce a more authentic soup.
  • Bean Soaking: Complete the soaking process for the dried beans. This will ensure they cook evenly and become tender in the soup.
  • Adjust to Taste: Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste. You should add more or less of certain ingredients depending on your preference.
  • Serving Suggestion: For an authentic experience, serve your soup with a slice of Portuguese cornbread (broa).
  • Storing and Reheating: Portuguese Kale Soup holds well and can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Always reheat thoroughly before serving.
Hanna Barnes

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