This cozy white bean and kale soup can feed an army on a budget with simple vegetables and a few pantry staples. Busy people and beginner cooks adore this quick, healthy vegetable bean soup made for Instant Pot or stove!
Why you'll love this recipe
White bean kale soup is a delicious, affordable answer to the dinner dilemma most days of the year. This family-friendly Italian soup is the ultimate comfort food made with simple vegetables, a few pantry staples, and fresh kale.
This flavor-loaded vegetable bean soup is so satisfying and comforting, even carnivores won't miss the meat as they happily devour it. I can't tell you how many readers have reached out to me to share this very sentiment. Of course it never hurts to serve this mouthwatering vegetable bean soup with homemade French bread or homemade croutons because, well, soup and bread.
You'll be shocked by the quantity AND delicious flavors you'll get from this combination of affordable, everyday ingredients. When I say eating healthy on a budget is anything but boring, this soup is proof!
- olive oil - Or preferred cooking oil.
- onions, carrots, celery, and garlic - It doesn't get easier than these affordable vegetables to build flavor and volume.
- tomatoes - Use canned diced tomatoes for a brothier soup or canned crushed tomatoes for a slightly thicker soup base such as what you see in my photos. Fresh tomatoes can be substituted but will also extend cook time.
- cooked white beans - Any variety of white beans can be used. Canned beans offer the most convenience while cooking beans from scratch yields more volume for less money. Both options yield delicious results!
- vegetable broth - Use homemade or packaged vegetable broth. I'm a fan of vegetable base for its flavor, value, and minimal space requirement.
- seasonings - This soup can be made with packaged or homemade Italian seasoning. The addition of crushed red pepper gives it the perfect flavor kick.
- salt and pepper - Use as instructed or add to taste.
- fresh kale - Use any kale variety or substitute other greens such as fresh spinach or chard. I used Tuscan kale aka Dinosaur kale or Lacinato kale for this recipe.
- fresh parsley - This is an optional garnish, but always recommended for a pop of color and herbaceous flavor.
How to make this recipe
This kale white bean soup caters to busy people and beginner cooks because of the simple prep and mostly hands-off cooking using an Instant Pot or stove. Enjoy these step-by-step stove instructions with photos. You'll find both methods in the recipe card below.
Saute vegetables in olive oil over medium-high heat until tender. Add tomatoes and beans.
Stir in vegetable broth and seasonings. Increase heat to bring soup to a boil, stirring as needed. Then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until soup ingredients are fully heated, stirring as needed.
Stir kale into soup and continue simmering until it softens to your liking. Or serve immediately, if desired.
Recipe tips and substitutions
When using canned goods such as tomatoes, beans, and vegetable broth, I recommend using low-sodium varieties. If they aren't available, consider reducing the salt amount listed in the recipe.
Cut kale into bite-sized pieces to prevent the long strands that make serving and eating difficult.
This white bean and kale soup will have a tiny kick of heat from the red chili flakes. Consider reducing or omitting these for the family-friendly version. Of course, dial it up a notch if you want it extra spicy!
Frequently asked questions
Any white beans will work for this recipe. Common varieties include navy beans (pictured here), cannellini beans, great northern beans, and white kidney beans.
No. Cooked beans are required for this 30-minute soup recipe since dried beans require significantly longer cook time which would overcook the other ingredients.
Yes! You can substitute equal amounts of any tomato variety, but you should anticipate a slightly longer cooker time. Also, peeling tomatoes is not a requirement.
You can use any variety of kale for this soup such as curly kale, Tuscan kale (aka Dino or Lacinato), Russian red kale, or baby kale. I used Tuscan kale in these recipe photos.
How to freeze vegetable bean soup
First, allow the soup to cool completely. Transfer to airtight freezer containers and place in the freezer. Once frozen, enjoy within 3 months (or longer, if vacuum sealed).
Pro tip: When using zip-top bags, lay the soup bags flat in the freezer so they'll freeze flat for more efficient storage.
More easy soup recipes
Italian White Bean and Kale Soup
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil, or preferred oil
- ½ large White Onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 large Carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 ribs Celery, diced (about 1 cup)
- 5 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 (28 ounce can) Diced Tomatoes or Crushed Tomatoes, don't drain
- 2 (15 ounce cans) Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
- 4 cups Vegetable Broth, or any broth
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt, or more as needed
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper, optional
- 4 cups Kale, any variety
Instant Pot Instructions (* stove instructions in recipe footnotes)
- Select "Sauté" on the Instant Pot and add the OLIVE OIL.
- When the display reads "Hot", add ONIONS, CARROTS, CELERY, and GARLIC; sauté a few minutes until slightly tender, stirring as needed.
- Stir in TOMATOES, WHITE BEANS, VEGETABLE BROTH, ITALIAN SEASONING, CRUSHED RED PEPPER, and SALT.
- Secure the lid and turn the pressure release valve to the "Sealing" position.
- Press "Cancel" on the Instant Pot. Select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" and set the Instant Pot on "High" pressure for 1 minute.Note: In real time, the pot takes about 15 minutes to pressurize and pressure cook the soup for 1 minute.
- When the cycle completes, allow the Instant Pot to sit for 10-15 minutes, undisturbed, for a natural pressure release (NPR).
- Turn the pressure release valve to the "Venting" position to release any remaining steam. Unlock and remove the lid.
- Stir in KALE (or other greens); close lid and rest for 5 minutes to wilt the kale (keep pressure valve open to prevent pressure building again)
- Press "Cancel" or allow the cooker to stay in "Keep Warm" mode.
Serving and storage
- Serve warm. Garnish options: lemon zest, fresh parsley, croutons, or grated Parmesan cheese.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months (longer if vacuum-sealed).
Traci's Recipe Notes
- In a 3 ½ quart soup pot on medium-high heat, heat OLIVE OIL until it shimmers (about 2 minutes).
- Add ONIONS, CARROTS, CELERY, and GARLIC; sauté a few minutes until slightly tender, stirring as needed.
- Stir in TOMATOES, VEGETABLE STOCK, BEANS, SALT, ITALIAN SEASONING, and (optional) CRUSHED RED PEPPER.
- Bring the bean soup just to a boil, then lower heat and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Continue with step #8 in the instructions above.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.