Ready for the BEST white bean and kale soup you'll ever try? With the added chicken, this is one comforting and satisfying pot to feed a hungry crowd! And you'll love the flavors from onions, garlic, warm spices, and a hint of Parmesan. A splash of lemon juice adds just enough zing and rounds out the flavor beautifully! Take just over 30 minutes to cook, but you can also make it in the crockpot (instructions included.) Gluten Free. And less than 300 calories per serving!
Because we eat the Mediterranean way around here, beans are a staple in my kitchen (whether canned or dry.) Lucky for us, they are affordable; easy to use; and super satisfying.
Beans, like other legumes, are also a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, and iron. That's why I use them regularly in things like bean and broccoli pasta; bean soup with tomato pesto; or Greek Fasolada (all three are worth a try at some point, but first, today's white bean chicken soup!)
In today's recipe, two humble cans of white beans are transformed into a delicious one-pot dinner: white bean and kale soup with chicken.
This is a great weeknight option, and you'll love all the flavors, thanks to aromatics, a couple warm spices, and Parmesan cheese rind! A squeeze of lemon juice rounds out the flavor and adds just enough zing to wake everything up in this warm-your-belly soup.
I almost always make this soup on the stove-top because it takes minimal prep and just over 30 minutes to cook, but if you prefer to use your crockpot or slow cooker, that will work too. I've included crockpot instructions below.
White Bean and Kale Soup with Chicken
A few simple, easy-to-find ingredients come together in this one-pot white bean and kale soup.
1. White Beans. Either great northern or cannellini beans will work here, but I find cannellini beans to have more of a nutty taste and a creamier, more tender texture. For a shortcut, I used canned beans here, but if you have the time and want to start with dry beans, you certainly can (I have the instructions for how to soak and cook dry beans below.)
2. Kale. White beans and kale are a great match! You'll need about 8 oz of kale in this recipe, and I like to trim the thick stems, then chop the kale into thin strips. If you don't love kale, I think a handful of baby spinach will work. If you end up using baby spinach instead, just throw them in toward the end of your cooking time; spinach doesn't need a ton of time to cook.
3. Boneless Chicken. You'll need just around one pound of boneless, skinless chicken. You can use either thighs or breast meat. Because chicken breasts alone can be bland and won't add any richness or flavor to this soup, I like to use a bit of thighs as well.
Cut the chicken up into small bite size pieces before cooking. And the first step I take with this bean chicken soup is to actually brown the chicken in a little extra virgin olive oil; a great way to develop flavor right off the bat.
4. Flavor Makers. This is no plain bean soup; there is a ton of flavor going on here thanks to onions, garlic, spices--coriander, cumin, rosemary, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. But the secret ingredient that brings all the umami and richness to this soup is a small Parmesan cheese rind. Since I last used a small cheese rind in this minestrone soup, I've been keeping those last bits of Parmesan cheese for such soupy occasions. So good!
To finish things up, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to round out the flavor, adding just enough zing to wake everything up. And, once the soup is transferred to serving bowls, I like to add a drizzle of this Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil for that added bit of velvety, rich finish.
Can I use Dry Beans Instead of Canned Beans in this White Bean Chicken Soup?
Yes! If you have some dry white beans that you'd like to use here instead, bu all means!
How much dry beans do you need for this recipe?
Roughly 1 cup of dry beans will produce about 3 cups of cooked or canned beans. In this recipe, I used 2 15-oz cans of beans, which yields just over 3 cups of beans. So you need to start with just over 1 cup dry white beans for this recipe. From there, you have two extra steps before following the recipe for stovetop white bean and kale soup:
1. Soak the Dry Beans Overnight
Start with soaking them in plenty of water overnight. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
2. How to Cook Dry White Beans
Cooking dry beans is simple, but it does add a couple of hours to this recipe. You can do this step one night in advance and store the beans (once cooled) in your fridge.
To cook, place the beans (after having been soaked) in a large pot and cover with water by about 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam that bubbles up to the top. Turn heat down and let simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours or until beans are soft. Use the cooked beans in the recipe the same way you would use canned beans.
Can I Make This White Bean Soup in the Crockpot or Slow Cooker?
Crockpot white bean and kale soup is a snitch to make! I do still like to brown my chicken first, before throwing everything in the crockpot. Here's how it goes
- Brown chicken pieces in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer chicken to your crockpot or slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (EXCEPT the kale). Give things a stir. Cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. About 45 minutes before you're ready to unplug the crockpot, stir in the kale and cook till tender.
What to Serve with this Soup?
The whole idea of a one-pot dinner is that one doesn't have to add much else to it. For me, a good piece of crusty bread next to this white bean soup seals the deal. But it's never a bad idea to start with a little salad like this simple Mediterranean salad or Greek salad.
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Ready for the BEST white bean and kale soup you'll ever try? With the added chicken, this is one comforting and satisfying pot to feed a hungry crowd! And you'll love the flavors from onions, garlic, warm spices, and a hint of Parmesan. A splash of lemon juice adds just enough zing and rounds out the flavor beautifully! Minimal prep, and just over 30 minutes to cook (or you can make it in the crock-pot if you prefer.) Gluten Free. And less than 300 calories per serving!
- Extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest Greek EVOO)
- 1 lb boneless chicken, cut into small bites
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes, more for later
- ¾ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp dry rosemary
- 2 15-oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed, smash contents of 1 can for texture
- 8 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable broth will work here)
- 8 oz kale leaves, cut into ½ inch strips (no thick stems)
- 2 inch piece Parmesan cheese rind
- 1 to 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add chicken. Cook, tossing regularly until browned (about 5 to 7 minutes). Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Transfer chicken to a side plate for now.
- In the same pot, add onions and saute for about 4 minutes over medium heat, tossing regularly until softened (if needed, add a little more extra virgin olive oil.) Add garlic, red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, and rosemary. Stir to combine. Cook for 30 seconds and up 1 minute over medium heat (watch to make sure garlic does not burn.)
- Return chicken to the pot, add white beans (both the whole and smashed beans), broth, kale, and cheese rind.
- Raise the heat and bring to a boil for 5 minutes (make sure to skim any foam that bubbles up on top.) Turn heat to low. Partially cover the pot, leaving a small opening for the soup to breath. Cook for 25 minutes or until everything is cooked through and the kale softens to your liking.
- Remove cheese rind. Test and adjust seasonings, adding more of any of the spices used to your liking.
- Finally, stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to serving bowls and add a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.
- Instructions for Crockpot white bean and kale soup: follow instructions for browning the chicken (step 1), then transfer to your crockpot. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the kale, and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Be sure to stir the kale in about 45 minutes or so before soup is done cooking.
- Tip for using dry beans instead of canned beans in this recipe: If you have some dry white beans that you'd like to use instead, you will need just over 1 cup of dry beans. Start with soaking them in plenty of water overnight. Drain and rinse well with cold water. To cook the beans before using in this recipe, place them in a large pot and cover with water by about 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam that bubbles up to the top. Turn heat down and let simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours or until beans are soft. Use cooked beans in this recipe by following instructions above. (If you're making your white bean soup in the crockpot, it's still a good idea to soak the dry beans overnight, but you can through them in the crockpot from there with the rest of the ingredient and let cook until the beans are fully tender.)
- Recommended for this Recipe: Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil. And from our all-natural spice collection: coriander, cumin, and rosemary.
- Visit Our Online Shop to browse our collection of extra virgin olive oil, Mediterranean spices and more!
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: White Bean and Kale Soup, White Bean Soup, White Bean Chicken Soup