Tuscan Kale Vegetable Soup is a rich, hearty, and delicious soup filled with lots of veggies, creamy cannellini beans, ground beef, and kale. An easy weeknight dinner recipe that's even better the next day!
When the weather turns cool, there's nothing more comforting than a big pot of soup simmering on the stove. Except maybe a pan of apple crisp in the oven :).
This easy Tuscan bean soup is perfect for warming you up from the inside out and soothing your soul. And way better than anything you'll find in the grocery store.
The ground beef and white beans are hearty and filling and the vegetables are bountiful and nourishing. As for the flavorful broth, it's incredibly rich and satisfying -- and absolutely delicious sopped up with a piece of crusty bread.
It’s really easy to make, the leftover soup is amazing, and it freezes well. It’s also a budget-friendly meal and a great way to stretch a half pound of ground beef into a full meal.
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See recipe card for full list of ingredients.
Celery, carrots, and onions. The classic combination of carrots, celery, and onion is a flavorful base for this Tuscan white bean kale soup.
Lean ground beef. A half pound of lean ground beef is all this soup needs. Italian sausage would also be a great option.
Red pepper flakes. Just a pinch of red pepper jazzes up the ground beef. It's not spicy, but if you're at all worried about it, you can leave it out.
Beef broth. I like to use low sodium beef broth. Beef broth is a natural fit with the ground beef, but you can also use vegetable stock, chicken stock, or whatever you have on hand.
Tomato sauce. Tomato sauce adds richness to the beef broth.
Diced tomatoes with juice. The whole can, juice and all, gets added to this soup.
Cannellini beans. Creamy cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, add heartiness and healthy protein to this Tuscan soup. For a substitute, Great Northern beans are a great choice.
Corn. I use frozen corn, but you can also use fresh.
Green beans. Frozen or fresh green beans will work.
Tuscan kale. A hearty soup calls for a hearty green like kale. It adds texture, color, and earthy flavor and wilts down in the loveliest of ways. Tuscan kale, also called lacinato kale or dinosaur kale, is a milder, sweeter variety of kale, which is perfect for this recipe where it gets added at the very end.
Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped celery, carrots, onion, salt, and black pepper. Stir occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender.
Add the ground beef, fresh garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Use a wooden spoon to break up the ground beef into small pieces. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.
Stir in the tomato paste.
Add the beef broth, tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, drained cannellini beans, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves.
Simmer for 30-35 minutes to allow the broth to reduce and concentrate the flavors.
Add the corn, green beans, and zucchini. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes or until the zucchini is tender. If you prefer firmer zucchini, add it a few minutes after the corn and green beans.
Keep in mind, the vegetables will simmer for a few more minutes while the kale softens. To avoid overcooking the zucchini, add the kale while the zucchini is just tender.
Add the kale and simmer for 2-5 minutes or until the kale has softened to your liking.
Remove the bay leaves.
Ladle into individual bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
Storage & Freezing
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
This Tuscan kale soup recipe is also freezer-friendly. Place soup in a freezer-safe container or ladle individual portions into ziptop freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
The consistency of the broth should be somewhat reduced before adding the zucchini, green beans, and corn. It should be thin and soup-like, but richer and thicker than when you started.
If it's ever too watery, let it simmer a bit longer. If it has reduced down too much, add more broth or some water.
Be careful not to overcook the zucchini until it is mushy. If you prefer firmer zucchini, add it a few minutes before you add the kale.
Tuscan kale is less bitter than curly kale and other varieties of kale, so it doesn’t need to cook for very long. Add it right at the end and simmer it until it reaches your preferred texture.
Yes, this Tuscan white bean soup recipe freezes well! Just place it in a freezer safe container and store for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator or microwave.
To cut kale for soup:
1. Fold a leaf in half -- like a book, with the stem to one side.
2. Run your knife alongside the stem to slice it away.
3. Stack the leaves and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
It can if it cooks for too long. For soft, tender zucchini, add it during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. Adjust cooking time up or down according to your preferences.
This Lodge cast iron Dutch oven is handy for making soups and casseroles -- and it looks good enough to go from the stove to the table.
My pretty bowl is this Mikasa Delray bowl. It's a lovely size for pasta, salads, and soups.
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Tuscan Kale Vegetable Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 8 ounces lean ground beef
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup chopped green beans, fresh or frozen
- 1 medium halved and sliced zucchini
- 2 packed cups chopped kale
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Add the chopped celery, carrots, onion, salt, and black pepper. Stir occasionally for 5-6 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender.
- Add the ground beef, garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Use a wooden spoon to break up the ground beef into small pieces. Cook until the beef is no longer pink. Stir in the tomato paste.
- Add the beef broth, tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, drained cannellini beans, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves.
- Simmer for 30-35 minutes to reduce the broth and concentrate the flavors (see notes*).
- Add the corn, green beans, and zucchini. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes or until the zucchini is just tender (see notes**).
- Add the kale and simmer for 2-5 minutes or until the kale has softened to your liking. Remove the bay leaves.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and crusty bread.
Storage & Freezing
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.Place soup in a freezer-safe container or ladle individual portions into ziptop freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.