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PASTA AND BEAN SOUP with KALE

top down view of freshly made pot of pasta and bean soup with kale.

5 from 2 reviews

Pasta and Bean Soup (aka pasta Fagioli) with kale is an easy 1-pot recipe that’s hearty enough to enjoy all year round. Change up the beans and greens to suit your taste. Vegan, with an oil-free option!

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water (for water saute)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme or 2 tablespoons fresh
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage, optional
  • 23 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • a pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • 3 cans (15oz) beans (black-eyed peas, pinto, white, or kidney), drained and rinsed – or 1 pound dried beans, cooked (black-eyed peas, cranberry, or great northern beans)
  • 8 oz of pasta of choice
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, with the juices
  • 23 bay leaves
  • 8 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (about 4 loose cups), center stems removed, and roughly chopped
  • salt & cracked pepper, to taste

To serve

Instructions

Saute: In a large pot, add oil/water and heat over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, saute for 5 minutes. Add in the thyme, paprika, optional sage, and red pepper flakes, cook 1 more minute, or until fragrant.

Simmer: Add the beans, pasta, tomatoes, bay leaves, and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in the kale to soften and wilt (if you prefer very soft kale, add it 5 minutes before soup is done. Remove bay leaves before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve: We love adding a squeeze of lemon to our serving bowl for brightness. And for soaking up the juices, this homemade Artisan Bread is delicious!

Serves 6 generously.

Store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 – 7 days. For longer storage, keep in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer-safe containers. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Notes

If starting with dried beans. Pre-soak your beans overnight, or at least 8 hours in a large pot of water filled two to three inches above the beans. Drain and rinse well, set aside. After pre-soaking, beans will need to cook and simmer at different lengths of times before using. Cranberry beans need 45 minutes or so cooking time, while northern beans & black-eyed peas need about 1 – 2 hours. Follow this guide for further cooking times depending on your beans of choice: Cooking Beans

Feel free to use 3 cans (15 oz) beans such as kidney, cannellini, pinto, or northern in place of dried beans. Just be sure to drain and rinse them. Skip the first step and go right into step 2 instead.

I’ve also used a mix of canned kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans, and have even added in some mushrooms and used quinoa pasta. It just goes to show how very versatile the recipe is – almost anything goes and it’s still delicious!

Use any pasta type you like from shells, macaroni, penne, bowtie, ditalini, etc. My pasta grain of choice is spelt, quinoa, or rice pasta. The latter two are gluten-free. If you’re not gluten intolerant you can use spelt and whole wheat. If you’re not following any sort of diet, use whatever pasta you prefer.

If you don’t have garlic on hand, use 1 teaspoon garlic powder when adding the other herbs and spices.

This recipe has been updated to cook in 1 pot using canned or pre-cooked dried beans. The original recipe using dried beans and cooking the pasta separately can be found here: Original Pasta and Bean Soup Recipe