Healthy, hardy soup packed with kale, tomatoes, and white beans to give you comfort on a cold day.

Kale, tomato, bean soup, healthy, cooking for a crowdLast night we went to a party to celebrate a milestone birthday of a good friend. He was turning 60 and his wife threw a party at a local restaurant. Forty of us showed up for the feast, fun, and laughter; and something more.

While we sipped wine and noshed on crabcakes, a nearby screen flashed photos of his childhood, wedding day, their two smiling children in various stages of growing up, and travels to all corners of the earth. Scenes from Antarctica, Nepal, Argentina, New Zealand and Mount Kilimanjaro spilled into the room, along with photos from the many marathons/triathlons/ironmans/century bike rides the host has participated in. Many of our photos were up there too, part of his extended family.

As one by one, people stood up after dinner to share a story about him (our admission ticket of sorts), I began to reflect on what makes a life well-lived.

Work that fulfills us, and fills our days with meaningful labor surely goes in the ‘plus’ column.

Making enough money to give our loved ones, and ourselves, the lifestyle we want is usually high on the list too.

But in the frenzy of life, it’s easy to forget that it’s so much more than that.

What I witnessed last night was the bountiful yield reaped from a lifetime of emotional investing: in creating a strong marriage with his wonderful wife, who I’m happy to call a close friend; in raising two happy, emotionally and physically healthy adult children who stood up to share with us how much they love him; and a roomful of friends who know they can call on him (or his wife) day or night if they need someone.

This wasn’t an epiphany – it’s something we all know, and I think, try to do as best we can. Some days we do a lot better than other days, and I’m sure that’s true for him too.

I’m married to someone who has also lived a well-lived and emotionally generous life, as evidenced by his strong relationship with his step-children, our grandchildren, friends, and colleagues. It strikes me that anyone who finds a life partner, raises children, or has a close-knit extended family, is served up opportunities for this emotional investment. But for me, an only child of two parents who weren’t particularly family oriented by their own admission, with a very small extended family I only got to know as an adult, my life has been more solitary. I have a solid circle of close friends who’ve been in my life for a very long time, who have enriched my life immensely, and to whom I hope I’ve been a good friend. But I’ve lived alone for most of my life, need a certain amount of solitude every day, and have been drawn into the deeper commitment of family later in life. So last night was a powerful reminder of the importance of emotional generosity, of investing in others without weighing out the convenience (or the lack of it). Because it is this, that in the end makes a life worth living. It is a well-lived life.

Which brings us to #SundaySupper and its mission to draw family members away from the distractions of the day to a common table, to break bread together, and share food, conversation, and piece of themselves with each other. And today, I’m sharing this soup with you as part of this week’s #Sunday Supper dinner.

This has been my go-to soup for the last few months. Like a well-lived life, it makes me feel good; all nice and warm inside. I hope it makes you feel the same way.


Smoky Kale, Tomato and Bean Soup

     by Susan Pridmore

     Serves 8

       Prep Time: 15 minutes

       Cook Time: 3 hours (not including cooking


  • 6 slices bacon, cut into lardons (optional)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 6 stalks celery, sliced horizontally
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 large twigs of thyme
  • 2 dried chipotle peppers (optional)
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) harissa (or make your own!)
  • 3 cups cooked white navy beans (with 1 cup of cooking liquid)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (including the reserved 1 cup of cooking liquid from the beans)
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I only use San Marzano tomatoes in a can – it’s worth the extra money IMHO)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 – 6 cups kale, deveined, and sliced in thick slices (I use Dinosaur / Lacinato kale for this soup)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Day-old (or fresh) bread for croutons
  • Olive oil
  • garlic powder


Add the bacon lardons to a large soup pot over medium heat, and sauté until crispy.

Add the diced onion and celery slices, and sauté until just tender. Add the garlic, dried rosemary, and fresh thyme and continue to sauté for an additional two minutes.

Add the dried chipotle peppers and wine, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the harissa (a spicy Moroccan condiment available in most specialty stores), the cooked beans, broth, and diced tomatoes, and simmer for 2 hours at a low simmer. This concentrates the flavors beautifully.

Season with salt and pepper, and add the kale just before serving. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a handful of garlic croutons.

To make the garlic croutons, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice up day-old or fresh bread into cubes. Toss in olive oil and garlic powder – enough to lightly coat them, and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly crisped. The croutons can be stored in a plastic bag for one week in the refrigerator, or frozen for two months in the freezer.

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And now, please go visit with the rest of the #SundaySupper family to see what soups they brought to the table this week for us.

Sunday Supper Movement

Of course once you have seen all of the recipes for the day, you’ll not want to miss our  #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday

We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. This week we will be sharing out special soup recipes!

Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun.

Follow the#SundaySupper hash tag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

Don’t forget to check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Join us Around the Family Table this Sunday at 7pm Eastern Time and share your favorite soup, stew, chowder or bisque recipes with us!

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58 Responses to “Smoky Kale and White Bean Soup: #SundaySupper” Subscribe

  1. Jen @JuanitasCocina February 24, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Bacon AND kale? I’ll take the whole pot please!
    Jen @JuanitasCocina recently posted..Strawberry Soup ~ Souper #SundaySupper!My Profile

  2. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers February 24, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    Your soup is beautiful and the crackers you have with it look delish!!

  3. Liz February 24, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    What an important message! As our parents are aging and facing physical challenges, I’m focusing on how blessed I’ve been to have such caring family in my life. PS…your soup photos are as stunning as this dish must be tasty.
    Liz recently posted..Chili with Black Beans…#SundaySupper, #SouperSundaySupperMy Profile

  4. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen February 24, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    That first pic is enough to draw me in, but your whole post is so wonderful and meaningul Susan! So many things become obvious as we age, but really it´s impossible to understand them when we´re younger.
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen recently posted..Bread and Tomato Soup – Gazpacho Style #SundaySupperMy Profile

  5. Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips February 24, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    What beautiful sentiments, and what a beautiful soup.
    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips recently posted..Cheesy Chipotle Chicken Sausage Chowder for a Soup-er #SundaySupperMy Profile

  6. Bea February 24, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Such a beautiful post!!!

    This soup sounds fantastic – anything with Kale is a winner by my book! Lacitnato is my favorite type of Kale :)
    Bea recently posted..Swabian Beef Spaetzle +1 Soup {Gaisburger Marsch} for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  7. Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious February 24, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Emotional generosity…love the phrase and the concept.
    Also love your soup, which I am motivated to go put on the stove RIGHT NOW!
    Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious recently posted..Chicken Soup with Leeks, Onions and Fennel for Souper #SundaySupperMy Profile

  8. Tara February 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    Wow, that is an amazing soup!! So chocked full of flavor. I love it!!

  9. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts February 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    What a great family to be a part of! The soup looks hearty and delicious!

  10. Cut `n Clean Greens February 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Another winning kale recipe! We’re going to declare Kale Soup Week and share this link on our Facebook page. Everyone should make it! Love the harissa in here, too — an underused spice.

    If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on super healthy greens like kale, chard, beet, mustard, turnip, collard, escarole and other green leafies. https://www.facebook.com/Cut.n.Clean.Greens

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut `n Clean Greens

  11. DB-The Foodie Stuntman February 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    A great soup and a great story!
    DB-The Foodie Stuntman recently posted..Miso Soup for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  12. EA-The Spicy RD February 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Such a lovely post, and a gorgeous bowl of soup to boot!

  13. Lane @ Supper for a Steal February 25, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    What a great post! And this soup sounds amazing.
    Lane @ Supper for a Steal recently posted..Birthday Week CelebrationMy Profile

  14. lizthechef February 25, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    I am again reminded of how much we have in common in terms of family background – lovely post. And the soup looks good too 😉
    lizthechef recently posted..A Winter Cocktail, The SidecarMy Profile

  15. Rodger Helwig February 25, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Got a preview of this soup last week when Susan brought it to a pot luck. It is fantastic! Way to go, girl.

  16. Sarah February 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Mmm, love harissa in this!
    Sarah recently posted..Rather French Onion Soup for a Souper #SundaySupperMy Profile

  17. Renee February 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    What a lovely and heartfelt post. It is those times with family and special friends that remind us of the important things in our lives. It’s good that you have found special friends and extended family to share those wonderful times.
    Nice addition of kale to this soup. It is a nice color against the tomato and white beans plus what a healthy kick too!
    Renee recently posted..Spicy Sweet Potato and Corn Soup for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  18. Family Foodie February 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful post. One that I certainly can relate to. I too am an “only” and being the daughter of immigrant parents, felt very alone growing up without aunts, uncles or cousins.
    You are so right when you talk about emotional generosity. That is something I hope to instill in my children.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!
    Family Foodie recently posted..This Week’s #WeekdaySupper RecipesMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 25, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

      Thanks so much Isabel. I think it’s one of the things that really drew me to this wonderful #SundaySupper group – the sense of family you have created. Thanks for sharing your experience here – I totally get that. And it sounds to me like you’ve definitely instilled it in your children :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..#SundaySupper: Smoky Kale, Tomato and White Bean SoupMy Profile

  19. Alaiyo Kiasi-Barnes February 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm #


    I’m smitten with your soup. It’s the picture of comfort, and I love bean soups with greens above all else. I’ll be trying this recipe. Kudos!

    Alaiyo Kiasi-Barnes recently posted..Shrimp Miso Noodle Soup #SundaySupperMy Profile

  20. Jennie @themessybakerblog February 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Susan, this is such a lovely post. It sounds like you have some wonderful friends and family. This soup looks absolutely amazing.
    Jennie @themessybakerblog recently posted..Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Banana Muffins ~ #MuffinMondayMy Profile

  21. chatteringkitchen February 26, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    This looks so delicious

  22. Courtney @ Neighborfood February 26, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    What a lovely post! I love the phrase “emotional generosity.” What a great challenge for all of us. Sometimes that generosity is scary, risky even, but what wonderful rewards we reap when we’re brave enough to invest in the lives of others. On a side note, this soup looks incredible! Perfect for a Sunday Supper!
    Courtney @ Neighborfood recently posted..ONE: The Great Fair Trade Chocolate Chip ExperimentMy Profile

  23. Kim Beaulieu February 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Beautiful soup and even more beautiful sentiment. I learned so much about life and priorities when my dad was sick. It was like light bulbs went off. Great food with great company always ranks high on the list of things to spend time doing.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      It’s so true (and sad) that we really focus in on this when someone close to us is seriously ill, or dies. I look at some families raising kids, and wonder where they find the emotional time and energy for what they’re doing, but then remember that there’s so much energy that comes back to refresh you too.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..#SundaySupper: Smoky Kale, Tomato and White Bean SoupMy Profile

  24. Heather @girlichef February 27, 2013 at 6:41 am #

    I love every single thing about this bowl of soup…it sounds like pure comfort. Though I come from a family of 4 children, we didn’t necessarily grow up with parents (or other family members for that matter) who were emotionally generous. I’ve tried very much to change that with my own actions. Thank you for the reminder.
    Heather @girlichef recently posted..Potato (Aloo) Samosas …inspired by Today’s Special {food ‘n flix}My Profile

  25. Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite February 28, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Oh wow this recipe sounds so amazing, I have pinned it for later.

  26. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom February 28, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    oh wow! this soup looks absolutely delicious! I love it and am going to make this!!! yum!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted..Shaved Zucchini with Ricotta and Walnuts + The Newlywed Cookbook Giveaway!My Profile

  27. I WIlkerson February 28, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    I am very kale-challenged, but this soup looks like a real possibility. Now I can look forward to the first kale in the CSA boxes!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      I was kale challenged for years. I kept trying and just didn’t like it. But I made up my mind to figure out recipes that I could enjoy, and then kept adding on. Now I love it. But it took awhile to get there :-). I hope you give it a try – I think you’ll like it as the kale is more of an accent, and takes on the smoky tomato flavors of the soup.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..#SundaySupper: Smoky Kale, Tomato and White Bean SoupMy Profile

  28. Mare February 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Susan, I love the sound of your recipe. I’ve been on a minestrone soup binge lately after reading The Prejudice Palate by Angelo Pellegrino. Your soup fits right in . Isn’t it wonderful to have friends who have a lifetime of friends and stories to share!
    Mare recently posted..THE PEASANT’S MINESTRONEMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian March 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Thanks so much Mare – and it’s great to hear from you. We’re in Tahoe, and will be mostly here for awhile now. I’m not familiar with The Prejudiced Palate – but the title interests me. I’ll have to look into it. So wish we could get together soon- I keep thinking life will slow down :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Adzuki Beans with Miso and Chopped KaleMy Profile

  29. Julia | JuliasAlbum.com March 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    Wow, this soup is so appetizing-looking! It would be so good on a cold night.
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com recently posted..Breakfast flank steak and eggs with guacamoleMy Profile

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