Creamy White Bean and Kale Soup - Alina Reyzelman

Creamy White Bean and Kale Soup

With a smoky flavor and subtle heat, this cozy soup will make you think it has the richness of meat even though (spoiler) it’s totally vegan.

When the weather cools and I’m craving a soup that will warm me up and make me feel totally cozy, this creamy white bean and kale soup is the one I always make. It has the velvety-smooth, ultra-creamy texture and heartiness that I want, while managing to feel wholesome rather than heavy. Plus, it has a smoky flavor with a little bit of heat that makes it taste almost meaty, although it’s actually vegan.

How to Make a Creamy Soup Without Cream

One of the best things about this white bean and kale soup is the creamy base. It has a lush and velvety smooth texture that’s incredibly cozy and satisfying, without being too thick or overly rich. And you don’t need a drop of cream  — or any sort of dairy, for that matter — to make this super-creamy soup. Here, the creaminess comes from puréeing some of the beans, broth, and sautéed vegetables, then stirring it back into the pot.

How to Make Creamy White Bean and Kale Soup

  • Sauté vegetables and aromatics. Like many soup bases, you’ll start by cooking a mix of onion, carrot, and celery until softened, then stir in garlic, smoked paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  • Add broth and boil. Once fragrant, add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Purée. Transfer about half of the soup (broth, beans, and vegetables) to a regular or high-speed blender and purée until smooth. Return the purée to the pot. I don’t recommend an immersion blender because it doesn’t yield as smooth of a texture and, in a very short time, can purée too many of the beans and vegetables.
  • Add kale and continue to simmer. Add the chopped lacinato kale and simmer just until tender and vibrant green.
  • Stir in vinegar. Adding just a little bit of acid once the soup is off the heat brightens the flavor and prevents it from tasting flat.
  • Enjoy. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary. Ladle into bowls and prepare for serious coziness.


  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium celery stalk
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf lacinato kale (about 8 ounces)
  • 3 (about 15-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini or great northern
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (32-ounce) carton low-sodium vegetable broth (about 4 cups)
  • teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same bowl as you complete it: Dice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 1/2 cups). Peel and dice 1 medium carrot (about 1/2 cup). Dice 1 medium celery stalk (about 1/3 cup).

  2. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Remove and discard the center ribs from 1 small bunch kale; coarsely chop the leaves (about 5 cups). Drain and rinse 3 (about 15-ounce) cans white beans.

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  4. Add the beans and stir to combine. Add 1 (32-ounce) carton low-sodium vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

  5. Ladle about half of the soup into a blender. Blend, starting at low speed and gradually increasing to high speed until smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Return to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Add the kale and cook until tender and vibrant green, 3 to 5 minutes.

  6. Remove from the heat. Add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as desired.