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Cranberry Bean, Tuscan Kale and Pasta Soup

December 2, 2008

You probably think I’ve gone off the deep end.  Brussels sprouts?  Kale?  But I promise you, these recipes are amazing and will make you appreciate winter vegetables.  This is another recipe from the Wednesday Chef (via Amy Scattergood) that I made last night because it seemed like a healthy bounce-back from Thanksgiving, and it enabled me to use up dribs and drabs of pasta, beans and herbs I have hanging around the house.  I think I’m about to officially start my kitchen pantry clean up operation so I can get rid of bits of things that are taking up space.  This recipe is deceptively simple, but really rich and flavorful since you eat the bean broth.  And it’s vegetarian, possibly vegan if you leave out the cheese.  It’s a perfect hearty, warming winter meal.


2 T olive oil

2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and sliced (about 2 cups)

2 medium carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

3 c dried cranberry beans

Kosher salt

2 bunches Tuscan kale (also called Dinosaur kale or Lacinato kale), cleaned, stemmed and coarsely chopped

3 c dried orecchiette pasta

1 T minced fresh sage

1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped

1 1/2 T smoked paprika

1 1/2 T Hungarian paprika

1/8 t lemon juice or vinegar

Grated Parmesan cheese, for garish


In a large soup pot, heat 2 T olive oil over medium-low heat and cook the leeks, carrots and onion until softened, 7-9 minutes.

Add the dried beans and 12 cups of water, then bring to a simmer over high heat.  Reduce heat to low so its at a simmer and cover the pot with the lid, stirring occasionally.  After 45 minutes, add 1 T of kosher salt, stir and cover.  Cook for additional 45 minutes to an hour, until beans are tender.

When beans are tender, remove 1 c of cooked beans (without liquid) and 2 T of the bean liquor from the pot.  Put in a food processor and add the sage, parsley, both paprikas and lemon juice or vinegar, plus salt to taste.  Process to a smooth paste and add more bean liquor, if necessary.

Meanwhile, cook orecchiette until al dente, according to package directions.  Drain and reserve.

Add kale by handfuls, one at a time, to pot.  Stir each handful until wilted, then add more.  When all kale is added, cover pot and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until kale is tender.

To serve: spoon some cooked pasta into a bowl and ladel in the soup mixture.  Add 2 T of bean puree into bowl and stir into soup.  Top with grated Parmesan and serve.  (You can add all of the coooked pasta into the soup, but it might get mushy the next day.  I keep it seperate and add at the end)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    November 7, 2010 1:06 pm

    I made this for dinner last night after being reminded of it when I saw some cranberry beans at the grocery store and it was great. Very hearty winter meal! Dan had his vegetarian and I threw in some leftover pulled pork from a restaurant the night before – both were yummy.

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