Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale

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Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale is no ordinary soup! It has a super creamy texture without any dairy or nuts and features wholesome and comforting yet gourmet flavor boosters. A weeknight dinner or meal prep must (16 fiber + 19g protein!).
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 50 mins
5 from 300 votes

Easy, wholesome, and comforting is the name of the game in this Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale. Its luscious texture will feed your soul while the unique flavors and zesty finish will keep you coming back for more.

As someone who gravitates towards hyper-flavorful curries and Asian-inspired soups, I knew I needed to work extra hard to make the flavors pop in this white bean soup. 

So I used three techniques for an epic flavored soup: a bouquet garni, gremolata, and finishing with olive oil. The bursts of refreshing, herbaceous, zingy, and comforting flavors here feel like fireworks.

And you agree! This white bean soup has racked up 250+ five-star reviews!

Overhead shot of woman's hand dipping spoon into white bean soup with herbs and lemon on the side

Why this recipe works

Major creaminess.

This white bean soup gets its natural creaminess from just two ingredients: white beans and potatoes. No dairy, coconut milk, or cashews needed!

When partially blended, the cannellini beans and potatoes become velvety smooth while naturally thickening the soup.

Just don’t forget the crusty bread for dipping! 

Gourmet flavors but wholesome. 

There are three techniques that make this soup a flavor bomb.

  • A bouquet garni, a French term for a bundle of herbs tied together. A bundle of fresh rosemary & sage + bay leaves infuses every spoonful with layers of deep woodsy flavors.
  • A gremolata is stirred into each bowl of soup before serving. Made with just parsley, basil, lemon zest, and garlic, it takes mere minutes to make but adds a zesty, lemony pop to each bite.
  • A drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil at the end adds rich mouthfeel and body to this veggie-packed soup.

Despite being gourmet and creamy, this soup is 100% wholesome and allergen-friendly (free of nuts, soy, gluten, and dairy).

It’s packed with five(!) veggies, 19g of protein, and 16g of fiber!

Surprisingly easy!

First of all, you probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen and pantry. 

Second, it’s made in just one pot. Just use an immersion blender to blend roughly half the soup right in the pot.

If you want to make prep time quicker, I recommend one of these ninja vegetable choppers (we recently got one and just wow!) (affiliate link). 

You can also make this white bean kale soup in your Instant Pot (check out the FAQ section for instructions).

Perfect for meal prep.

No more searching high and low for perfect vegan meal prep recipes. This white bean and kale soup is easy to prepare ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge throughout your work week. 

Plus, cannellini beans are an amazing source of protein (17g in just 1 cup!), helping you stay full throughout the day.

white bean soup with kale and gremolata in dutch oven

Ingredient notes

ingredients for white bean soup on cutting board with ingredients labeled

Fresh herbs. To make the bouquet garni, I use fresh sage and rosemary, plus dried bay leaves. All three pair really well with white beans.

Substitute: You can replace sage or rosemary with fresh thyme. While dried herbs can be used in a pinch, they simply do not add the same punch of flavor.

Cannellini beans. AKA white kidney beans. These are some of the creamiest beans out there. They’re also what make this Instant Pot Wild Rice Mushroom Soup stick-to-your-ribs comforting.  

Substitute: If you can’t find them, use another white bean.

Yukon gold potatoes. When cooked down, potatoes naturally thicken this soup. I use just one medium Yukon gold potato, but if potatoes are your jam, feel free to add some more (you might want to add a bit more vegetable broth to compensate).

Substitute: If you only have sweet potatoes on hand, add a small sweet potato for a different flavor profile. 

Lacinato kale. Also known as dino kale or Tuscan kale. This soup feels like it comes from the hills of Tuscany, so lacinato kale is the preferred option! 

Substitute: Curly kale works but may take a few extra minutes to become tender. Baby spinach is fine too, but will add a softer texture. 

Lemons. Lemon zest is a key element in gremolata and gives this soup its punchy finish. To prepare lemons for zesting, remove any produce stickers from the outside and scrub the peel very well before using. I prefer to use organic lemons for zesting.

Extra virgin olive oil. Because this soup is naturally low in fat, the olive oil at the end really takes it over the top, adding a rich and luxurious mouthfeel that’s often missing in plant-based soups.

Step-by-step instructions

Saute the vegetables. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven (affiliate link) over medium-high heat. Once hot, sauté the onion, celery, and carrots until soft.

Next, add the garlic and red pepper flakes (you can leave these out if you don’t want the kick).

Deglaze the pot. Pour the vegetable broth into the pot and scrape up any stuck browned bits on the bottom. 

Stir in the salt, pepper, bouquet garni, potatoes, cannellini beans, and artichokes.

Simmer the soup. Bring the soup up to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Finely chop the parsley and basil. Grate the garlic over the herbs, then zest the lemon on top. Stir the garlic and lemon into the herbs. Chop the herbs once more until they’re finely minced. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.

Italian gremolata chopped up with lemon zest on a wooden cutting board and zested whole lemons.

Blend the soup. Once the potatoes are tender, turn off the heat and remove the bouquet garni. 

Use an immersion blender directly in the pot to blend half of the soup (or transfer half of the soup to a stand blender and blend until smooth, and stir the blended soup back into the pot). 

Add the chopped kale to the soup and simmer until tender. Adjust the seasonings.

Serve. Ladle the white bean kale soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle a generous amount of the gremolata on top and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!

Overhead shot of white bean soup with kale and fresh herbs on the side

Tips for making this white bean soup

Watch the lemon pith. The white pith underneath the lemon peel is quite bitter. Be sure to not zest too deeply, or you’ll end up with pith in your gremolata. A microplane is the best tool for getting the zest but not the pith. 

No kitchen twine for the herb bouquet?

You have a few options to make your bouquet garni.

(1) Just add the herb sprigs into the pot and use tongs to remove them after cooking; or
(2) MacGyver it: tie the herbs using a leftover scallion or the string from a tea bag; or
(3) Chop the herbs (not the bay leaves) and sauté them when you add the garlic.

Partially blend the soup. Make sure to not blend the entire batch. Blending half of the soup before adding the kale creamifies the soup yet retains a good amount of texture.

Deglaze with wine instead. If you have an open bottle of dry white wine (think Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, etc.), feel free to deglaze the pot with 1/4 to 1/3 cup for an extra depth of flavor.

Add toppings! Feel free to garnish this soup with croutons, a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese, or homemade cashew parmesan. We love serving it with slabs of seeded whole grain bread for a balanced, wholesome meal.

Use these flavor techniques elsewhere. Tuck a bouquet garni into your next pot of beans, or try it with my fall favorite Pumpkin Lasagna Soup. Gremolata is a lovely topping for crostini, pizza, and pasta, like my Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad.

white bean soup with kale and gremolata in dutch oven with wooden spoon

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this soup in my Instant Pot?

Yes!

1) Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and let the pot heat up for a few minutes before adding the olive oil (you may need more than 1 tbsp to prevent sticking). Once hot, add the onion, carrots, and celery and a pinch or two of salt. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.

2) Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to prevent burning.

3) Pour in the broth to deglaze the pan and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the 1 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper to taste, bouquet garni, potatoes, cannellini beans, and artichokes (if using). Stir well.

4) Select the Pressure Cook setting at high pressure for 7 minutes. While the soup cooks, make the gremolata.

5) Once the 7-minute timer goes off, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes and then manually release any remaining steam.

6) Transfer half of the soup to a stand blender and blend until thick and smooth. Then return this pureed soup back to the pot and stir to incorporate. Or, use an immersion blender throughout half of the soup, but be sure to not blend it all – you want to retain some texture.

7) Now stir in the kale. Select the Sauté setting and heat until the kale is wilted, about 3 minutes. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt as needed. When the soup is done, remove the bouquet garni. Transfer to bowls, top with gremolata and olive oil, and enjoy.

Is the gremolata necessary?

Technically no, but it’s recommended! It really makes this soup unique and shine in flavor. Plus, it takes like 5 minutes and you can easily make it while the soup is simmering.

Can I use dried beans instead of canned beans?

You can use 1/2 pound (227g) dried white beans but you’d need to cook them plain ahead of time (this is a quick-simmering soup, so the dried beans won’t cook through in it).

How do you store this soup?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

If you are not eating all the soup now, store the gremolata in a small jar and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil for better storage in the fridge. You can spoon this herby oil directly on your soup when ready to reheat and eat instead of finishing with olive oil.

Can you freeze white bean soup?

Yes, it freezes well! Transfer the cooled soup to a few airtight containers. We love using these nifty Souper Cubes for single-serve portions that are quick to defrost (affiliate link). 

Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

If freezing, do not add the gremolata. Instead, make the gremolata fresh when you are ready to reheat the soup.

close up of creamy white bean soup with kale and gremolata in bowl

More soup inspiration

Once you add this white bean soup to your rotation, be sure to try out one of these 17 excellent vegan soup or stew recipes! And if you have my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, Chapter 6 is packed with globally-inspired soups and stews. 

Watch! How to make Creamy White Bean Soup

Creamy white bean & kale soup | cozy one-pot vegan dinner
Creamy white bean & kale soup | cozy one-pot vegan dinner

If you love this White Bean and Kale Soup, please rate and review the recipe below. It’s always much appreciated :)

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale

5 from 300 votes
Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale is no ordinary soup! It has a super creamy texture without any dairy or nuts and features wholesome and comforting yet gourmet flavor boosters. A weeknight dinner or meal prep must (16 fiber + 19g protein!).
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 generous tablespoon olive oil*
  • 1 large sweet onion (or yellow onion or leek), diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 ½ cups (840 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth**
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Bouquet garni: 2 bay leaves + 1 large sprig of sage + 1 large or 2 small sprigs rosemary, tied tightly together with kitchen twine***
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato (about 6 ounces or 170g), peeled and finely diced
  • 2 (15-ounce/425g) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans)
  • 1 (14 ounce/400g) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped finely (optional)
  • 1 small head of lacinato kale, center rib removed and shredded (about 1 small bunch)
  • Good-quality extra virgin olive oil (for finishing)

Gremolata

  • 1 loosely packed cup (12g) Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ loosely packed cup (8g) fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, left whole and peeled
  • 2 medium lemons (I prefer organic since we're using the peel)
  • Coarse or flaky sea salt

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, celery, and carrots, along with a pinch or two of salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened and starting to just turn brown, 6-9 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook another 1-2 minutes until very fragrant.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and deglaze the pot, stirring up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the 1 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper to taste, bouquet garni, potatoes, cannellini beans, and artichokes (if using). Stir well.
  • Bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  • While the soup is simmering, make the Gremolata.
    Finely chop the parsley and basil. Using a microplane, grate the garlic directly over the parsley and basil. Then zest the lemons on top of this mixture, taking care to not zest the white pith underneath the skin.
    Mix the garlic and lemon zest into the herbs and chop the herbs until they’re finely minced. Sprinkle with a bit of the coarse or flaky sea salt.
  • Transfer half of the soup to a stand blender and blend until thick and smooth. Then return this pureed soup back to the pot and stir to incorporate.
    One-pot option: use an immersion blender throughout half of the soup, but be sure to not blend it all – you want to retain some texture.
  • Add the kale to the soup and simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the kale is tender but still bright green. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt as needed. When the soup is done, remove the bouquet garni.
  • Serve the soup in bowls and sprinkle a generous amount of the Gremolata over each bowl and a drizzle of the extra virgin olive oil.
    If storing leftovers, add the gremolata to a jar, drizzle some olive oil in there, and refrigerate. Spoon this over leftover soup.

Notes

* You may need to use a bit more oil if you’re not using a nonstick pan. 
** Use 3 1/2 cups of broth (840 mL) if you want the soup to be very thicker; use 4 cups (960 mL) of broth for a slightly thinner but still chunky texture.
*** Don’t have kitchen twine? You can do the following: 
(1) Just add the herb sprigs into the pot and use tongs to remove them after cooking; or
(2) MacGyver it: tie the herbs using a leftover scallion or the string from a tea bag; or
(3) Chop the herbs (not the bay leaves) and sauté them when you add the garlic.
PS: Instant Pot instructions can be found in the first FAQ in the blog post. 
 

Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 659mg | Potassium: 1504mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 8163IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 7mg

Instant Pot White Bean Soup with Kale

5 from 168 votes
Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale made in the Instant Pot! It has a super creamy texture without any dairy or nuts and features wholesome and comforting yet gourmet flavor boosters. A weeknight dinner or meal prep must (16 fiber + 19g protein!).
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Serving size: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 generous tablespoon olive oil*
  • 1 large sweet onion (or yellow onion or leek), diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 1/2 cups (840 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth**
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Notes

* You may need a touch more oil when using the Instant Pot. 

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388 comments on Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale

  1. Christie

    5 stars
    Excellent soup even the end of summer it is refreshing with potatoes, celery, squash (yellow), garlic, parsley and basil from my garden, picked moments before adding.
    I went really light on the pepper flakes which was perfect for my taste.
    Well worth the time and attention. Used a new cotton tea bag for the sage, rosemary and bay leaf also from my garden! Wonderful end of season celebration soup!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Christie!

  2. Cassy

    5 stars
    SOOOOOO YUM.

    We love this soup! We have this for dinner at least twice a month and my husband will ask for this all the time. It is so flavorful and nutritious and keeps us full.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Cassy, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  3. Heather

    5 stars
    This was really good, lots of flavor. I followed everything as instructed, even the gremolata. I think the gremolata is key for the flavor bursts. It was rather time consuming, more than the timing said above, but I love cooking and will totally make this again. I think next time I might omit the artichoke hearts as I couldn’t really tell they were present.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We are glad to hear you enjoyed the soup, Heather!

  4. Pear

    5 stars
    I thought the soup was good and I didn’t add the gremolata to save ingredients but I’m sure that brings the flavor out even more. This fit the bill of a bean and kale soup I wanted to eat, so I’d make it again!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Pear!

  5. Kiran

    3 stars
    I was dissapointed with the lack of flavour :(. I was really excited to make this after reading some reviews and I’m new to this food blog. But, I found it kind of bland. I added a bit more salt than the 1tsp in the recipe and it helped a bit but overall I feel it needed more flavour.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We’re sorry to hear that, Kiran. Hopefully you try some other recipes on the blog that you’re impressed with!

  6. kathy wheater

    5 stars
    Delicious ! i am in Australia and it is winter here. I have made this once before and just making it for tonight. I love this recipe so very delicious. Thank you :)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Kathy. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  7. Meagan

    5 stars
    Another winner! I thought my husband and I would have three dinners out of this. We couldn’t stop eating it! We will just have two nights’ worth. I did use the artichokes and the gremolata. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Meagan. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  8. Loty

    5 stars
    Delicious every time we make this. Thank you for a delicious and nutritious recipe.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Loty!

  9. Ed

    5 stars
    Made this. It was amazing. Used more broth to stretch it a bit. Amazing depth of flavors everyone loved it. Did do the artichokes, nice flavors!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Ed!

  10. Eileen

    I’m not sure what I did wrong but there’s a bitter taste. The only change is I committed the oil? And I didn’t have all the carrots required (only one.)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Eileen, did you make sure to wash off the artichoke and kale? And remove the kale stems? Sorry to hear it was bitter!

  11. Dorota

    I’m making the soup right now, the smell is amazing! I have one problem: the bouquet garni is falling apart in the pot! The rosemary leaves are all over the soup now. Is there any way to prevent that? I don’t mind the leaves but my kids will complain for sure ;-)

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Dorota, we hope you loved the soup! And it shouldn’t be a huge issue if it falls apart a bit, but feel free to tie some cheese cloth around the bouquet garni in the future if you’d like!

  12. Jan, UK

    5 stars
    I love this soup. So easy to make and a big hit with everyone who’s tried it.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Jan!

  13. Nicky

    Thank you for this delicious recipe!
    The nutritional information says 320calories but for how many cups of the soup? Just wondering what a “Serving” is considered? Asking because my husband is counting his calories and would like to know :)

    Thank you!

    Nicky

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Nicky, there are 4 servings in this recipe. So just divide the finished product by 4 and you’ll have the correct portion. Cheers!

  14. Dottia

    5 stars
    This soup was very comforting for my during Covid while my daughter was in and out of the hospital.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      We are so happy to hear this soup was comforting for you during a rough time! Thank you for leaving a review :)

  15. Michelle

    Can I use dried beans in the instapot recipe? Would I have to cook longer?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Michelle, we suggest cooking the beans separately and adding them to the soup later. If you cook them together, it’s easy for the other ingredients to overcook before the beans are ready. Here’s a guide to cooking beans in the Instant Pot!: https://rainbowplantlife.com/how-to-cook-beans-in-the-instant-pot/.

  16. Jo

    4 stars
    It was really good. But I thought it definitely tasted a lot better without the Gremolata lol. I now know for next time!!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sorry to hear you weren’t a fan of the gremolata, Jo :/ Glad you enjoyed the recipe otherwise, though!

  17. Sammy

    5 stars
    This is the best soup I’ve ever made. It packs such a flavourful punch. Just woe. Ninja, I’m loving learning to cook with you. This is my third recipe of yours that I’ve cooked and all three have been the best versions of that meal I’ve ever cooked. Thank you so much. I love watching your videos an love your Indian curries :) thank you
    Don’t stop sharing our wonderful gift for making vegan food amazing.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Sammy. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  18. Sandy

    This soup is pretty and the flavors may intensify on the second day but I was underwhelmed by the flavors. It is a time consuming undertaking for what it delivered. I think perhaps jarred artichokes and a drizzle of lemon juice can improve the soup.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Sorry to hear you weren’t a huge fan, Sandy! Did you make the gremolata for topping? We hope you enjoy the other Rainbow Plant Life recipes you try!

  19. Lee

    5 stars
    Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale obviously makes a complete meal. This dish looks wonderful and I will be trying it soon. Just slow down a little, you talk fast.

    What kind of wine or beer would be good with this soup?

    I’ll be back to check out more dishes from your kitchen.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lee, sorry to hear you think Nisha is speaking too quickly. Here’s a Youtube video you can watch, and you can decrease the speed down to .25 if necessary. As for alcohol pairings, a dry white wine would compliment the soup nicely. As for beer, maybe a wheat beer or lager. Enjoy!

  20. Dawn

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe so many times in the last year using the instant pot. It is my favorite soup recipe & we love it! Delicious!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Dawn!

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