My Recipe Box

Sausage, Cannellini and Kale Soup


Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Flex Your Meals
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 103

This hearty Tuscan soup is full of flavor. The crinkly, deep-green leaves of Lacinato kale (also called dinosaur or black kale) are ideal, but any variety of kale will work.

This recipe is easily adaptable to serve meat-lovers and vegetarians alike: see the variation to serve one vegetarian, or check out the totally meatless version of this recipe.

  • 1-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  • 1 quart homemade or lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • Two 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 oz. Lacinato kale, center ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 4 firmly packed cups)
  • 1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (1x3 inches; optional)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 lb. sweet or hot bulk Italian sausage, rolled into bite-size meatballs

Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 seconds. Add the broth, beans, kale, and Parmigiano rind (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 Tbs. oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sausage meatballs, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Add the sausage to the soup and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes more to meld the flavors. Stir the cider vinegar into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper.


To serve 1 vegetarian and 3 meat lovers: Use vegetable broth for the soup. Reduce the sausage to 1/2 lb. and cook the meatballs in the same fashion. After stirring the cider vinegar into the soup and seasoning to taste, set aside 1-3/4 cups of the soup for the vegetarian before adding the meatballs.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a crusty baguette or Garlic Crostini with Spinach Salad.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 430, Fat (kcal): 18, Fat Calories (g): 160, Saturated Fat (g): 5, Protein (g): 20, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9, Carbohydrates (mg): 48, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 3, Sodium (g): 1160, Cholesterol (g): 25, Fiber (g): 12,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Super easy and very tasty and satisfying.

It's become a family favorite, my kids' preferred recipe for eating kale. We never have leftovers!

Great soup....very flavourful and rich broth. I used baby kale, so added it much later, and used thyme instead of rosemary. Didn't have a cheese rind but added some shredded romano to serve, and forgot all about the time.

Just a wonderful soup - I used the sweet Italian sausage and made bite sized meatballs. I am looking forward to making it again.

I could sing a song about how delicious this soup was. The simplicity was appreciated and I used a mix of spicy and sweet Italian sausage. The saugsage itself might have something to with how declicious it was. I got it at Rainshadow Meats in Seattle. I don’t know. The entire process smelled divine. I served with thick crusted sourdough. It was ridiculous. I don’t even have room in my stomach for a seconed serving but I might have to hurt myself or restrain myself to half a serving. I loved it!

I make this soup often, it is one of our favorites. Today I changed it up a bit with great results. I used ham stock instead of chicken and I threw in 1/4 cup of split peas and barley. I only put the kale in for the last 15. I also always use hot Italian sausages.

I've made the vegetarian recipe and loved it. In this I used hot, Italian chicken sausage and dried chilies for kick. Great!! Don't leave out the parm or vinegar it makes the soup for me. Yummy!!!

Great base recipe. It needs to be tweaked to be that O-M-G soup that my family and friends are always asking me to make. Start rolling the sausage into little balls first. It takes longer than you think. Substitute great northern beans when you don't have cannellini. I double the carrots, celery, rosemary, garlic, broth, and kale. I use 1 lb of sausage because that is usually how it is packaged. I love hot italian and usually add 1-2 tsp of red pepper flakes for a little extra kick. I typically use 3 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar. It reminds me of my grandmother's country greens, cooked with a hamhock and served with hot pepper vinegar.

This recipe is delicious. I used fresh spinach instead of kale, the whole pot was gone in 1.5 hours.

This soup is a staple in my house in the winter. Super yummy. Make sure you really brown the sausage up. Delicious.

This soup was yummy and so easy. I used pre-made meatballs for my husband and vegan sausage for me. I only had one can of cannellini beans, so I used that and a can of navy beans; both my husband and I preferred the navy beans. I'll also try adding red pepper flakes, as suggested by another review.

I used chorizo instead of hot Italian and loved the results. Also, I just removed the sausage casing and didn't bother with making little sausage balls. Great basic soup!

Rather than vinegar, I used lemon juice to taste and added 1/2 cup of dry Madeira. Adding grated Parmesan to the bowl prior to serving also improves this hearty soup considerably. I might try adding some smoked paprika the next time I make it.The kale is rather chewy so chop it finely. The soup gets even better tasting the next day.

Try using hot Italian sausage in this soup to spice it up.

My husband thought the flavor was bland. I liked it, so am trying to figure out how to spice it up. Anne G in NC

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