Kale chickpea soup

Kale chickpea soup

I found this Kale chickpea soup recipe last fall in the Kitsap Sun one night as I was riding the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. And of course it caught my attention.

When I make this I will use little or most likely no oil. I will saute the garlic, red pepper flakes and kale in a little bit of water or vegetable broth. No need to add fat to this otherwise healthy recipe.

My mouth starts to drool as I read these ingredients and imagine the intoxicating aromas of the simmering soup on the stove.

Kale chickpea soup is the latest edition to the Slender For Life™ Recipe Library.

Kale chickpea soup

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Kale chickpea soup

From the Kitsap Sun, Anne Willhoit: “This is a soup that served me well for large gatherings, small family dinners and everything in between. Easy and frugal, this soup is one of those magical recipes that makes something wonderful out of not much. I love that you use the chickpea water instead of stock, and I think the technique of using the food processor is a really unique way to change the texture of the kale in a soup. I’m dreaming of future pizza potlucks with this soup on the side.”

Kale chickpea soup


Soup base:

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked and drained
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
5 strips of lemon peel
1 sprig of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup of olive oil
3 1/2 quarts water

Kale saute:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 additional garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large bunches of kale

Optional: dried tortellini, cooked in salted water and drained


1. The night before you want to make the soup (or 8 hours ahead of time), soak chickpeas in a large bowl full of water.

2. When it’s time to cook, drain, rinse and drain the chickpeas.

3. Using an empty tea bag or a scrap of cheesecloth, create a secure bundle that contains the carrot, onion, garlic, lemon peel and herbs.

4. Add the bundle, soaked chickpeas, 3 1/2 quarts of water, salt, and 1 cup of oil to your soup pot. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce to low and simmer for about 1 hour. (Taste a chickpea to test that it’s done.)

5. Near the end of the hour, prepare your kale. Remove ribs and coarsely chop into ribbons.

6. In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir once. Add kale. Cook for about 3 minutes.

7. When the chickpeas are done, add the kale garlic mixture, 2 cups of the chickpeas, and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to a food processor or blender. Pulse until the chickpeas are smooth and the kale looks finely chopped.

8. Add this puree back into your soup. Season with salt and pepper, and heat until hot.

9. If using the tortellini, add a small handful to the bottom of the bowl and pour hot soup over them. Finish each bowl with a little lemon juice, olive oil and/or Parmesan.


  • Make this soup ahead. It reheats well.
  • Find dried tortellini in the bulk aisle or with boxed pasta. Cook per directions in salted water. Dried tortellini holds up well in a soup, but frozen or fresh will fall apart.
  • This recipe is adapted from a cookbook that has become one of my favorites: “Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian.” While Franny’s restaurant in New York has closed, you might be able to taste something similar at Ava Gene’s in Portland. Joshua McFadden has recently published “Six Seasons,” another lovely cookbook that contains a hint of Franny’s recipes. This makes sense since the author’s bio states he cooked at Franny’s (and also hilariously calls him a “vegetable whisperer.”)

Anne Willhoit is an educator, community volunteer and parent. She blogs about seasonal eating and from scratch techniques at https://eatingsmallpotatoes.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/kale-and-chickpea-soup/

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