Kale and White Bean Soup

It’s hard to cook in an unfamiliar kitchen. Lacking your usual tools, the familiar measuring cups or your trusty cutting board, an old standby dish suddenly becomes a new kind of challenge. My grandmother has managed for years to feed the whole hoard of us Christmas dinner from a kitchen with 12 square inches of counter space, a cutting board the size of my hand and a single knife that hasn’t been sharpened since before World War II. Lacking what are clearly her MacGyver skills, I resort to tearing ingredients with my hand or smashing them when faced with a kitchen without a cutting board or a sharp knife.


This soup can survive an unfamiliar or unstocked kitchen. The ingredient list is fairly small, and with the exception of chopping the onion (which you could also just hack into slices depending on the blade of your knife), most of the work can be done without too many kitchen implements.

Easy Kale and White Bean Soup

This soup gets better the more time you have to let it sit. If you can make it in the afternoon and plan to have it for dinner, that will be plenty of time. Of course, you could also prepare it for dinner, and then not be able to eat it until your lawyer boyfriend finally escapes from the office around midnight. That’s a good timeline for flavor melding, too.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced, sliced or hacked
  • 2 large garlic cloves, diced, sliced or smashed
  • 4 pint glasses full of water
  • 2 teaspoons of Better than Bouillion vegetarian base (and by teaspoons, I mean the small spoons in your utensil drawer; accuracy is overrated here)
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans or 3 double handed scoops of dried beans you’ve cooked yourself
  • 1 bunch of kale (I used 1/2 a bunch of green and 1/2 a bunch of red kale, but when cooked they both look about the same anyways), hand torn off the stem and into small pieces
  • Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
  1. Pour some olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. (I’d say several “glugs” worth. This is not a recipe that is bound by typical measuring conventions)
  2. Add the hacked up onion and smashed up garlic cloves to the olive oil. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the water and the Better than Bouillion. (you can just as easily use veggie stock or broth here)
  4. Add the beans and the kale, and simmer over low heat for at least an hour.
  5. Garnish with parmesan cheese before serving. If you happen to be lucky enough to be in an unfamiliar kitchen that at least has salt and pepper, season accordingly. If not, just add extra parmesan cheese.



Do you have MacGyver kitchen skills? Or are you totally lost without a sharp knife and measuring cups?


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