Whenever I鈥檓 craving comfort food, I make a big pot of vegan kale soup. Growing up, it was a cure-all remedy in our house. Winter wind just a little too cold? Make the soup. Schoolyard bullying got you down? Mom made the soup. It was also our food of celebration. When my grandma came into town she鈥檇 make the soup, her version just ever so slightly different than my mom鈥檚. We鈥檇 sit together in the kitchen peeling the skins from soaked lima beans (the secret ingredient to our broth), my grandma鈥檚 knobby arthritic fingers working faster than anyone else鈥檚. The pot would simmer on the stove for hours, filling the house with its spicy, savory aroma, until finally it was ready. My aunt and cousin would come over, and we鈥檇 celebrate being all together, filling and refilling our bowls with our family鈥檚 ambrosia. These days, I eat a plant-based diet. At first, that was big cause for alarm with my mom, who was worried that she wouldn鈥檛 be able to ply me with bowls of her kale soup when I was home for visits. Luckily, we found a way to make a tasty vegan version that鈥檚 still just as comforting.

Vegan Portuguese Kale Soup Recipe

Traditionally, the kale soup my family makes contains Portuguese chouri莽o (pronounced 鈥渃herise鈥 in my family鈥檚 southern Massachusetts dialect). It鈥檚 what makes a soup with such humble ingredients come to life. So, when recreating the soup sans sausage, I decided to add all of the ingredients that give chouri莽o its red color and garlicky, salty flavor to the broth itself. The result is a pot of goodness that tastes just like home, even if it is devoid of meat. Lima beans are the key to giving the broth extra body. You soak them overnight, then remove the skins. It might sound finicky but it鈥檚 really quite easy. Once your beans are peeled, you鈥檙e ready to go!

Vegan Kale, Potato, and Lima Bean Soup RECIPE

From Justina Huddleston, Brit + Co

(Makes 6-8 portions)

This is an Old-World soup, meaning the kale and cabbage are cooked more than you might be used to. They鈥檙e supposed to be very soft in the final dish, almost melting in your mouth. This kale soup is closer to the chunky caldo verde of the Azores than the more broken-down version found on mainland Portugal.

Vegan Kale, Potato, and Lima Bean Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

Bean Broth:

  • 1/2 pound lima beans, soaked overnight and peels removed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow miso
  • 2 (32-ounce) containers low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bay leaves

Soup:

  • 1 (16-ounce) bag of kale
  • 1/2 cabbage, cut into chunks
  • 3 large yellow wax potatoes, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 vegan sausages, cut into coins, preferably Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausage
  • salt, to taste
  • bread, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Be sure to soak dried lima beans overnight, then remove skins.
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large soup pot. Saut茅 garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, and garlic powder over medium heat until fragrant, being careful not to let the paprika burn. Deglaze the pan with white wine and let simmer for about one minute to let the alcohol taste cook off. Add miso, vegetable broth, salt, bay leaves, and peeled, soaked lima beans to the pot. Top the pot off with enough water so that the pot is 3/4 full. Simmer until the lima beans are tender, for about one hour.
  3. Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the lima beans and broth together.
  4. Top the pot off with enough water so it鈥檚 3/4 full. Add the kale and cabbage to the pot. Simmer until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cubed potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes more. Add the Tabasco, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, and vegan sausages to the pot. Taste the broth and adjust for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Simmer for about five minutes, then serve with some crusty bread on the side.
Vegan Kale, Potato, and Lima Bean Soup Recipe

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(Photos via Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co)