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A good fit: Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup

Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon hemming a dress. You’d think that such a simple task wouldn’t take anywhere near that long, particularly when performed by someone who used to spend as much time sewing as I did. During university, I once sewed for approximately 48 hours straight without so much as a ten-minute nap, and I’m pretty sure I got more done than dress hems. (Possibly not, though; the lack of sleep means my memories of this time in my life are fuzzy at best.)

This dress, however, was one of those difficult jobs with a back vent, a lining, three separate fused sections and that horrible silk fabric that shows every single wayward stitch or press mark. Honestly, it made me realize why I left the fashion industry in the first place: my impatient nature probably makes me more suited to food, anyway.

Plus, I wasn’t just hemming a dress; I was making soup. Turns out sewing and cooking are surprisingly good partners. You sew a seam, add some seasoning. Fuse some panels, chop some greens. Do a little hand stitching while the broth simmers- you get the idea.

The soup and the dress are actually linked, and not just in the sense of yesterday’s activities. See, I’m wearing the dress to a friend’s wedding in two weeks. Myself being short of stature, it falls a bit long on me: hence the hemming. The dress being quite slim-fitting, I need too make sure it actually fits me on the day: hence the soup.

I’m definitely not one to “diet” in a traditional sense. The very idea of depravation sends me into uncontrollable cravings of said item. But I figured I will have to stand, sit, eat and dance in this thing for several hours (and long into the night, if we’re lucky), so it wouldn’t hurt to sub a few pastas with soups, right?

Luckily, Autumn is perfect soup season. It’s not quite cold enough to want the rib-sticking curries and roasted veg of winter, but chilly enough to crave something to keep your hands and belly warm. Enter the soup: steaming, filling and undeniably healthy. This one uses some of my favourite cold-weather flavours of beans, kale and fresh rosemary. All in all, a perfect fit for Fall.

Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup

  • Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup
  • serves 4-6
  • 1 cup dried cannellini beans
    3 Tbs. olive oil
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    2 medium carrots, chopped
    2 sticks celery, chopped
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
    1 cup passatta, or chopped canned tomatoes
    2 litres vegetable stock
    1 parmesan rind (optional)
    several large handfuls kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped roughly
    salt and pepper to taste
    parmesan, feta or other cheese, to serve
  • 1. Put the beans in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to the boil and cook rapidly for 2 minutes; remove from heat, cover and let sit for 2 hours.

    2. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, carrots and celery, cover the pan, and cook over very low heat, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes, add the garlic and rosemary, and continue cooking for another 5. The vegetables should soften but not colour.

    3. Drain the soaking beans and add them, with the passatta or chopped tomatoes, to the vegetables. Cover with the stock and leave to simmer for 1 hour. (If you have any parmesan rinds in your freezer, now is the time to throw one in.)

    4. Taste one of the beans; it should be just starting to become tender. If so, add the chopped kale, pushing it down beneath the surface of the soup. Simmer everything together for another 30 minutes until the beans and kale are both tender. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with some crumbled or grated cheese on top.


  1. Lauren says:

    Wow perfect timing, I am just looking for autumn soups to make, and I just had some kale delivered!

    Thanks, just need to go an pick up some cannellini beans now!

  2. Ele says:

    Lauren- Well, it’s kismet then! :) I forgot to say in the post but if you can’t find cannellini beans, you can sub in any other white bean easily, though the cooking times might be different. Cannellini beans are common here but I image that Navy beans would be delicious too.

  3. maris says:

    This all sounds so good! I love making autumn soups and I’ve been looking for a good recipe.

  4. Lauren says:

    haha yes I guess it is fate! I made this this afternoon, and it was delicious. Thank you so much for a great Sunday lunch recipe! Much appreciated.

  5. Jessie says:

    wonderful soup! perfect for lunch and warming up on a chilly fall day

  6. Dana says:

    I can’t even sew a button. Truly. But I can cook! Thank you for giving me an idea of what to do with the never-ending parade of greens that is coming through my kitchen this fall.

  7. Ele says:

    Maris- I hope you like it :)

    Lauren- So happy this worked well for you! I had some of the leftovers for lunch today, and they were still delicious (3 days later).

    Jessie- It’s super warming, exactly the kind of thing I like at this time of year :)

    Dana- “never-ending parade of greens” is the funniest visual :) Oh well- there are worse problems to have! Glad to have helped.

  8. carl says:


    i don’t usually post comments on blogs, especially of people i’ve never met, but i wanted to let you know a few things.

    first, i’ve been reading your blog for about two months now, and have really enjoyed most of the food on it! it’s definitely gotten me excited about hitting the farmers market lately, and now that it’s finally fall in baltimore, it’s been growing even more (the excitement, i mean).

    second, i made this soup for my roommate (i’m on a “soup of the week” thing–i love the cold, and i love soup), and it was incredible. i am always looking for things to do with kale, because i usually have to force myself to eat it. this, however, was easy to eat. thanks a lot!

  9. Ele says:

    Carl- Hi, and thanks so much for the lovely comment! It’s so nice to hear those things :) This soup does seem to be a hit. Ten days ago I went home to visit my parents in Canada, and what do they give me for lunch? This soup, which they made and had leftovers of in the fridge!

  10. Susan H. says:

    Hey! I wandered over here a while back from Angie’s blog. I really liked this soup–like Carl said, it’s a great way to eat kale. I didn’t have any white beans so I used what I happened to have–reds and pintos. Worked great. Thanks!

  11. Ele says:

    Hi, Susan! Thanks so much, I bet your soup was great :)

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  14. Brooklyn Yo says:

    Thanks for the recipe – it’s quite good. I wonder, when using canned tomatoes do you put the tomato liquid in too? Also, I made this with one liter/quart of stock and that seemed to be plenty enough liquid for me.