Kale and Navy Bean Soup


[vc_row fullscreen=”1″ css=”.vc_custom_1482197666369{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;margin-left: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-right-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;border-left-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/1″ css=”.vc_custom_1482196695605{margin: 0px !important;border-width: 0px !important;padding: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Winter is cold. True, my little nook of California doesn’t get quite as cold as other parts of the country. So yes, cold is relative.

But you know what’s great when it’s cold no matter where you are, or how cold it actually is? SOUP.

In addition to having a hot bowl of deliciousness, soup is a great way to use vegetables and ingredients that you already have. Honestly, many of my soups are the result of discovering sad, limp vegetables that have been hiding in the back of my crisper drawer. Actually, I usually think about soup like pizza: a delicious way to clean out the fridge.

This kale and navy bean soup started like many of my other soups. It was a post-Thanksgiving reconnaissance of sorts. Half a bunch of kale, extra soup stock, a single can of beans, not enough grains for a risotto style dish. I cobbled together the ingredients (think stone soup but leave out the stone) and voila!- dinner in less than an hour.

So, if you find yourself with an almost bare fridge at the end of a long day, or if you’re just cold, this soup is your solution.

5 from 1 vote

Kale and Navy Bean Soup

This easy, one pot soup is packed with hearty kale, beans, and barley. Ready in less than an hour!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 4 cups low sodium broth
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon savory
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, destemmed and roughly chopped (about 2 cups packed)
  • 1 15.5 ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • grated parmesan cheese, for topping
  • crushed red pepper, for topping


  1. In a 4 quart pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions, salt, and pepper. Stir and let cook about 5 minutes until fragrant. Stir in minced garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

  2. Add pearled barley oregano, thyme, savory, and cayenne pepper. Stir until barley is evenly coated. Pour in broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

  3. When barley is almost tender, stir in kale and navy beans. Let simmer 5 minutes more.

  4. Serve with grated parmesan and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper.

Recipe Notes

I chop my kale into bite sized pieces. I’m not very exact with it, but I make sure I don’t have long, stringy pieces or leafs that I have to maneuver before eating. Sometimes, to save on prep time, I’ll chop it while the soup is simmering. In addition, barley and other grains will continue to soak up liquid as they sit in the soup. If not serving immediately, or if reheating, add 1/2 to 1 cup of extra broth or water.

Keep it vegan with a low sodium vegetable broth and skip the cheese.

Swap out the barley for a gluten-free grain like brown rice, sorghum or quinoa. Cook times will vary with grain substitutes. Add broth as needed to make sure there is enough liquid to cook the grains.

Ready to step it up? Use a homemade chicken or vegetable stock instead of store bought and make your own beans on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. You’ll need about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked beans for this soup.

Missing a few ingredients? Instead of kale, you could use chard, collards, or spinach in this soup with pinto, kidney, or cannellini beans. Ground turkey or shredded chicken can also be added to this soup. Other herbs such as sage or tarragon would be nice alternatives as well.




  • Reply
    Deborah Weeks
    January 21, 2017 at 11:11 am

    We really liked this recipe! We have made it a couple of times for dinner during the recent storms. Easy, quick, and warms the toes!

    • Reply
      January 23, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by Deborah!

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