Kale may seem like a trendy food your kids might never eat, but Portuguese Kale Soup is… not. It’s a traditional staple along New England’s south coast. Massachusetts and Rhode Island have the highest concentrations of people with ancestry from Portugal than any other states in the US. These are regions where Portuguese first landed ashore possibly as early as 1511. From the late 1800s into the 1960s, waves of Portuguese immigrants were literally the backbone of coastal New England’s economic booms in whaling, fishing, textiles, and farming. Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay, and Rhode Island are home turf for me, and this means Portuguese Kale Soup has always been on the menu rotation at my house.

Land-locked as a Colorado resident since 2005, this also means if I want Portuguese Kale Soup, I have to make it – nobody here serves it. And it means nobody here makes a good linguica, the spicy smoky Portuguese sausage essential to this recipe (not too many Portuguese bakeries or Portuguese family sausage operations around Boulder!). I improvise with a serviceable hot Italian sausage from Natural Grocers, a market chain with strict policies for no GMO products, organic wherever possible for everything in the store, and organic-only produce. Other than getting a good rustic and spicy sausage in the mix, recipes vary with whether or not to include red kidney beans (a pared down version called Caldo Verde excludes them) or tomatoes – both of which I call keepers.

We serve this with a hearty gluten free bread from Kim and Jakes Bakery, which, luckily for me, is a small family business right in my neighborhood. The peasant bread from this gluten free facility is perfect with this soup.

Portuguese Kale Soup
Print Recipe
A full meal soup perfect for cold blustery days. Makes about 3 quarts of soup. The longer this soup simmers the better it will taste, but you can enjoy it as soon as the vegetables are cooked soft. In any case, don't simmer longer than two hours.
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Portuguese Kale Soup
Print Recipe
A full meal soup perfect for cold blustery days. Makes about 3 quarts of soup. The longer this soup simmers the better it will taste, but you can enjoy it as soon as the vegetables are cooked soft. In any case, don't simmer longer than two hours.
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3 Quarts 30 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
45 minutes 45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Quarts
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil to medium with 1-2 Tablespoons of chicken fat or chicken broth. Add minced garlic and chopped onion. Sauté about 2 minutes, til they become soft but not browned.
  2. Next add carrots and potatoes. Cover with remaining chicken broth. If you have homemade chicken broth with some of the fat in it, this is ideal. If not use boxed organic chicken broth such as Kirkland brand (Costco) or Imagine brand. Bring to simmer on medium heat, and cover.
  3. While the vegetables are simmering, prepare your sausage. Place links in a skillet with a little olive oil, water, or extra broth to prevent sticking. Cover and cook on medium high heat til cooked through, and browned on all sides (turn as needed after 2-3 minutes per side). Set aside to cool enough to handle them.
  4. Add canned tomatoes, tomato soup, parsley, and kale. Stir well to mix everything. Cut the sausage into small chunks once they are cool enough to handle, and stir those in also. Cover and simmer gently for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally to mix.
  5. If you are including kidney beans, stir these in long enough to heat through, ahead of serving.
  6. Once all veggies are soft and beans are heated through, enjoy with crusty GF bread.
Recipe Notes

You can use tomato paste in lieu of Imagine Organic Tomato Basil soup: Mix 2 Tablespoons paste with 1.5 cups water and add to the soup.

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