Tuscan Kale Soup Recipe – Kale Soup

By Alexandra Caspero on November 8, 2021
A five-star rated soup! A hearty, vegetable packed soup perfect for Fall and Winter.
Serves 4

Looking for a healthy vegan kale soup? Try this Tuscan Kale Soup Recipe made with roasted tomatoes, orzo, kale in a spicy broth. A must make with less than 250 calories a serving. 

Do you love soup as much as my family does? This time of year, I make a pot of soup at least once a week. Favorites like my red lentil soup, lemon chickpea noodle soup, slow cooker tomato soup, tortilla soup and potato, spinach and sausage soup. Though this Tuscan Kale Soup is often at the top of that list– my husband asks for it often!

Yes, I’m pretty sure that soup is always the answer.

I crave it on chilly, snowy nights and the leftovers always make the perfect lunch. Therefore, this Tuscan kale soup is a medley of some of my favorite winter foods: tender orzo pasta, fire-roasted tomatoes, and kale in a spicy broth.

My husband always tells me that my soups are one of his favorite things I make. Which, sometimes feels like an odd compliment. Isn’t soup one of the easiest foods to cook? I find that no matter what’s lurking in my fridge or pantry, I can almost always make a killer soup. 

Overall, a hit with both my family and hundreds of readers, this Tuscan Kale Soup is no exception and guaranteed to be a winner in your house as well. 

Tuscan Kale Soup Recipe

Ingredients for Tuscan Kale Soup

It should come as no surprise that you’ll need kale for this soup. Generally, I prefer a Tuscan or Latino kale, the one with the flatter, darker leaves, but curly kale will also work. 

In addition, you will need:

  • Aromatics, like garlic, onion, celery and carrots
  • Seasonings, like oregano and basil and crushed red pepper flakes
  • Canned fire-roasted tomatoes; these give this soup so much flavor, but regular canned diced tomatoes work too 
  • Good quality vegetable broth
  • Orzo pasta, regular or whole wheat
  • Fresh lemon juice

How to Make Kale Soup

  1. Sauté vegetables first

    First, add a thin layer of olive oil or vegetable oil on the bottom of the stock pot and let it get hot before adding in the onions, celery and carrots. 

  2. Caramelize the Vegetables

    Cook the vegetables over medium-low heat until soft and slightly browned. This may take up to 20 minutes, just make sure to stir often so it doesn’t burn. This is where much of the flavor for the soup comes, so don’t rush it.

  3. Add in the fire roasted tomatoes

    Next, add in a can of fire roasted tomatoes. You should be able to find these in the same aisle as regular canned tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes give more depth and flavor to this soup than regular tomatoes, but you can use regular if that’s all you can find. For low sodium diets, make sure to select no-salt added tomatoes. 

  4. Stir in the broth and pasta

    Here is where you will also add the broth, water, and orzo pasta.

  5. Add the kale and lemon juice

    Once the pasta is tender, add in the fresh kale until just wilted. Stir in lemon juice right before serving.

  6. Serve

    Ladle into bowls, then top with freshly ground black pepper if desired before serving. For an added umami boost, I like to sprinkle on either regular or dairy-free parmesan cheese. Violife makes a great parmesan cheese, or consider my homemade parmesan recipe.

Tips for Perfect Kale Soup

The secret to really good soup is of course, good broth. I often make my own from whatever scraps I have lying around, especially in the age of the Instant Pot

However, there are some great store-bought options that I rely on often: Pacific Foods, Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base and Orrington Farms Broth Base.

I know the lemon juice addition sounds odd, but it’s essential to this kale soup recipe. The added acid balances the heat and the salt; it’s my secret weapon in almost every meal.

Even if you don’t think you like kale, you might in this recipe! Make sure to remove the tough, woody stems and thinly slice the kale into small ribbons before adding to the soup. This ensures that each bite will be tender.

pot of vegan tuscan kale soup with orzo

Does it matter what type of Kale I use?

Any type of kale works in this soup, though I’m partial to the darker, flatter leaves of dinosaur kale, also known as lacinato kale or Tuscan kale. You can also use curly kale or even a purple kale, just make sure you remove the stem and finely chop the leaves.

Is Kale good for you in soup?

Honestly, kale is a nutrient powerhouse– there’s a reason its popularity has skyrocketed over the past decade. It’s delicious both cold, like in salads, and warm as in this Tuscan Kale Soup. Unlike more delicate greens, kale holds its shape after cooking and is perfect in soup.

Kale is packed with vitamins A, K, C and also contains calcium, potassium, and copper. Like other members of the cruciferous vegetable family, kale consumption is linked to reducing cancer risk, likely due to containing glucosinolates, which have been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties.

This Tuscan Kale Soup is similar to Olive Garden’s famous zuppa toscana soup, but much healthier! It’s packed with vegetables, it cholesterol free and tastes just as rich and decadent without all of the bacon and heavy cream in their version.

 tuscan kale soup with pasta

Can you freeze kale soup?

To freeze soup, place in freezer-safe containers or bags. If using a bag, remove as much of the air as possible; I usually like to lay the bags flat for easier storage. Let cool completely, then place in the freezer for 2-3 months.

To reheat, warm on the stovetop or in the microwave. As the orzo pasta will absorb more broth as it cools, you may need to add in the additional broth while reheating.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use Kale?

Even if you don’t think you like kale, I urge you to try this soup. Finely chopping the kale first helps to create a less bitter bite– even my father-in-law who swears he hates kale loves this soup.

Remove the stems, then stack the kale leaves on top of one another. Tightly roll, then thinly slice from the short end creating thin kale ribbons. From here, you can stack and cut in half widthwise or leave as is.

Can I use spinach instead of kale in soup?


Yes, you can use either baby or regular spinach leaves in this Tuscan kale soup. If using mature spinach leaves, then I recommend removing any tough stems and roughly chopping them before adding to the soup.

Can I add in white beans?


For a heartier soup, consider adding in cooked white beans when you add the orzo pasta. White beans contain 8g of protein and 6g of fiber per half cup, making this a healthy variation. 
While most creamy beans would work well in this soup, I’d recommend a small white bean, like a cannellini bean, navy bean or great northern bean. 

If you do add in white beans, you can also blend some of the beans with the broth and vegetables in a blender before adding the pasta. This gives more heartiness and body to the kale soup without having to add any dairy. 

bowl of tuscan kale soup

More Healthy Soup Recipes

If you love this Tuscan Kale Soup recipe, then you’ll love my other soup recipes. I’ve got a collection of more kale soup recipes along with 33+ vegan soup recipes.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

Print
kale soup

Tuscan Kale Soup

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main, dinner, soup, healthy, vegan
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Looking for a healthy vegan kale soup? Try this Tuscan Kale Soup Recipe made with roasted tomatoes, orzo, kale in a spicy broth. A must make with less than 250 calories a serving. 


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main, dinner, soup, healthy, vegan
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main, dinner, soup, healthy, vegan
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, dried oregano, dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like a little more heat)
  • 1 15oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes (or regular if you can’t find fire-roasted)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I use low-sodium and then adjust for salt)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Cut kale into ribbons.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion, celery, carrots, salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  4. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, water and orzo and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until orzo is tender, about 12 minutes.
  5. Stir in the kale until wilted, seasoning to taste if needed.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and serve.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4th recipe
  • Calories: 233
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 852 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 36 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0g

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

This recipe was first posted in 2018 and updated in 2021. 

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Suzanne Hendricks
      January 28, 2023 AT 11:39 am

      This has become a family favorite. I usually add a can of white beans. I have made it without the orzo with rice on the side for friend who is gluten free. It freezes well.

    2. Jody
      December 27, 2022 AT 8:24 pm

      So yummy.

    3. Vilma
      December 9, 2022 AT 9:08 am

      Made this last night and it was awesome! My purpose was to use my fresh kale from my garden since it just keeps growing even though it is December. I added some minced garlic and substituted Italian style stewed tomatoes (because I had a can in house). Also substituted pastina and basmati rice for the orzo (again because I had these in house). I added a pound of ground pork that I seasoned with sage, sugar, basil, black pepper and cayenne pepper that I browned and drained off the fat before adding to the soup.
      Will definitely make it again.

    4. Allison
      December 7, 2022 AT 2:53 pm

      Love love love this soup and so easy to make. I added a can of white kidney beans and Italian turkey sausage.

    5. Bonnie
      October 30, 2022 AT 6:34 pm

      This soup is one of the only ways I can get my picky hubby to eat some greens. We both love it.

    6. Jodi
      October 24, 2022 AT 5:20 am

      Very tasty. I added less carrot, I think more rice would have been nice. I used Arborio instead of orzo and it worked well. Very tasty recipe!

    7. Vince
      October 10, 2022 AT 6:32 pm

      Love adding even more veggies to it. Soooo good.

    8. Denise
      September 26, 2022 AT 12:39 pm

      I avoid complicated recipes–who has the time?! This was simple and yummy! 5 stars.

    9. Charley J.
      September 26, 2022 AT 12:38 pm

      With cooler weekend weather, I was crazing a hearty soup. I added some red pepper flakes and loved this.

    10. Toby
      September 26, 2022 AT 12:37 pm

      I love all the veggies I can sneak in this soup for my kids!