I have made a LOT of kale soup since January, and have come up with the perfect recipe. It is perfect in its simplicity – and it’s a crowd-pleaser.
Kale is one of those morally superior vegetables that I believe a lot of health-conscious people pretend to like – either they pretend to others, themselves – or both. Kale-eaters can put on a cloak of spiritual pride that they, above all the rest of the Twinkie-eating crowd in line at the grocery store, have stocked up on the kale, showing how they rise above the rabble in taking care of themselves and their good sense.
Some people might like it – but I can’t convince my kids of this.
Last year, I had a lot of kale that was healthy, but I didn’t enjoy it. It got cooked as a Chinese stir-fry, with garlic and soy sauce, perhaps some onion, and eating it was ‘the right thing to do’, but I was not going to wake up the next morning and say: “Oh, boy! I hope there’s some leftover kale stir-fry in the refrigerator!’
Other times I make kale ‘chips’, which are excellent if done right – and recommended. Problem is: you only use the leafy part of the kale and throw away the stems. The inherent wastefulness here leaves me – a child of children of the Great Depression where both my parents told me stories of going hungry – cold.
Another thing is that timing is critical. Too short a time and they’re soggy. Too long and they’re burnt. They also don’t ‘keep’ – you have to eat them right away.
Enter ‘The World’s Simplest Low Carb Kale Soup Recipe That’s Actually Tasty’. Timing isn’t critical like the kale chips, and I’ve kept it in the coldest part of the fridge for up to a week.
Lastly, I made more or less 3-4 pots of it in the course of a month and lost 10 pounds, so to me, it’s a ‘go-to’ low carb recipe for me.
But first – 3 important notes:
- this recipe is spicy. VERY spicy. That’s not a show-stopper at all for those of you unfortunates disinclined to spicy food – just use a milder sausage as your seasoning.
- It is absolutely necessary to have an immersion blender. Any shortcut here will either ruin the soup, or be so time-consuming and make a mess that you’ll never want to make the recipe again
- The exact way you cut the kale matters even though you are going to hit it with the immersion blender
- 2 boxes organic chicken broth – not low-sodium – this is the only salt you will add
- 2 bunches organic kale – there are different types – buy the mildest, least bitter type – it tends to be a lighter green than the other kale. I’m not saying the darker kale won’t work, but you might find the lighter type is more accepted by people who don’t normally like kale
- 2 of the largest sweet onions you can find
- 8 chorizo sausages. These are the hottest I could find in my local store. As the sausages are the only seasoning I use other than the salt in the chicken broth, you might want to consider another type of sausage, such as Italian-spiced, if you can’t take the heat.
- Pour the 2 boxes of chicken broth into a large soup pot and put the pot on the stove top at high heat.
- Next, cut the kale crosswise very thinly to eliminate long fibers in the stems – which we are going to use. Take your time here – the thinner the cuts, especially on the stems, the better the final product.
- Throw the kale into the pot
- Next, cut your onions any old way – and throw them on top of the kale – this helps to push the fluffy kale down
- Next, throw the sausages on top of the onions, put a lid on it and cook for at least a half-hour.
- After the half-hour is up, the sausages should be partially cooked from the steam, and the vegetables reduced considerably.
- take 6 of the 8 sausages out of the pot, and hit the pot with the immersion blender for a good 5 minutes. What you end up with is something close to the thickness of a pea soup. Again – this is not a step to take lightly – the more blended the soup, the more people like it, in my own testing.
- Plop the 6 remaining sausages back into the soup, and simmer for an hour.
There – you’re done.
As an additional note: all of the flavor in this comes from the seasonings in the sausage. If you like spicy sausage more than someone else, you can leave the 6 remaining sausages unmolested and whole. Otherwise, you can poke holes with a fork in the sausages when you put them back in the pot to release more of the flavor.
Lastly, this soup goes very well with some sort of dairy. Like spicy Mexican food, diary helps to remove the spiciness from the throat. Serve with a big dollop of sour cream, or greek yogurt goes great. Or top with some American cheese or cheddar cheese. Shredded cheese would also make the ideal topping.
17 thoughts on “The World’s Simplest Low Carb Kale Soup Recipe That’s Actually Tasty”
I haven’t ventured into the world of kale yet. I think this post has inspired me to branch out.
This looks pretty delicious, unfortunately I’ve never been able to find any high quality kale in my country. We do have quite a bit of spinach though which I think is similar.
Is it possible to replace the kale in your recipe with spinach?
I’d think any green, leafy vegetable would be great in this recipe.
Just curious, Kris, being from Iceland, what kinds of green, leafy vegetables are available? I assume that Iceland is a rough place to grow vegetables…but what do I know?
We have spinach here, cucumbers, bell peppers and some types of lettuce.
I’m pretty sure all of it is grown in greenhouses, there’s no way it could grow outside. The only food that I know of that we can grow outside are potatoes and some forms of grain.
I’ve only had my Kale steamed, or fried with mushrooms in beef dripping. (which I love, by the way!) This will be a nice change 🙂
I cannot find chicken broth with no added sweetner of some kind, what brand do you buy?
While it’s true that most broths add a bit of sugar, it’s such a tiny bit that I wouldn’t worry about it. Me – I buy something that’s organic and doesn’t have ingredients that sound like they came from a chemistry set – I’m more scared of them than a little sugar.
Thanks so much!
How many carbs is this dish per serving and what is a serving size?
I’ve dreaded answering this – it’s why I hate counting calories. Calculating this just took me at least a half hour. Don’t feel bed – I was doing it for myself as I *am* counting calories at present. It *does* lead me to think twice about making things from scratch – buy processed foods instead – they have calorie counts.
Maybe THAT is the key to their diabolical plan.
Ranting aside, I came up with a serving being just the soup with the 2 ground up sausages. You’d have to add 400 calories per sausage (zero carbs, of course). One cup of the soup broke down as:
Net carbs: 11g
While a wee bit on the carby side, the net carb calculation that subtracts fiber from total carbs is a crude rule of thumb. I’ve eaten many bowls of this stuff, kept in ketosis, and lost weight. The carbs in this are a very different animal than the carbs in a Twinkie.
And carbs aren’t bad – bad carbs are bad. Kale isn’t bad carbs.
I’ve been looking for a tasty kale soup recipe and this looks great – can’t wait to make it and give it a try. Just something that puzzles me.. some of the sausages are blended in half-cooked? And you keep it in the fridge for days? Isn’t that risky? Or are these the kind of chorizos that don’t need cooking, like dry sausages that don’t even need refrigeration?
I can see where the way I wrote this might be confusing. After a half-hour, the half-cooked sausages come out while I hit the soup with an immersion blender, then I put them back in to cook for a hour. I use the raw sausages but they are certainly well-cooked by the end.
As to keeping it in the fridge for a week – it’s probably more than most public health officials would recommend but that’s what I do.
Calories and carb count?
Would you think harshly of me if I don’t know? Really, if I were to calculate, the numbers could be way off because calories, nutrients and carbs in minimally-processed foods can vary greatly. Additionally, not all calories are equal and not all carbs are equal.
Here’s the insidious thing about calorie counting and carb counting: you can only do it ‘accurately’ when you eat packaged, processed food – and even the, the US food labeling laws allow the label to be off by 20% either way.
So what I do is try not to worry about the numbers as much as the types of foods – and I guesstimate the numbers if I’m using a calorie-counting app.
I would probably enter 350 calories and 5 net grams of carbs – whether or not it is correct and get on with my life.
If you eat high-quality, minimally-processed. low carb foods, the numbers don’t really matter much in the long run.
I don’t call it “simple” when it’s got 8 steps and how you slice or don’t slice the kale matters…
I just had to reply to Rachel. Did you READ the recipe? Four of the steps are “throwing” or “plopping” something into the pot. Now, I’m a self-professed “uncomplicated” cook, and even I am left unintimidated by those steps. As for slicing the kale? If he says it doesn’t matter for THIS recipe, I would venture to say it doesn’t matter. If it matters in YOUR recipe, you’re clearly a kale connoisseur. Otherwise, I’m left to wonder, how bad can slicing the kale the wrong way be? If it is sliced “wrong,” are your kale rights revoked? LOL
In a more general response, I’m going to add that I’ve had a hard time including kale in our menu at home, for the simple fact that one of our nightly rituals is sitting to watch my son’s bearded dragon dine on a bowl of kale. It has definitely made kale a smidge less glamorous for us!