Green Soup

Brightly colored, healthy and delicious. No, really.

Tasty Kale Soup

Ever since I came back from Hawaii, I’ve had a produce hangover. In Hawaii, everything is so ripe, fresh and delicious. It just tastes like sunshine. And then I came back to the mainland to the usual wintry mix of root veggies and winter squash. It’s just not the same.

I recalled listening to a foodie show on the Hawaii NPR station as I was driving back from my 5k. One of the guests on The Splendid Table, Anna Thomas, was discussing her green soup. She raved about this concoction, and while it didn’t really speak to me at the time, evidently my subconscious was moved enough to search for the recipe.

The most important thing to note that isn’t mentioned in the recipe itself: caramelize the onions for an eternity. Low and slow, kids. On the show she described the onions as achieving an almost jelly-like consistency, and to keep cooking them long beyond what you think is reasonable.

I made some modifications from the original, as you’ll see below.


  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped, with thick stems removed (worked out to be about 3.5 large handfuls)
  • 3 large handfuls spinach
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch chipotle pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil to drizzle


Heat oil in a large soup pot over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 Tbsp water and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pan cools down, about 15 minutes. Re-cover and cook for 30-45 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

In a separate saucepan, combine 3 cups veggie broth, arborio rice and 3/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add cooked arborio rice and broth to the onion pot. Stir in the kale, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add cayenne, the remaining 1 cup of broth and spinach. Cook for 5 minutes more, until the spinach is tender but bright green.

If you have an immersion blender, puree until smooth. If you don’t, pour half of the mixture into your blender and puree. Repeat with the remaining mixture and return all puree to the pot. Note: Remove the center stopper from the lid and cover with a towel. Otherwise, the steam pressure can build up and cause a molten volcano of green soup.

Stir in an entire lemon’s worth of juice. (She recommends 1 Tbsp, but that did nothing for brightening the flavor.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into soup bowls and drizzle with your best extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with croutons or nuts for texture.


The house smelled delicious. The Tiny Kitchen Assistant refused to try because it was both green and soup, but both adults were pleasantly surprised by the delicious flavor and creamy texture.

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One Response

  1. sheila mahan says:

    This is the best kale soup recipe!! I saw it last winter in a prevention magazine and I have shared it with family and friends.. I also added the juice of a whole lemon the second time I made it and instead of 4 cups of vegetable broth I added 3 and 1 cup of water.

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