Meatless Monday: Kale White Bean Soup, Fast or Slow

This entry was posted on Jan 7, 2019 by Charlotte Bell.

Kale White Bean Soup

I got a multicooker for Christmas this year. While I’m quite adept at cooking from scratch (because that’s how I always cook) I’m intrigued with the idea of making scratch cooking even easier.

Even though I long ago figured out how to keep mostly even pressure in my stovetop cooker, I have to admit it was nice not having to babysit my beans. There was no switching burners, tweaking the flame, etc. The multicooker keeps even pressure and shuts off when the time is up.

I haven’t yet invested in a vegan multicooker cookbook. So I decided to adapt a very simple recipe for Kale White Bean Soup from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester. The original recipe calls for canned beans (or slow-cooked beans). But I decided to pressure cook the beans first and then add the rest of the ingredients for slow cooking.

Of course, I could easily have made the same soup the traditional way—in a soup pot. But I enjoyed the depth and integration of flavors after letting the soup simmer for six hours. I also enjoyed being able to pressure cook and slow cook in the same pot. Because there’s a sauté function on the multicooker, I could have used that as well. Instead, I chose to sauté the onions in my trusty cast-iron skillet. I just prefer the flavor of veggies sautéed in cast iron.

The Kale White Bean Soup recipe below reflects a few options. If you choose to use canned beans, it will come together very quickly. This makes this recipe a great weekday option, especially when you use a slow cooker. Coming home from work to a steaming pot of soup is truly a delight.


Kale White Bean Soup

  • 3 cups cooked white beans (cannellini, navy, great northern) or 2 15-ounce cans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • salt and pepper


Put It Together: 

  1. If you’re using canned beans, skip this step. If you’re cooking beans from scratch, soak 1-1/2 cups of beans for 4 to 6 hours. Discard the soaking water. Place the beans in a pressure cooker or soup pot with the prescribed amount of water (different beans require different ratios of beans to water). Different types of beans also require different cooking time, so follow instructions on the package or use this chart for stovetop cooking and this chart for pressure cooking. If you’re using a multicooker, pressure cook the beans and then leave them in the pot as you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet. Sauté the chopped onion in the oil for 6 to 8 minutes, until it begins to become translucent.
  3. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the onion mixture, water and beans to a slow cooker. If there’s a fair amount of bean cooking water left in the pot, adjust the amount of water you add. You may not need as much as 4 cups. I just made an educated guess. You don’t have to be precise. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, add the chopped kale. Adjust the salt and pepper.
About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

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