White Bean Kale Soup, French Onion Soup Style

Dinner, Soups

The weather has been kinda spastic in LA lately. It’s doing that thing where it’s cold in the shade and hot in the sun. I keep daydreaming about a hot bowl of soup with a big scoop of toasted coconut ice cream in the center. Ew.

My brain is confused. The cure: cheese and bread. Always.

In an attempt to keep up my healthy eating, I figured I needed to justify the cheese and bread thing and throw in a dose of wholesome; that’s where the white beans and kale come in.

This soup is like French Onion Soup’s lighter, more spring-like cousin.

I ordered a few cookbooks last week (including Heidi’s!), adding Gwyenth Paltrow’s book at the last minute, with very little expectations. I was morbidly curious about the book, especially after reading these ridiculous quotes that DListed pullled from it. Amazing.

Despite all the dramaz, I gave it a chance. And can I just say that…umm…after reading the foreword, which was all about how her relationship with food and her dad are intertwined, I was sold.

I’m kind of a sap when it comes to girls talking about their awesome relationships with their dads.

She reminded me of my own dad– how much he’s given me, how much he’s given up, and everything in between.

I mean, who else is gonna teach you how to change a flat tire, make pate achoux and force you to be an athlete, even when you’re begging to look cute and be a cheerleader.

That’s pro parenting right there…

This particular recipe was inspired from a soup she used to have at a restaurant her and her father would frequent. I love recipes with context and story behind them. That’s her story. It’s cute and sweet.

My story behind this soup is that I was starving, a friend was coming over for lunch and I wanted cheese and bread.


Sometimes you don’t need something to be nostalgic and sappy to be good. Cheese and bread are good enough. Always.

White Bean Kale Soup, French Onion Soup Style

Adapted from Gywenth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter

Serves: 4

Print this recipe!

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 fennel bulb, stems and fronds removed, sliced thinly

3 large garlic cloves, minced

Pinch red chile flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 pints chicken or vegetable stock

Coarse salt

1 bunch of kale, stems disgarded and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces

8 thin slices baguette

1 cup of Gruyere or Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium-heat. Add the fennel and onion and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the 25 minute mark add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. The onions and fennel will be slightly carmelized–this is good!

Add the chile flakes, oregano and pepper and cook for a minute. Add the beans and stock, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and add salt to taste, and let cook on low heat for 1 hour. Note: I didn’t need any extra salt.

Stir in the kale leaves and let it cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until slightly cooked. Lade into four ovenproof bowls. Float two toasts on each bowl and evenly distribute the cheese. Put the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly, less than a few minutes.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Blog is the New Black April 14, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Looks delicious, love the bread on top!

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    Reply Jessica @ How Sweet April 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

    That bread… I need.

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    Reply Bianca April 14, 2011 at 5:28 am

    I just saw this book the other day and wondered if it was worth. Thanks for the confirmation! Might have to Amazon it and grips a copy!

  • Avatar
    Reply EatLiveRun April 14, 2011 at 6:19 am

    In my world, bread and cheese are pretty much the answer to everything. Oh, and red wine of course…:)

  • Avatar
    Reply d.liff April 14, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Really interesting! Any soup could be good with cheese and crusty bread on top, right?

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    Reply DessertForTwo April 14, 2011 at 7:30 am

    You just took my 3 favorite things, white beans, kale and french onion soup and put them all together in one! You’re my hero 🙂

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    Reply lindsey@lindselicious April 14, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Amazing- I love the idea of adding the french onion twist on top. This is the perfect cure for the crazy LA weather.

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    Reply laura @ glutton for nourishment April 14, 2011 at 9:01 am

    i actually love gwyneth paltrow, and couldn’t wait for her cookbook – only to be a little bit disappointed in it when it finally arrived. but this soup does look magnificent. bread and cheese with any soup makes it perfect!

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    Reply sarah April 14, 2011 at 9:43 am

    mmmmm. I always thought that french onion soup could use a bit more to it. This sounds so yummy!

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    Reply Jen April 14, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Cheese and bread? I’m already sold!

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    Reply Joanne April 14, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Even given all the negative hype surrounding this book, I’ve actually heard really good things about it’s recipes. This definitely sounds like a winner…no context necessary.

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    Reply Katrina April 14, 2011 at 11:10 am

    This looks super tasty. Love the french onion style!

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    Reply Maris (In Good Taste) April 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    That bread on top looks scrumptious!

  • Avatar
    Reply NicoleD April 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Mmmm…this looks really good. Between this recipe and the thumbprint cookies from Lottie+Doof, I think I’m sold on this cookbook.

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    Reply Nisrine April 16, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    The soup looks delicious. Ah, that bread and cheese on top!

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    Reply yummy supper April 17, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Yum! Creamy deliciousness with some healthy veg too boot! How can you go wrong?

  • Avatar
    Reply yummy supper April 17, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Yum! Creamy deliciousness with some healthy veg to boot! How can you go wrong?

  • Avatar
    Reply Kathy April 18, 2011 at 5:45 am

    How much onion did you use? It isn’t listed in the ingredients. I am looking forward to making the soup.

    • Adrianna
      Reply Adrianna April 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm

      Blah! Good eye; it’s in there now!

      • Avatar
        Reply Megan April 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

        Hello! I still don’t see the quantity of onion required… am I crazy?

        • Adrianna
          Reply Adrianna April 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

          Sorry. I don’t think I pressed “save.” It’s there now! For real this time. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Alli April 18, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I was so curious about this book … skeptical as well but, your comments make me want to flip through it even more. The soup looks great.

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    Reply Tina April 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    That looks incredible! Reasons to eat more veggies 🙂 And so curious abt her cookbook bc I love all things related to Paltrow.

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    Reply kate April 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I converted my non soup eating boyfriend with this recipe. So delicious!! Thanks for sharing.

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    Reply Jeniece April 5, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I’ll be honest-the first time I had this soup it was only so-so. And then I found my mistake! I used the cheap, pre-grated parmesan from the deli department and it gave the soup a weird texture. When I re-heated my leftovers, I put in the higher quality solid parmesan that I grated myself and it was great! Even without the bread on top, this is a delicious soup! And it does feel healthy with the kale in there!

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    Reply Liz January 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    This soup is delicious and a meal!! Great for vegetarians–it has protein, fiber and deep greens. I will use less salty broth though since canned cannellini beans already have a lot of salt. Might try adding some red wine next time.

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    Reply Shelby January 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    this recipe is the bomb! i am now making it for the second time in two weeks. it’s even better the day after. i added zucchini this time around. thank yaz adrianna!

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    Reply Jacqueline October 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    This looks like a tasty and more filling soup cousin to the classic. I just might note that salting any soup before cooking it down could be a bit risky, and it might be safer to salt it after the one hour cook time.

    As the liquid evaporates, that salt doesn’t.

  • Reply 25 Fabulous Fall Soups November 11, 2013 at 10:43 am

    […] White Bean Kale Soup, French Onion Soup style by A Cozy itchen […]

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    Reply jem March 30, 2015 at 5:16 am

    thank you so very much for this recipe. it is so hearty for a veg meal and has such a depth of flavour. i could rant about this soup forever maybe.. cheers!

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    Reply plasterer bristol June 16, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    This sounds really delicious and something new to try. Thank you for sharing this.