Portuguese Bean Soup is one of our favourite hearty soups to enjoy during the cold Fall and Winter months.
Our homemade Portuguese Bean Soup recipe, also known as Caldo Verde, is quick and easy to make, ready to serve in under 30 minutes!
Spoon through a bowl of our healthy Portuguese Bean Soup recipe featuring flavourful lemon zest, garlic, sherry, smoked paprika and cured sausage.
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What Is Soup?
Soup is a liquid food, generally served warm or hot (but can also be served cold like gazpacho), that is prepared by combining meat or vegetables with stock or water.
Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavours are extracted, creating a rich broth.
Soups are similar to stews, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Soups generally have more liquid (broth) than chunkier and heartier stews.
In traditional French cuisine, soups are classified into two groups: clear soups (bouillon and consomme) and thick soups (purees, bisques, veloutes).
Purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream; cream soups may be thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter, and cream.
History of Soup
Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 20,000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers, such as clay pots. To boil the water hot rocks were used.
The word soup comes from French soupe (broth), which comes through Vulgar Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”) from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.
The word restaurant (meaning “restoring”) was first used in France in the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as a cure to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for eating establishments.
In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, and it included several recipes for soups and bisques.
English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Massachusetts called The Restorator, and became known as the “Prince of Soups”.
What is Portuguese Bean Soup?
Caldo Verde originated from the Minho Province in northern Portugal. Today, it is a traditional national soup that has spread across the nation and abroad, especially to places where a large community of Portuguese migrants have settled such as Brazil, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
In Portugal, caldo verde is typically consumed during Portuguese celebrations, such as weddings and birthdays. For example, during the St. John Festival in Braga, it is often enjoyed before a main course or as a late supper. This soup is served in a tigela, a traditional earthenware bowl.
Caldo Verde, translating to “green broth,” is the Portuguese counterpart to Italian Zuppa Toscana. It features local cured sausage, bitter greens, and potatoes. Since Portuguese Bean Soup is a hearty comfort food historically made in homes all over the country, there isn’t just one way to prepare it.
Many variations of this popular Portuguese soup exist thanks to passed down regional recipes that are now family cooking traditions. Some families use kale, while others chop collard or mustard greens into the soup. Most recipes include Portuguese cured sausage with a strong garlic flavour called Chouriço. Other recipes use Linguiça sausages.
Travel to Portugal by Cooking Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup at Home
I love traveling to Europe!
During my first visit to the continent I traveled for 5 months by train and plane. I had the opportunity to eat my way through Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Czech, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, France and Italy.
What I love most about traveling to Portugal is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. Take a Portuguese food tour and you’ll learn that popular dishes in Lisbon and Porto are unique to what you might find on restaurant menus in Sintra and The Algarve.
Once back home from a Portuguese holiday you’ll have a newfound appreciation for the flavours of Portugual and can impress friends and family by making our quick & easy Portuguese Bean Soup recipe.
Where To Eat Portuguese Bean Soup
If you live in a large city in North America you’ll likely have access to plenty of soup-specific restaurants. We also love to visit local, family-run diners and cafes that offer menus specializing in “soups, sandwiches and salads.”
In Toronto, popular restaurants that serve soup include RaviSoups, Soup Nutsy, United Bakers Dairy, Cafe Polonez, Saffron Spice Kitchen, Santouka Ramen, Sansotei Ramen, Kenzo Ramen, Kinton Ramen, Ajisen Ramen, Maison Selby, Pho Vistro, Pho Hung, The Golden Turtle, Maha’s, Pai, Sabai Sabai, Khao San Road, One Love Vegetarian and Fabarnak.
You’re most likely to find traditional Caldo Verde at Portuguese or Spanish Toronto restaurants such as Carmen, Bar Isabel, Patria, Salt Wine Bar, Bar Raval, Barsa Taberna, Labora, Chiado, Ilhas de Bruma and Moliceiro.
Fun Fact: A regional take on Portuguese Bean Soup can be found in restaurants throughout Hawaii. If you’re a soup lover visiting Oahu, Maui or the Big Island, you’ll find Hawaii’s unique take on the hearty soup on many menus. The ingredients in Hawaiian Portuguese Bean Soup typically include ham hocks, celery, carrots, stewed tomatoes, elbow macaroni and cabbage.
My Family Loves Portuguese Bean Soup
My dad would often make cream of tomato soup and serve a bowl with grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles. Our family also loved slurping through bowls of Butternut Squash Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup.
During October in Ontario we’d often visit popular Fall Fairs in Norfolk County, Niagara and Prince Edward County to go on fun rides, run through corn mazes and purchase fresh local fruits and vegetables at the peak of harvest season.
Is Portuguese Bean Soup Vegetarian?
Caldo Verde is traditionally prepared with with garlic, olive oil, chicken stock, bitter greens, beans and cured sausage.
The Portuguese love pork so much you’ll find it in almost everything. So you guessed it, traditional Portuguese Bean Soup is not vegetarian or vegan.
You can transform our authentic Caldo Verde recipe into a vegetarian friendly dish by substituting chicken stock with vegetable broth and omitting the cured sausage. You could make a vegan Portuguese Soup by leaving out the whipping cream.
Portuguese Bean Soup Health Benefits
Our Portuguese Bean Soup recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Low in calories and high in vitamins K, C, A and the B vitamin folate, kale supports your eyesight, bones, and circulation.
All types of dried beans are rich in cholesterol-lowering fibre. They are also a low-fat source of iron, vital for the cardiovascular system and for energy, and contain B vitamins that protect against heart disease.
Paprika is rich in vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. These substances may help prevent inflammation and improve your cholesterol, eye health and blood sugar levels.
Bean, Kale and Sausage Soup Tips
This healthy homemade soup recipe is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time soup makers!
- Use a large cast iron dutch oven with a high rim to reduce splatter when cooking.
- We suggest using a high quality rubber spatula spoon when making soup so you can easily stir, scrape down the side of the pot and sip to check if it needs to be seasoned further with more salt before spooning into bowls.
- Traditional recipes would typically feature Portuguese cured sausages like chouriço or linguiça. Since Portuguese sausages can be sometimes hard to find, feel free to substitute with the more readily available Spanish chorizo.
- We’ve used chicken stock in this recipe but you could substitue with vegetable broth if you’re vegetarian.
- You can substitute white navy beans for chickpeas or cannellini beans.
- We’ve used chopped kale in this recipe but you could substitute for collard or mustard greens.
- We’ve added a few glugs of cream to add a richness to the soup but you could leave it out or substitue for a lower fat Table Cream.
What To Serve with Portuguese Bean Soup
If you’re hosting a large dinner party you might want to serve our Portuguese Bean Soup as an appetizer before serving heartier mains. We love serving this soup with Osaka Okonomayaki, Calgary Ginger Beef, Keto Jalapeno Poppers, Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu, Cheesy Polenta, Vegetarian Roti Canai Curry, Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Old School Cheese and Onion Pie, Green Onion Cake, Baked Mediterranean Chicken Thighs, Baked Chicken Cracklings, Homemade Savoury Pickle Pie, Indian Crepes, Vietnamese Crepe Bánh Xèo, Tartiflette Reblochon or Ricotta Gnocchi.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers.
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If you have leftover soup you can store the soup base in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. To reheat simply zap it in the microwave or simmer in a small saucepan on the stove.
We love doubling our soup recipes so can store leftovers in the freezer and save time on cooking in the kitchen. We suggest storing leftover soup in Pyrex freezer safe containers that have a snug lid so there’s not spilling. My mother often uses old glass pasta sauce jars to store soup in the freezer.
Be sure to let your soup reach room temperature before storing it in the freezer. If you add a hot jar of soup to a cold freezer it will significantly reduce the interior temperature and potentially spoil your food.
How To Make Healthy Portuguese Bean Soup
Portuguese Bean Soup
- chef knife
- Dutch Oven or Large Pot
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion peeled and finely chopped
- 5 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cups Kale finely chopped, packed
- 8 cups Chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Dry Sherry
- 1 tsp Lemon zest
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 12 oz Cured Portuguese Sausage or Chorizo
- 15 oz White navy beans
- 1/4 cup Heavy cream
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Add oil, onions and garlic to a large pot or dutch oven and cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, chopped kale, chicken stock, sherry, zest, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pot.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes to soften the potatoes and kale.
- Peel the sausage casings off then cut the cured meat into thin coins. Stir in the sausage, white beans, and cream. Simmer another 5 minutes. Serve hot with Portuguese bread.
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Some of the links in this story use affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through our site, dobbernationLOVES will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps us to produce comprehensive content.