This healthy, gluten-free white bean and kale soup gets an extra boost of flavor from smoked fish, and is a quick and easy dinner option.
This post is sponsored by King Oscar.
Do you know what usually gives Southern-style bean soup an extra something something? A little extra oomph of flavor?
Meat. In particular, a ham hock. It’s slowly cooked inside the soup until the meat falls apart and the beans take on a smoky, well-rounded flavor.
This fall, as the weather began to shift, the leaves began to change, and my obsession with smoked fish raged on– I started to wonder– could I swap smoked fish for ham in bean soup? Could it add the smokiness, the extra pop of flavor, the extra layer of deliciousness to a the soup?
Happily, the answer is YES.
This white bean and kale soup is more of a Tuscan bean soup than a Southern-bean soup, but with a tasty nod to the bean-loving South.
Kipper Snacks: Delicious Smoked Fish
Admittedly, when I hear the words “smoked fish”– I tend to also think “expensive.” Because it can be!
Whether it’s cold-smoked salmon (lox), hot-smoked salmon, or smoked trout– smoked fish can be as pricey as it is delicious. And then I discovered kipper snacks (a type of smoked herring).
Kipper snacks are affordable enough to be just what the name implies– a snack!– but are still a high-quality, delicious seafood option.
Can I Add Extra Fish?
Yes– of course you can!
As written, the recipe calls for one can of kipper snacks per pot of soup, which gives you a lot of flavor, and just a little bit of fish in each bowl of soup. It’s similar to the amount of ham in a Southern-style bowl of beans.
If you LOVE smoked fish, and want your soup to taste more like a seafood soup than a bean soup– feel free to double (or even triple) the amount of kippers in your version.
Do I Have to Purée Part of the Soup?
Nope. I like to purée about half of the beans and veggies because it makes the broth a little thicker.
BUT if you don’t have a blender or immersion blender, or just don’t feel like using it– you can skip that step!
Can I Use Dry Beans Instead of Canned Beans?
I’m not sure– can you remember to plan ahead and soak and brine the beans? And cook them first?
I have trouble remembering to do that.
But yes. If you can plan ahead– you can definitely swap in home-cooked beans.
Not sure how many dry beans you’ll need? Check out this chart from Serious Eats.
Can I Use Spinach Instead of Kale?
You sure can! Keep in mind that the spinach will wilt more than the kale, so you might want to use a little more spinach than kale.
Can I Make this Soup Ahead of Time?
Yes! Check the recipe card for directions.
Want some HOMEMADE BROTH for this soup? Try using one of these:
Want more CANNED FISH recipe ideas? Try these:
- Kipper Recipe: Smoked Fish Sliders
- A Canned Sardine Recipe: Mini Fish Cakes
- Pasta con le Sarde: Pasta with Sardines
White Bean and Kale Soup with Smoked Fish
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 4 cups vegetable broth OR seafood stock
- 3 15oz cans white beans, drained (Great Northern, cannellini, and/or navy)
- 2 cups kale, loosely packed, destemmed + cut into small, bite-size pieces
- 1 3oz can kippers, drained King Oscar kipper snacks recommended
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- salt to taste Amount needed will depend on how salty the broth is
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, celery, carrot, paprika, and chili flakes. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add broth and beans. Bring to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes.
- Optional (for thicker soup): Scoop about 2 cups of the soup (mostly beans and vegetables, along with a little broth) into a blender (or the basin of an immersion blender), and blend until creamy. Pour back into the pot.
- Add the kale to the pot, and stir.
- Flake the kippers apart with a fork, and add to the pot. Add the lemon juice. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and add additional salt to taste if desired.
- Serve immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to a month.