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Zaynab Issa's Brothy White Bean and Kale Soup

Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, New York-based chef Zaynab Issa shares her recipe for a Brothy White Bean and Kale Soup.

Few things in life are as comforting as a warm and hearty soup, and Zaynab Issa's brothy white bean and kale recipe is no exception. Many of us have our standard go-to soup recipes, be it pumpkin or leek and potato, but this nourishing concoction and its rich flavour profile take things up a notch. Not to mention it's packed full of antioxidants and fibre.

Tomatoes, leafy greens, spices, herbs, and legumes culminate to create a meal that's heartwarming, delicious, and perfect for any occasion ranging from a dinner party with friends to a rainy day in bed. Topped with croutons for added crunch and carby goodness, it truly is the most well rounded of soups.

While many soups are served as starters, this flavourful dish is a satisfying main course in its own right and should be considered a foundational in everyone's weeknight cooking.


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (830ml) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 tsp olive oil, plus more
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Kosher salt, to taste 
  • 950ml vegetable stock
  • 2 415ml cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar of Modena or 2 tsp honey
  • ¼ bunch parsley, tender stems and leaves roughly chopped 
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup torn bread, from a crusty loaf 
  • 100-150 grams of kale, roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving



Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add the diced onion and garlic and mix to coat.

Season with kosher salt and add the red pepper flakes, ground cumin, and paprika.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock, cannellini beans, sun dried tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar or honey and stir.

Bring the soup to a rapid boil, and cook for 15 minutes or until the soup has thickened and the flavours have come together.

In the meantime, prepare the parsley salad and croutons: For the parsley salad, toss the chopped parsley with about 2 tsp lemon juice and a sprinkle of kosher salt.

For the croutons, add 2 tsp of olive to a small skillet on medium high heat.

Add the breadcrumbs and season with salt and black pepper.

Toast, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Return to the soup and stir in the kale, allowing it to wilt, about 3 minutes.  

To serve, ladle the soup into large bowls and top with the parsley salad, croutons, and more black pepper.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges. 

Shop Zaynab's look with our Sage tablecloth, Sage & Olive scalloped placemats and Sage & Olive scalloped napkins.

For more from Zaynab, follow her on Instagram @zaynab_issa

Hungry for more? Explore more recipes from our favourite home cooks here.


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