Caldo Verde (Portuguese Potato and Kale Soup)

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Potato and Kale Soup)

Lest you be reminded, this Monday is the cruelest of days — April 18, tax day — time to shore-up your dollars and cents; time to organize the deductibles, scrambling to save every blessed last dime; but there he is, knocking at the door, there’s no place to hide — it’s time to feed the man.

Meanwhile, here’s a soup to feed your wretched spirits; the perfect antidote to the tax-time blues. Allow the nourishing, warmth of puréed potatoes and turnips to soothe your troubled soul; let the frugality of the ingredients be kind to your beleaguered pursestrings. I urge you, however, not to take offense by the soup’s uncanny resemblance to your hard earned dollars and cents, and the fact that — like cash — it will vanish faster than the time it took to make it.

Recipes for Caldo Verde, like every beloved national recipe, have hundreds of variations. I would not suggest my version of this soup to be any more authentic than the rest — particularly since I don’t include sausage, especially the Portuguese liguica or chourico (chorizo), which is a primary ingredient in most traditional Caldo Verde recipes. Sausage would be perfectly delicious simmered in this soup, but I substituted penny-pinching kidney beans for the sausage in the following recipe.

I’d love to use Portuguese kale (Beira Tronchuda Cabbage), but have not, to date, found this locally. Probably,Tuscan kale would be the best substitute, but that was not available where I shopped. Commonly found curly green kale is what I used, but note that cooking times for kale vary among varietals and palates.

Some prefer it cooked just a few minutes. Usually, however, the greens are simmered much longer to become soft and sweet.

This is a soup for you alone, a soup you don’t have to share with the man when he comes a knocking at your door; but the good Lord knows, he’s real hungry this year — so you’d better watch your pot.

Recipe: Caldo Verde (Portuguese Potato and Kale Soup)


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green part only, diced (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (5 cups)
  • 3 small turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (3 cups)
  • 6 cups vegetable of chicken stock
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 pound kale, washed, trimmed, ribs removed and cut into thin strips


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the leeks and cook until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes and stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat, simmering until the potatoes and turnips are tender, 20-30 minutes.
  4. When the soup is cool enough to handle, purée it in the food processor and return to the pot. Add the greens and, bring return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the greens are cooked to your palate, 5-45 minutes. In last few minutes of cooking time, stir in beans.

Active Time: 25 minutes

Simmer Time: 40-75 minutes (depending on how the type of kale used)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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