Black-Kale and White-Bean Soup with Barley


Tuscan black kale, or cavolo nero, has impressive stores of calcium and vitamins A and C. A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan gives the soup creaminess and tang without excessive calories.


  • 10 cups water

  • ¾ cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained

  • 3 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 1 can (28 ounces) cannellini beans, liquid reserved

  • 6 ounces Tuscan black kale (or regular kale), roughly chopped (3 ½ cups)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest


  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat, add barley, and simmer until just tender, about 1 hour.

  2. Add 2 cups stock to pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and add onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and salt. Season with pepper. Simmer until barley is soft, about 20 minutes.

  3. Add beans with liquid, kale, and remaining 2 cups water and 1 cup stock. Simmer until kale is tender and cooked through, about 7 minutes.

  4. Divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan and lemon zest, and season with pepper.

Related Articles