Happy Kalemore: Italian Kale & White Sweet Potato Soup

I know I just shared a soup recipe, but this one is too good to pass up. You should know that I’m not sick of kale yet…or leeks. I could have taken pictures of leeks once and been reusing them for all you know, but that is not the case. I retake the leek photos every time, and do you know why? Because leeks are my favorite vegetable (neck in neck with kale, really), and I’m not even sure if they qualify as a vegetable. The sugar content alone must disqualify them, but she don’t care.

What you call a "rustic" chop.

What you call a “rustic” chop.

I’ll give you my opinion on leeks–buy the skinny ones with the longest whitish and light greenish parts you can find. I’m not sure if there’s any reason behind my method, but I have it in my head that smaller (in this case, skinnier) vegetables are sweeter and are less modified by strange chemical and/or hormonal processes (or maybe I just sympathize with runts), and the more I can get from the stalk, the better. That’s a bit contradictory, but I’m good with it. I know you can use the leafy tops for stock, but how often do you think I do that? Graduate school, people. So, I dig through the pile at the store until I find satisfactory ones with not too much of the tough dark green bits. Don’t tell me they all come from the same batch, and thus, the same dirt, and are therefore equally modified by strange toxins. Let me believe.

White sweet potatoes

White sweet potatoes

Leeks taste so good. When you sauté them, they are so nutty and sweet and satisfying. I tell myself they can replace onions in any recipe.

Once I made my poor fiance eat scrambled eggs with leeks on toast. I realized by the look on his face that I had actually made leeks with eggs on toast. More for me!

kaleAnd kale! I swear I can feel the nutrients soaking into my body as I eat the stuff. I can literally feel my heart beating more vigorously. Maybe not. But in my head, it happens. Last week, I bought some crazy varieties, including a purple bushel that gave off pink juices when cooked (cool!) and this yummy, crazy looking Italian kale.

Plus these white sweet potatoes that are so nutty in flavor and aroma that my roommate thought I was roasting nuts. On an open fire.

cheeseThis soup resulted in audible moans in my house. And it wasn’t just me this time. The Roomz liked it too.

kalesoupItalian Kale & White Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4

1 (skinny!) leek, cleaned and sliced in ½ inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
2 small carrots, chopped in ½ inch rounds
1 white sweet potato (medium), chopped in ½-inch cubes
1 head of Italian kale, washed and roughly chopped
4-5 cups of chicken broth (depending on how liquidy you want it to be)
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Olive oil for drizzling
Parmesan for dusting

1. Using a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, sauté leeks in 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. I threw in a ½ Tablespoon of Kerrygold butter, and it was so worth it. Cook about 5 minutes. When sweaty, add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

2. Add potatoes and sear (turn up the heat a bit). Stir, scraping up bits. After 2-3 minutes, add carrots. Sear, stir, and scrape up bits for about 3 more minutes, then pour in broth and bring to a simmer. Bring heat back to medium or medium low to keep the soup at a simmer (not a rolling boil).

3. Leave lid cracked and simmer for 10-15 minutes, checking frequently for doneness in sweet potatoes and carrots. When they are almost done, toss the kale on top (don’t stir in) and close the lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes depending on patience level.

4. Stir soup and test all veggies for doneness. Season with extra salt (it’s so good!) if you want to. I used low sodium broth, then added salt at the end–I get how that is counterproductive, but I didn’t plan it this way. Serve with pepper, parmesan, and olive oil drizzle.


  1. This sounds like the perfect meal when I’m feeling heavy from too much rich holiday food. Add some cayenne pepper & it will clear up a hangover, too!

    1. Or after a weekend of cannoli in Boston? Oh yeah–it would definitely be good with some spiciness. A few people have already made it and they agree–it’s delicious.

  2. […] Pecorino and Toasted Hazelnuts Kale Salad with Pickled Peppers and Shallots and a Soft-poached Egg Italian Kale and White Sweet Potato Soup Kale and Dumpling […]

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