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Kalyn's Kitchen

Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham

Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham is a tummy-warming soup that’s nutritious and easy to make! And this tasty gluten-free soup is also low-glycemic and South Beach Diet friendly! Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

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Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar found on KalynsKitchen.com

When I made this Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham I realized that although I’ve made several tasty dishes with the Red Russian Kale I’ve grown in my garden, I’d never once cooked dark green kale. Since Kale has more nutrition per calorie than almost other food, I really wanted to start using it. Luckily my store had it on special for $.99 a bunch, so I bought three nice bunches, and this soup is the first thing I made.

If you don’t have a crockpot, check after the recipe for instructions on how to adapt this recipe for stovetop cooking. This is really a simple and rustic soup, but I bumped it up at the end by adding some Spanish sherry vinegar, which added a delightful just-sour-enough-to-be-interesting flavor to the soup. Some sherry vinegars are as expensive as an imported balsamic vinegar, but I used a fairly inexpensive brand and it was still delightful (see below.) If you don’t have sherry vinegar, I’d try a small amount of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar instead.

Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar found on KalynsKitchen.com

I was careful that the onion was very finely diced. (Personally I don’t like big chunks of onion in soup!) I used one bunch kale, definitely on the smallish size, and I ended up with about 5 1/2 cups of chopped kale. No matter whether your kale leaves are large or small, cut away the center ribs and discard, then coarsely chop the curly green leaves.

Kale can be gritty, so I gave the chopped leaves a quick spin in the salad spinner. No need to dry thoroughly, since it’s going into soup. I literally just dumped the onion, garlic, chopped kale, canned cannellini beans, and diced ham into the crockpot. Then I poured in the ham stock and chicken stock, and added a pinch of red pepper flakes and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.If you don’t have ham stock, you can use some ham flavor base, or you may not need it if you have flavorful ham. I’m a fan of this Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate, but I’ve also used Penzeys or Better Than Bouillon brands. (Edit: Shirley from Gluten Free Easily tells me that Better than Bouillon no longer guarantees their products are gluten-free, so that brand won’t work for people who have to avoid gluten.)

I wanted to eat it that day, so I cooked my soup on high for just under four hours. You could also cook on low for a longer time. I added just a small drizzle of this Spanish sherry vinegar to each bowl of soup when I served it. I got this relatively inexpensive vinegar at Tony Caputo’s Market and Deli in Salt Lake, and if your town has a store that sells imported food you can probably find something similar. I loved the mild barely-sour flavor of sherry vinegar in this soup, but any type of mild flavor will add some interest, so use whatever you have.

Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar found on KalynsKitchen.com


More Recipes with Kale:

Sausage and Red Russian Kale Soup with Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Herbs from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika from Simply Recipes
Red Kale and Cheese Omelet for Two from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Kale Chips from The Kitchn
Red Russian Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham

Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham is a tummy-warming soup that’s nutritious and easy to make!


  • 1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T minced garlic (or less if you don’t love garlic like I do)
  • 1 small bunch of dark green kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cans cannellini beans (15.5 oz. each) or 3 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 3 cups diced ham (use ham with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
  • 4 cups ham stock + 2 cups chicken stock (or use 6 cups chicken stock plus some ham flavor base)
  • 1-2 tsp. or packets ham flavor base (optional, but recommended if using chicken stock)
  • 1 cup water (plus more for stovetop cooking)
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I used just a pinch)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used a lot of pepper)
  • Spanish sherry vinegar or other mild vinegar for serving (optional, but just a small amount of vinegar drizzled on the soup when serving added a lot of interesting flavor)


Crockpot Directions:

  1. Finely chop onion and mince garlic (or use minced garlic from a jar.)
  2. Add onion and garlic to slow cooker.
  3. Cut away center ribs from kale, coarsely chop, and rinse in salad spinner or colander.
  4. Add kale to slow cooker.
  5. Add cannellini beans and chopped ham to slow cooker.
  6. Pour in ham stock, chicken stock, and 1 cup water, plus ham flavor base if using.
  7. Add red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  8. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours, or until kale is fully cooked and softened and flavors are well blended.
  9. Serve hot, with a little vinegar drizzled on the soup when serving if desired.

Stovetop Directions:

  1. Use a heavy 4-5 quart soup pot.
  2. Add all ingredients to soup pot as above, adding 1 cup more water.
  3. Simmer soup on low for 1 hour or a little longer, checking about every 30 minutes to see if you need to add more water. (Be sure the simmer is gentle so the beans don’t break apart.)
  4. Soup is done when kale is cooked and tender and flavors are well blended.
  5. Serve hot, with a little vinegar drizzled on the soup when serving if desired.


I used a 4.5 quart Crockpot Slow Cooker for this recipe, but any size from 4-5 quarts will be fine.

This recipe created by Kalyn.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham is a great low-glycemic soup recipe for any phase of the South Beach Diet<. Dried beans and legumes are allowed for any phase, but there’s a recommendation to start with 1/3 – 1/2 cup of beans for phase one. That’s one reason I used a lot of ham and kale in proportion to the beans in this recipe. Soup with beans is too high in carbs for a low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there. Click here for more Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. (New recipes won’t show up in Yummly right away and information there is not always 100% accurate.) Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham and Sherry Vinegar found on KalynsKitchen.com

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    38 Comments on “Crockpot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham”

  1. Oh I am so glad you enjoyed it so much. And I am very jealous that you have garden kale already!

  2. Me again! Definitely a family favorite here! I made this again with fresh kale from our garden and I used balsamic vinegar then we grated fresh parmesan cheese over the top. Awesome dinner!!!! Thank you again Kalyn!!!!

    • Still loving this soup after all these years! Yesterday I put it in my instant pot. I sauteed the onion and garlic then mixed in all the ingredients. I mixed the kale in really well to make sure I was well below max capacity. I changed the setting to soup for 10 minutes then a little later my family all enjoyed soup and seconds. Yum!

    • Oh I LOVE hearing that! I'm growing kale in my garden, so I think I have to try the Instant Pot version when my kale gets a little bigger.

  3. Well, good to know that it's good even without the vinegar!

  4. Darn it!!! LOL. I made this again tonight for the 2nd time. I forgot to add the vinegar both times. Ugh. I'm sure it makes this very enjoyable soup even better!!!! Next time! 🙂

  5. I happened to have most of the ingredients on hand and whipped this up yesterday. Because I didn't have quite enough ham, I threw in some chopped Canadian bacon and it worked really well. No ham stock or seasoning, either, but it was still delicious. Excellent recipe!
    Heidi from Florida

  6. Glad you liked it. I do think it would be good with spinach too, although I'm a big fan of kale in soups.

  7. Made this again. Yum. My store didn't have kale! WHAT???? I bought spinach instead and just made it a pot soup. I forgot the vinegar at the end so I'm bummed about that but it was yum! I even had some for breakfast. 😉

  8. I'm going to have to try this in one of my clay pots.

  9. I love Kale soup it is one of my favourite ways to use Kale up. I really enjoyed having the crock pot version of this recipe too – I am just getting back into using my crock pot seriously again, so it's great to get more ideas. Thanks!

  10. This was so good – even my kale-disliking husband loved it! Since I don't eat pork, I added smoked turkey sausage instead, with smoked paprika as per a prior poster's suggestion.

  11. Kale is so good in bean soup, isn't it? We really must try using cannelini beans. (We usually use navy beans with this sort of soup.)

    Nice idea to add a bit of vinegar too. I usually add vinegar (apple cider vinegar) when stir-frying kale but I hadn't thought of adding it to soup.


  12. Lydia, great ideas for people who don't eat pork.

    I'm so glad people are liking this, such a simple rustic soup, but very good, especially with the sherry vinegar.

    Matt, absolutely love that vinegar!

  13. Kayln,
    Thanks for the plug of Tony Caputo's for vinegar. This looks amazing!!!
    Matt Caputo

  14. Your soups are the best – so flavorful and such delicious combos of food. Thanks for another great recipe!

    My grandmother always added vinegar to her soups just before serving, and I now know why – it adds tons of flavor!


  15. I love kale – will be looking forward to all your recipes, and this soup, by the way…. PERFECT!

  16. Mmm, love my greens and nothing warms you better from the inside out than a bowl of hearty soup – looks delicious!