Kalyn's Kitchen

Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale

Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale is a tummy-warming soup that’s extra nutritious and easy to make, and kale fans will love this soup! To make a lower-carb version, use more ham and kale and just one can of beans.

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Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale finished soup in serving bowl

When I made Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale I realized that although I’ve made several 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. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, I’d try a small amount of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar instead. And the generous amounts of ham and kale make this lower in carbs than some bean soups, but if you’d like a version with even fewer carbs, just use even more ham and kale and only one can of beans.


Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale process shots collage

How to Make Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. I was careful that the onion was very finely diced. (Personally I don’t like big chunks of onion in soup!)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. I literally just dumped the onion, garlic, chopped kale, canned Cannellini beans (or other beans of your choice), and diced ham into the crockpot.
  5. Then I poured in the ham stock and chicken broth, and added a pinch of red pepper flakes and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
  6. If you don’t have ham stock, you can use some ham flavor base. I’m a fan of this Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate (affiliate link) but I’ve also used Penzeys or Better Than Bouillon brands. (Better than Bouillon no longer guarantees their products are gluten-free, so that brand won’t work for people who have to avoid gluten.)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

More Recipes with Kale:

Instant Pot Sausage and Kale Soup from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Kale and Cheese Omelet for Two from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Weekend Food Prep:

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

Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale finished soup in serving bowl

Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 12 hours 20 minutes

Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale is a tummy-warming soup for everyone who likes kale!

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow 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
  • two 15.5 oz. cans white beans (see notes)
  • 3 cups diced ham
  • 4 cups ham stock + 2 cups chicken broth (see notes)
  • 2 packets ham flavor base (optional, see notes)
  • 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)

Instructions

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 beans and chopped ham to slow cooker.
  6. Pour in ham stock, chicken broth, 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.

Notes

I used Cannellini beans but use any white beans you prefer. You can also use 3 cups of cooked beans instead of canned beans. If you don't have ham stock, use 6 cups chicken stock plus more Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate (affiliate link) or other ham flavor base.

I used a Crock-Pot 5-Quart Smart-Pot Slow Cooker (affiliate link) for this recipe, but any size from 4-5 quarts will be fine.

This recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1296mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 28g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale  is a great low-glycemic soup recipe for any phase of the original 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 Soup Recipes to 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!

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    38 Comments on “Crockpot Bean Soup with Ham and Kale”

  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.

    -Elizabeth

  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!

    Donna

  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!