Leek and Kale Soup with Pasta

Leek and kale soup_5

In recent years, kale has become rather trendy, which is quite impressive for a leaf crop that has traditionally been associated with poverty, paucity and lack. It was a popular vegetable for those without much money, and definitely a vegetable for the masses (even for the cattle and other livestock). It’s also at its most prolific in the hard winter months (January – March), when conventionally there was little else growing or available for harvest, and stores were often depleted.

By way of contrast, its current – and much more fashionable – reputation is directly linked with abundance. Kale grows relatively reliably as an organic crop, and has an impressive vitamin content, as well as a high nutrient density. It’s also possible that kale has a number of other health-related benefits, including as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. Together, these nutritional benefits mean that it’s an excellent vegetable to include regularly (along with a range of others) in your diet.


Kale does have a relatively strong flavour which isn’t to everyone’s taste, but like many cabbage greens, it’s also extremely versatile, and it’s often worthwhile experimenting with different methods of cooking in order to determine a favourite. It can also be included raw – or lightly blanched – in salads.

This recipe is extremely simple (both quick and easy) and makes for a great weekday meal. The trick – I think – is to add the kale right at the end of the soup-making process, so that it’s tender, but continues to hold on to some of its texture. I used curly kale (called green kale in the US), which also turns a beautiful, vivid, vibrant colour that looks just wonderful, especially contrasted with the various hues of the leeks. So, if you’re preparing the soup in advance make sure to add the kale only when you’re re-heating it, and not at an earlier stage.

Leek and kale soup_1

Recipe: Leek and Kale Soup with Pasta


2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 ½ litres of chicken or vegetable stock
100g (3 ½ oz) small pasta shapes
200g (7 oz) kale, cut into narrow strips
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan, or other hard cheese (to serve)

Serves 2-4


Chopped leeks_1Heat the oil and butter over a medium heat and gently fry the celery for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the leeks and continue to soften for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for 1 more minute, then pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and continue to simmer for 6 minutes before adding the kale and cooking for 2 more minutes until the pasta is cooked and the kale Leek and kale soup_6is tender (and still bright green).

Add some salt (if necessary) and pepper, and serve with the grated parmesan.


About Georgina

Originally from the South of England, I've also had homes in Australia (Canberra) and the US (Los Angeles). I've been based in the UK city of Sheffield for a couple of years now. My blog is about adventures with food - markets, ingredients, books, recipes, places I've eaten and other related experiences. It focuses on stories from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and nearby Derbyshire, as well as places farther afield.
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28 Responses to Leek and Kale Soup with Pasta

  1. JKM says:

    Yumm! I am always looking for new kale recipes!

  2. I have only just discovered kale. My first foray involved oven baked kale chips. This soup looks gorgeous. I love leek soup so I’m sure I’ll love this.

  3. Susan Harrison says:

    Sounds lovely. Really – anti inflammatory. Gotta try that.!

  4. Looks so light any yet I’ll bet packed with flavour! Just how I like soups – very rustic – lovely!

  5. Susan says:

    Very pretty! I like the addition of parmesan at the end.

  6. This looks deliciously light and healthy!

  7. Vinny Grette says:

    So true – kale is indeed an acquired taste. But so are many other strong-tasting veggies that are good for us. It’s so worth trying out lots of recipes to see just how we best like these nutritional powerhouses. I’m going to try out your recipe using buckwheat instead of pasta – which I try to stay away from (unless I’m in Italy… or can get whole grain versions 🙂 )

    • Vinny Grette says:

      PS – Leeks have become a real favorite in our house. The combination looks wonderful!

    • Georgina says:

      I agree – it’s great just how versatile so many vegetables are, and with so many ways to cook something like kale I’m sure that most people would find something that they really love. I eat it in all sorts of ways, and will include some more recipes soon.
      I really like your idea of using buckwheat instead of pasta too, and think that I’ll try that next time. Thanks for the suggestion!

      (I’ve said this elsewhere, but leeks really are my favourite vegetable and it’s always good to know that there are other fans out there!!).

  8. Lilly Sue says:

    Yummy! I like this recipe idea! Thanks 🙂

  9. Sophie33 says:

    A lovely & very green good-for-you soup, Georgina! Waw! Not too mention: very yummy looking too! 🙂

  10. alidaniel says:

    this looks awesome! I’m always looking for more kale recipes to try!

  11. Yum! I make a very similar pasta dish to this quite often, except without the soup/broth! I should try it this way sometime too…

  12. Pingback: Stir-fried Beef with Kale and Red Bell Pepper. And Kale Chips. | The Fresh Princess of Bel Air

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