This vegan version of the classic Portuguese Kale, Bean and Sausage Soup was inspired by a hometown memory. I grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was, during those years, still a thriving fishing community with large Italian and Portuguese communities. Let me tell you, the food we ate because of these cultures was unbelievable. Imaging walking downtown with your mouth watering from the smells of bread and pizza and garlic. And pastry.
Anyway, years ago, my friend Pam, who lived in the heart of the Portuguese community, made the soup for me. She told me a lot about the differences in the cuisines, especially that the Portuguese food tended to be more savory and with a few bold ingredients. The soup was all that, and I fondly remember sitting down with her, a loaf of crunchy bread, and two bowls of soup on one cold day. Mmmmmm.
Oddly enough, all these years since, I never made the non-vegan version, myself. I never had a recipe because I’m sure Pam makes this from memory and instinct, like many great cooks. But, I never forgot about this soup.
WhenField Roast came out with an Italian style sausage, I had a hmmm moment. Growing up pre-vegan with amazing Italian sausage and linguica, the bar is pretty freaking high. We first tried it on pizza. It totally passed the taste test AND the texture is great. Let me explain: Traditional animal-based sausage has a “snap” because it is packed into casing, which is make from animal intestines. Yes. Yuk. That is what gives sausage, and hot dogs, the “snap” that vegan and vegetarian versions just don’t have. I think we can live without it. Don’t you?
Did I mention that I never forgot this soup? Emboldened by my Field Roast discovery, I decided to play around with recreating the soup. In truth, if you start with a few bold flavors and keep it pretty simple, it is more about tweaking than creating. This soup came together nicely after a few attempts. The taste is exactly what I was aiming for and remember. I am grateful to Pam, with whom I have long lost touch, for her hospitality, generosity and talent in the kitchen.
In addition to being delicious, the kale, onion and beans provide nutrient density and fiber that make this a very satisfying soup, totally filling the bill for a main course. I recommend pairing it with a great loaf of bread, to enjoy and to sop up the last bits in the bowl. Enjoy!
Note: this is not a sponsored post, but we’re happy to support brands, like Field Roast, that are producing great products. While we prefer to make meals from fresh ingredients, without relying on a particular product, we love to share ways to use the wonderful products that are appearing all the time. This is one of those cases. If you’re having trouble finding the Italian Sausage this link includes a “store finder”.
A hearty soup inspired by classic “Fisherman’s Wives” soups. Filled with satisfying and nutritious ingredients.
1 Tbs olive oil
3–4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 large onion, diced
1 package of Field Roast Italian sausage, peeled from wrapper and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
4–5 medium to large potatoes, scrubbed and diced
vegetable broth, enough to cover potatoes by about 1 inch (approx 5-6 cups)
1 bay leaf
1 can or 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini (Italian white) beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch kale, remove from stems and chop
1 tsp salt, more to taste
grinds of black pepper
vegan parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Warm a large dutch oven or soup pot on the stove.
Add oil and spread around pot.
Add onion and cook, gently stirring for 3-5 minutes.
Add the garlic and sausage. Continue to stir gently, until the sausage starts to crisp a little. If stuff starts to stick, splash a little water into the pan and gently scrape the bottom.
Remove the onion, garlic and sausage from the pan and set aside. Without cleaning the pan (this is important for flavor), add the potatoes, bay leaf, salt, pepper and vegetable broth to cover potatoes by about 1 inch and cook on medium heat until potatoes are just tender when pricked with a fork. Once the broth is boiling, it should take about 15 minutes, give or take depending on type and size of dice.
Add the drained beans, kale and sausage mixture, stirring gently to evenly combine.
Cook until kale is softened.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese if desired. (we love Follow Your Heart brand)
Prep note: A ‘bunch” of kale is a relative thing. I like a lot of kale, so I use a big bunch. Adjust according to preference.
Georgia is an unpretentious foodie who, at 50, transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a whole foods plant based diet and is loving it. She works as a nurse, plays as a quilter, loves to run, hates to race. She thinks dogs are actually angels (in dog suits).