Red bean soup with kale and ham tortellini

My two daughters are very identical in some things and so different in others. When they were very young, between two and four years old, was very hard to make Joana, the oldest, eat any type of soup whereas Rita, the youngest, completely ignored pureed soups, preferring a more substancial red bean soup with cabbage.

Nowadays Rita still asks me many times to make a red bean soup with cabbage and macaroni; and with winter finally installed in the thermometers, I confess that it feels nice to get home, remove the scarf, which is now always wrapped around my neck, take the coat out and nestle around the heat and aroma of a bowl of steaming soup. As I made a red bean soup with cabbage and pasta a little diferente from the ususal, I decided to share the recipe with you.

Instead of the usual cabbage I used curly kale, a variety less known in Portugal but that is already relatively easy to find in supermarkets. It has gained immense popularity in recent years, often being referred to as a super food. I do not like this designation, as it seems deprecating to all other foods that are equally important in a healthy and varied diet, but kale actually has high levels of vegetable protein, vitamins and minerals. As for taste, it is softer compared to the bitter taste typical of the cabbages most used in Portugal. You can find a lot of information online about kale, its benefits and ways to cook it, like, for example, here.

In addition to red beans and cumin, a spice that I always use in a red bean soup, I decided to use tortellini instead of macaroni and make this soup the main course of the meal. For this red bean soup with kale it seemed to make sense to use ham tortellini. However, you can find many other varieties of fresh tortellini or ravioli in supermarkets, including cheese or mushroom tortellini that you can use to make a completely vegetarian version of this soup.

I hope you try this red bean soup with kale and ham tortellini, enjoy it and, above all, feel warmer and more comforted after eating it. See you soon.
Red bean soup with kale and ham tortellini
Red bean soup with kale and ham tortellini

Red bean soup with kale and ham tortellini

Red bean, cabbage and macaroni soup is a rather typical Portuguese soup but I made some twists. This is a substancial soup that can perfectly be a main course.

serves 6

Prep time:

Cook time:


  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion (250g), diced
  • 1 turnip (250g), diced
  • 1 large carrot (150g), sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 260g (1 small can) cooked red beans
  • 200g kale, cut into julienne
  • 250g fresh ham tortellini
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste



  1. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion, turnip and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and sauté for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the cumin and 1 liter of water, cover and, when boiling, cook for 20 minutes in medium-low heat.
  3. Cook the tortellini in salted water, according to the package directions.
  4. When the vegetables are cooked, add half the beans and puree using the hand blender. Add the rest of the beans and kale and cook for 6 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust the salt if needed and season with freshly ground black pepper. Add the cooked tortellinis and serve hot.



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