Lacinata Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup (Zuppa di Cavolo Nero e Cannellini)

Lacinata Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup or Zuppa di Cavolo Nero e Cannellini just prior to adding the cooking liquid

The variety of kale known as Lacinato is critical to Italian food history and specifically to the second-most-populous region of Italy known as Campania (Napoli being the most well known city in the province).  Lacinato kale has a bitter and sweet flavor profile and is comprised of a rich blue green color.  Lacinato kale is traditionally used in minestrone soupand has been grown and eaten in Campania for hundreds of years (and, as it is well documunted, predates popular dishes such as pizza and pasta by centuries).

Lacinato kale is also referred to as dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, palm tree kale, black Tuscan palm, Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, black kale, flat back cabbage, and Italian kale.

We recently prepared a simple soup of Lacinato kale and small cannellini beans.  Lacinato kale is often used in the popular soup from Toscona known as ribollita.  Lacinato kale is also sauteedat times with garlic.

Lacinata Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup (Zuppa di Cavolo Nero e Cannellini)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 pound of coarsely chopped Lacinato kale
  • 15 ounces of fresh cannellini beans. (a note on beans: you can of course use canned beans (but note they are expensive and, in my opinion, not as good as soaking your own dried beans)
  • 4-5 cups of fresh, filtered, water (you can use chicken or vegetable stock as well, but I find it unnecessary)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ onion finely diced
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • ½ potato finely diced
  • 1-2 pieces of fennel, finely diced
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  1. ProcessSet your cooking flame to medium and begin heating a large stock pot. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the port and add the garlic, onion, fennel, carrot, and hot pepper flakes. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and sautée the ingredients for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Next, add the finely chopped kale and cook until the kale is somewhat wilted, about 5 minutes. Add salt, water, and beans. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can, of course, simmer the mixture longer, if needed to develop more intense flavor. You can also use a hand mixer to puree the ingredients before serving (which we recommend)
  3. After moving the soup to a serving bowl, drizzle the remaining olive oil over the souo and grate a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the bowl. Serve the soup with a good quality bread and a glass of Ciro from Calabria.


  1. Love kale and cannellini beans! Gotta make it!

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