Soups, Stews, & Chowders

Ruth O’Donnell’s Portuguese Kale Soup

The best Portuguese Kale Soup recipe is made with linguica – a spicy sausage. Make a batch and see why they call this soup “Portuguese penicillin”!

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 20 2022


Portuguese Kale Soup

Photo Credit : Julie Bidwell

Ruth O’Donnell (a 2011 YankeeBest Cook“) learned to make this Portuguese Kale Soup from her mother, who in turn learned it from her adoptive mother. “My mother always used white beans or dark beans, whatever she had,” Ruth explains, “but probably 50 years ago, I started adding the ‘Bean with Bacon’ soup instead of beans. It’s what gives this soup its flavor.” In addition, what makes this recipe distinctly Portuguese is the linguica—a spicy sausage available in markets on Cape Cod, on the South Shore, and around Boston, but sometimes hard to find elsewhere. If linguica isn’t available in your area, use hot sausage or kielbasa.


8 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 medium-size onions, chopped
1 pound linguiça, sliced, slices halved
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound fresh kale, washed, stems discarded, shredded into small pieces
1 can Campbell’s “Bean with Bacon” soup plus 1 can water (or substitute 1 can white beans plus 2 cups chicken broth)
2 large potatoes, peeled, cubed (russets or your preference)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add oil and cook garlic, onions, and linguiça slices until onions are soft. Add 4 cups chicken broth and kale. Cover, and let kale cook down, stirring occasionally.

Add bean soup and water (or substitute beans and broth); simmer about 5 minutes. (Add more water if the mixture’s not dilute enough.) Add cubed potatoes. Simmer, covered, 20-30 minutes longer, till potatoes are soft.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with crusty bread.