Galician White Bean Soup with Kale and Optional Chorizo

galician white bean soup
Galician White Bean Soup, with Kale and Optional Chorizo: Jump to recipe.

The first thing I ever learned about Galicia is that people go there specifically to eat. It’s a remote part of Spain, the northwest corner; this link from the Galician tourist office provides a nice intro to the region. It was settled by Celts, there are a lot of sheep, and it’s mountainous and craggy—one reason it’s been able to stay in tune with its Celtic roots, because apparently the Moors were not up for clambering over damp, chilly, rocky promontories.

One of the region’s renowned dishes is fabada. According to my trusty Time-Life Foods of the World: Spain and Portugal volume, it is “a fine body-warming bean stew….called the most ‘solid’ single dish in Spain.” Made from local white beans called faha (which are, you guessed it, the local version of fava beans), classic fabada features, in addition to the beans, a veritable entire pig: salt pork, serrano ham, chorizo, and the black blood sausage that never fails to give me pause when I run into it in other countries. (You rarely see it in the US other than at specialty butchers.)

It does NOT have kale. Kale soup, made with linguiça and potatoes, is a specialty of nearby Portugal. But a recent dip into what’s turning into my favorite winter cookbook inspired me to get a little creative. Betty Rosbottom’s Sunday Soups book served as the jumping off point for this hybrid of Galician fabada, Portuguese kale soup, and—well, an undeniable urge to sprinkle bacon on something. Because I am not going to track down salt pork. I get that it’s flavorful, but I also think it’s just weird to boil a piece of fatty salty meat and then you throw it away. Am I right?

Galician White Bean Soup—properly referred to as Galician-inspired, but that makes the url too long—goes together quickly. The biggest thing is just making sure you have all the veggies chopped and ready to go.

galician white bean soupPin

This video shows the order and just how easy it is.

Note: Should you opt for the vegetarian version, you will want to up your paprika, and check that both salt and garlic are sufficient, though not too much.

Galician White Bean Soup with Kale and Optional Chorizo


Galician White Bean Soup with Kale and Optional Chorizo

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  • Author: Nan, @headroamer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 bowls 1x
  • Category: Recipes
  • Method: Soup
  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Diet: Vegetarian



1 1/2 cups of white beans, cooked (or 1 14 oz. can, rinsed and drained)

24 slices of bacon (optional)

12 tablespoons olive oil (as needed, and depending on if you use bacon)

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup chopped celery

23 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons dried thyme or 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh

Smoked paprika to taste; more if you are opting out of meat

red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons sherry, vermouth, or dry white wine

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

46 ounces chorizo, optional; either sliced or broken up and out of the casing, your choice

3 cups chopped, destemmed kale

1/3 cup grated Parmesan


Drain and rinse the beans, if using canned. 

Cook the bacon in a soup pot, if using. When crisp, remove and let drain on paper towel. 

If not using bacon, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onions to the hot fat, add salt to taste, and cook 2-3 minutes, til beginning to be fragrant. Add celery and cook for 2 more minutes, then carrots. Cook til veggies are beginning to soften but so that the celery and carrots still have some life left in them. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, until very fragrant. 

Stir the thyme, paprika (see note!), red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the beans and combine. Add the broth. 

As the vegetable/bean mixture heats, cook chorizo in a separate pan. When chorizo is done (or after about 10 minutes so flavors can blend), drop in the kale. Let cook approximately 5-10 minutes; kale should be the texture that you like. Taste for seasonings. 

If using chorizo, put it in the bottom of the soup bowls. Add soup, sprinkling with Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon, and additional pepper. 


The meatless version benefits from the intense flavor of smoked paprika; you may also want even more garlic. If you are using a very spicy chorizo, add paprika with care. 

Keywords: vegetarian, kale, white beans, soup, Spanish, chorizo

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Welcome to Head Roam! I’m Nan Bauer. Join me in rethinking travel in the world we live in now. Learn more about how I got here.

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