One of the healthiest foods on the planet, kale is packed with nutrients and easy to combine with classic Latin flavors and recipes, like this traditional Portuguese caldo verde. (Photo/Betty Cortina)

A healthy idea: caldo verde, Portuguese potato and kale soup

Sometimes the simplest dishes, with just a few great ingredients, are the ones that pack the most flavor. In the case of today’s recipe, it also happens to pack serious nutritional punch. A Portuguese national favorite—some say it’s Portugal’s national dish!—caldo verde is a simple soup made with potatoes and kale.

A powerful vehicle for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, kale is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Easy-to-make and hearty, this soup makes a great stage for it. (In Portugal, kale is often substituted with collard greens, which are just as nutritious.)

         Click here for two more Latin-inspired kale recipes: Garbanzo and kale stew, and crisp kale chips with pimentón.

While the classic recipe calls for sliced, smoked Portuguese sausage—known as linguica—to be added toward the end, you can keep things healthier by substituting with a lean, turkey smoked sausage such as kielbasa. Or you can forgo the sausage altogether and keep things vegetarian.

Caldo verde (Portuguese potato and kale soup)

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup)_V2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
6 cups water
7 oz firm, smoked chorizo or linguica sausage, thinly sliced on the bias
Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
8 oz kale, stems and ribs removed, sliced into thin ribbons

1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the the potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for another four or five minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender and fully cooked.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, cook sliced chorizo until it lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Using a potato masher mash the potatoes in this soup. Or you can also pour the soup, in batches into a blender, puree and return to pot. Add the browned sausage sliced, season with salt and pepper and return to medium heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.

4. Stir the kale into soup and simmer for another 10 to 12 minutes, until kale is tender and bright green. Serve hot. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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