Saturday, November 9, 2019

Caldo Verde (Portuguese-style Mashed Potato Soup With Beans & Greens)

Caldo Verde is a classic Portuguese soup with luscious potatoes, hearty greens, and plump beans. I was intrigued by this soup when I saw a program where this soup was featured many years ago. It is a hearty and comforting soup to satisfy the hunger pangs with minimal ingredients and work. Although similar to Mess of Greens Soup, it is simpler and a bit different. It is a snap to prepare especially if you have leftover mashed potatoes and some cooked beans waiting in the fridge or freezer; canned kidney beans may be used as well. If you like to cook your own beans, check this post; it is quite easy, tasty, and economical!

I make two versions of Caldo Verde (at least): one with regular potatoes and another with sweet potatoes depending on what's available in my pantry! The bean choice can vary too - use any dry beans cooked until soft but not mushy. The potatoes may be left in chunks or mashed and added to the soup. I use different types of greens based on availability, variety, and taste; use your favorites - Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards, Turnip greens, etc. Hearty greens work best for this soup; depending on the greens you use, the cooking times will vary; the tougher greens will need more time to soften. If you really want to use spinach, stir it in at the last minute just to wilt.

  • I often roast the veggies for a robust flavored soup. Roasting may be done a day or two ahead which makes preparing the soup ever so quick. Only caveat with roasting the potatoes is that you may have to guard them from being eaten right out of the pan because they are so delicious! The roasted veggies may be stirred into the soup with or without mashing.
  • If you like a red, green and white soup with a high contrast of ingredients, use white carrots and peeled regular potatoes. Also, rinse the beans before adding to the soup to keep the soup from taking on color from the bean cooking liquid.
8 Servings


1 tsp Oil (optional)
1/2 tsp Red Chile flakes
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Turmeric (optional)
1 Bay Leaf, fresh or dry
5-6 sprigs fresh Thyme
2-3 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 large Carrot, cut into thick coins
4-6 Potatoes, any type (about 1 1/2 lbs)
6 cups boiling Water
1 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1 big bunch Kale or other Leafy Greens (about 1 lb)
2 Cups cooked Red Kidney Beans
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to serve
Red Chile flakes, to serve


Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place whole potatoes in a baking pan and bake until done. Alternately, cut potatoes into cubes and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked and lightly browned, stirring to cook evenly once or twice during roasting.

Alternately, the potatoes maybe cooked or steamed, cubed or mashed before adding to soup.

Prepare the greens; wash, trim, and strip the leaves off from the stems; chop the stems and leaves and keep them separate.

Heat the oil (if using) in a soup pot and add the chile flakes; when they begin to sizzle or change color, add the onions, garlic with carrots and a pinch of salt. Stir in the stems from the greens if you wish to use them. Cook covered over low heat for about 4 to 5 minutes stirring as needed with a sprinkle or two of water as needed to keep the veggies from sticking or burning.

Add the boiling water along with the herbs and increase heat so the soup is boiling.

Stir in the chopped kale or the greens of your choice, cover, reduce heat so the soup is simmering gently, and simmer until the greens are tender.

Add the beans to the greens and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes. If you like a creamy soup, mash the potatoes while still hot with a potato masher with a little of the broth from the soup. Stir it back into the soup and heat through.

Check soup for seasonings and add salt and freshly ground pepper according to your taste.

Serve hot with a drizzle of the olive oil and a sprinkle of the chile flakes if you like.


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