Italian Kale Soup ~ Zuppa Valdostana

This Italian kale soup, or zuppa valdostana, is a rustic, hearty, meal in a bowl that layers kale and cabbage with slices of ciabatta bread and Gruyère, fontina, and Parmesan cheeses.

A white bowl filled with Italian kale soup, topped with ciabatta and melted cheese, with a spoon resting on the side.

This Italian kale soup, or zuppa Valdostana, hails from the Italian Alps and, as one of our recipe testers reminded us, “reflects both the frugality of Italian peasant food while highlighting the importance of cheese to the Swiss and French.” Translation? Your daily quota of good-for-you greens is layered with ciabatta and a not-too-shy portion of melted cheese. Which means the taste is so luxuriously far from being abstemious, you won’t even suspect it’s stealthy healthy.–Angie Zoobkoff

Italian Kale Soup | Zuppa Valdostana

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 30 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Four Seasons: A Year of Italian Food cookbook

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Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter 6 large, ovenproof soup bowls.

In a large saucepan over high heat, warm the chicken stock.

Remove the leaves from the savoy cabbage, rinse them, trim any thick stems, and cut or tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Do the same with the kale, chard, or spinach, although you probably won’t need to cut or tear spinach.

Rub the toasted ciabatta bread with the cut side of the garlic clove.

In the bottom of each bowl, place a handful each of cabbage and kale, spinach, or Swiss chard. On top of this, place 3 anchovy fillets, if using, and then a handful each fontina and Gruyère cheeses. Arrange 1 to 2 slices toasted ciabatta on top.

Tester tip: Don’t freak about the anchovies. They completely dissolve and lend an invisible oomph to the soup.

Continue with more layers of cabbage and kale, spinach, or Swiss chard, anchovies, and fontina and Gruyère cheeses, finally topping it all with Parmigiano and black pepper.

Add enough stock to each bowl to fill 3/4 full. Place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan.

Tester tip: It’s tempting but don’t heap the bowls more then 3/4 full of ingredients or they may end up overflowing since the bread will expand as it absorbs the stock.

Bake until the soup has a golden, crunchy crust on top, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Print RecipeBuy the Four Seasons: A Year of Italian Food cookbook

Want it? Click it.


    • Tux variation

      If you don’t have large ovenproof soup bowls, or are concerned yours aren’t big enough, you can assemble this in a single large casserole dish. Increase the baking time to 30 minutes and divvy into individual bowls after baking.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This soup is a definite TC!!! My tasters and I absolutely loved the flavors. What's not to like when you combine the nutty flavor of melted Gruyere and the mellow but slightly pungent flavor of Fontina. This is truly a meal in itself and a great cold weather treat.

    The combination of ingredients worked together perfectly and required no final adjustments to the seasoning. The cabbage held a slight crunch, which was a nice contrast to the creaminess of the cheese.

    I used a homemade stock which I believe is a must to get the great flavor this dish deserves. And a good quality ciabatta bread is also a must. I was a bit concerned whether all of the ingredients would fit into 6 ovenproof soup bowls and so I assembled all of the ingredients as per the recipe into a large casserole dish which I baked for about 30 minutes. Then I used a large spoon and ladled the soup among the bowls. We easily served 6 as a dinner entrée with this recipe.

    I decided to make this soup on the only cold night we have had here in South Carolina and I plan to make it again once winter time comes. Usually I’m not a strong cheese fan but I still loved it all around and all the ingredients blended well with each other. This is indeed a full meal in itself.

    If a teenager can make this anyone can, especially because most of you don't get distracted and practice dancing while making a recipe.


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    1. This is a delicious and simple soup. I made a half-recipe and it satisfied 2 hungry people for a late lunch/early dinner. I used a small cast iron enamel ware casserole and rubbed the inside of the pot with garlic and as recipe indicated also rubbed the toasted ciabatta slices with garlic. Then I chopped the garlic and put it into a quart of chicken bone broth to heat while assembling the rest of the soup. I chose savoy cabbage and lacinato kale for the greens. The anchovies are a must in my view and added a wonderful depth and saltiness. Love this recipe!

    2. This soup is wonderful. So good in fact, that my wife and I ate the whole thing! Not recommended. Invite friends!

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