Caldo Verde ~ Portuguese Green Soup

This Portuguese kale soup, also known as green soup or caldo verde, is a traditional soup made with potatoes, chouriço sausage, and thinly sliced kale. Hearty, homey, cheap, and comforting as heck.

A white bowl of caldo verde, or Portuguese kale soup with thinly sliced kale and a single chorizo coin floating in the center.

Loosely adapted from a recipe by John Villa | From personal collection

Caldo Verde ~ Portuguese Green Soup

A white bowl of caldo verde, or Portuguese kale soup with thinly sliced kale and a single chorizo coin floating in the center.
Portuguese kale soup, caldo verde, is something you’ll experience literally everywhere in Portugal, from Lisbon’s trendiest restaurants to farmhouses scattered at the edge of villages. Understandably so. Its simple yet sustaining character is appreciated everywhere.
John Villa

Prep 25 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 1 hr 5 mins
Soup
Portuguese
6 servings
456 kcal
4.92 / 49 votes

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces chouriço, linguiça,or Spanish chorizo sliced into 1/4-inch (6-mm) coins
  • 1 large Spanish onion diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced; don’t be afraid to go for a third or fourth. The Portuguese love their garlic
  • 6 medium potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 cups cold water or half homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth, and half water
  • 1 pound kale or collard greens stems removed, leaves cut into very, very thin slices
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper

Directions
 

  • In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chouriço and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove the sausage to a plate. Try to let the sausage drain well into the pot; its fat will flavor the soup.
  • Dump the onions into the pot. Sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Stir in the potatoes, add the water or combination of water and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the soup gently simmers. Cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the soup cool slightly.
  • When the caldo verde has cooled a little, purée it using an immersion blender. (Tradition states that one slice and only one slice of chouriço is added to each bowl although some chefs like to add half the sausage to the soup before puréeing. It’s your choice.)
  • Add the kale to the soup, bring everything back to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 2 to 5 minutes. Season with more salt, if needed, and pepper.
  • Ladle the caldo verde into bowls and garnish with the remaining slices of chouriço. (The soup can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated overnight. Simply warm over low heat before serving.)

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 456kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 50g (17%)Protein: 15g (30%)Fat: 24g (37%)Saturated Fat: 6g (38%)Cholesterol: 33mg (11%)Sodium: 474mg (21%)Potassium: 1457mg (42%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 7558IU (151%)Vitamin C: 137mg (166%)Calcium: 167mg (17%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is a hearty, satisfying, and filling soup. It's one of the best soups I've tasted, bursting with flavor and depth. Delicious.

I prepared the full amount of greens as instructed but when I went to add it, I stopped at about halfway. If i had added it all, it would have been more of a "kale with a chorizo sauce" kind of scenario. As it was, using half, was just right. Delicious soup packed with kale. But still a soup.

I used Cavolo Nero. I added 1/4 tsp initially because I wasn't sure how salty the chorizo would taste. I tasted again after I had added the chorizo and added more salt. In total, I added 3/4 tsp maldon salt.

I cooled the soup, refrigerated overnight, and had it the next day for lunch. It was so much better than the day before. The addition of the blended chorizo and letting it rest overnight really did make this into something quite special. Next day, the whole chorizo was still whole and firm but slightly softened by the soup and added more texture, which was very enjoyable.

There was just me eating this and one bowl was enough for lunch. I have put the rest into individual Tupperware and am freezing it. That's another 7 portions so a total of 8 servings.

Kale soup? Caldo Verde? Call it what you will, this soup is hearty and homey and ready in under an hour! In spite of using a very sharp knife and my best kitchen skills, I didn't achieve the thin kale shreds the recipe called for, so the final result wasn't quite as elegant as the photo shows, but that didn't detract from the flavor of the final result.

I used a mild chorizo sausage, Yukon gold potatoes (which I didn't peel as the skins were paper thin), curly kale, and homemade chicken stock. I did add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes at the end of cooking, but I would hold off on the final seasoning until you determine how much heat and salt your sausage is adding to the mix.

Served with a salad and grilled cheese sandwiches, this made a great casual supper.

I added 1/2 the chorizo back to the soup before blending and didn't overprocess the mixture using an immersion blender. Coming across the slices of sausage and a few stray cubes of potatoes are nice little surprises.

This was fantastic. But I think much depends on the quality of your chorizo and stock. I've made it before using polish sausage or keilbasa and boxed stock and it was good but not a 10.


Originally published January 10, 2001

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Very good, followed the recipe as written using collard greens from my garden. Would make one change next time, I would add some salt with the onions and then a bit more with the potatoes. It was flat and took more salt than I think necessary when all added at the end. Of course perhaps this depends on the chorizo, this is only the second time I’ve used this. Will definitely make again, plenty more collards and kale in the garden.

    1. cz, good point about the chouriço. Some can be a bit saltier than others–and Spanish chorizo is different than Portuguese chouriço. One thing you can do is fry up a bit of the sausage before making the soup. That would give you an idea of how much salt you need to add–if at all.

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I’m on a low-carb diet so I substituted cauliflower florets for the potatoes. It’s super delish!

    1. What a great idea! Cauliflower is such a wonderful substitute for potatoes on those low-carb diets. My favorite is mock mashed potatoes- so yummy.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi David,

    Thanks for the great website. Traditionally (at least, where I grew up in Toronto), I ate Caldo Verde with a slice of this very dense corn bread we would get at any number of portuguese bakeries in the city. I searched on your website for a recipe for this bread but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I’ve never seen an equivalent type of cornbread (as you might know it differs greatly from mexican corn bread).

    Any ideas as to where to find a recipe for that?

    Oh. and I agree in part with PK, although I kept the same amount of onions and tripled the garlic, not doubled it. But I did that not because this recipe isn’t good as is (because it is)… I just happen to like garlic!

    Thank you for posting this traditional dish. I saw other versions of it that called for kidney beans and knew it wasn’t the same kind of ‘authentic” dish that I grew up loving.

    -Chris

    1. Chris, there’s a recipe on the site for Portuguese corn bread, called broa. I also have one in my cookbook, The New Portuguese Table

      Also, kale soup with kidney beans is actually an Azorean soup called sopa de couve. It’s a more rustic soup–a kind of country cousin to the more sophisticated caldo verde.

  4. Good recipe but do the following to make it great:

    1. Cut the onion amount in half and double the garlic.
    2. Pan fry all of the saugage and add the onions and garlic and saute them until translucent.  
    3. Split the water amount and boil the potatoes in one pot. In the second pot, add the saute to the water and keep on a low simmer setting.  
    4. Once the potatoes are cooked you will need to puree then (do not discard the water you boiled the potatoes in).
    5. Combine all material into the larger pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Add your chopped Kale to the soup and simmer for five minutes. Enjoy!

    1. 5 stars
      This soup was fantastic, I used turkey sausage instead of choriço, but to add flavor, I fried two slices of bacon first. (My daughter won’t eat pork, so I didn’t mention the bacon.) This soup is to die for!!!

      1. Herb, so glad you liked the soup. When your daughter’s not around, try the orignal. It’s entirely different with the Portuguese sausage. Smokey and spicy in a different way. I hope you’ll like that too!

        1. Hi newbie Carl. There are many ways to make this soup, but chef John Villa instructs you to purée the onions, garlic, half the chouriço, potatoes, and water. Then you add the greens and the the rest of the sausage.

          The more classic approach is the purée the onions, garlic, potatoes, water; stir in the greens and cook a few minutes; then add the chouriço that you’ve sliced not diced.

          One hint: whichever way you make it, it benefits tremendously from sitting a day in the fridge then reheating.

          1. I didn’t puree any of it; I’ll try that next time. Mostly the recipe mirrored my own, but I pressure cooked it so timing and ingredient succession was altered. It was very much like my grandma from Pico, Azores made it.

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