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Portuguese Kale Soup - Often called the national soup of Portugal, this soup is easy to make and very delicious!

Although my husband Jack’s family is Italian, he grew up in the midst of a large Portuguese community.  Because of that neighborly influence, Jack has made, served and eaten kale soup most of his life!

Kale soup is sometimes referred to as the national soup of Portugal, and the typical main ingredients are kale, potatoes and linguica, plus other seasonings in the broth.  Jack likes his Portuguese kale soup extra spicy and makes his with chourico (pronounced ‘sha-rees’) but using the traditional linguica will lend the soup a slightly milder spiciness!

Portuguese Kale Soup - Often called the national soup of Portugal, this soup is easy to make and very delicious!

I should note that there are many, many variations of recipes for Portuguese kale soup – and they are often passed down from generation to generation.  Some versions are partly puréed, while others are not.  The variations are endless!

This recipe also includes parsley and mint as somewhat non-traditional ingredients to add to a Portuguese kale soup!  A number of years ago, Jack was friendly with a guy named Mike (who, by the way, attended culinary school with Emeril Lagasse) and Mike gave Jack this recipe which included the addition of those two herbs.  While adding the parsley and mint is optional (with or without will be delicious), including them brings out a very different and delicious flavor profile – so give them a try in your next batch of Portuguese Kale Soup!

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Portuguese Kale Soup - A Family Feast

Portuguese Kale Soup

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


Really good Portuguese kale has large broad leaves and is very different from the kale found in most American supermarkets. This recipe uses the common curly kale found locally at the supermarket – but if you are able to find Portuguese kale, please use that! Also, this soup is actually better the next day, after the flavors have a chance to combine overnight, but it can be eaten the same day that you make it.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 pound chourico or linguica, removed from casings and broken up
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 8 cups chopped fresh kale (see note above)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 quart beef or chicken stock
  • 2 quarts water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon gravy color such as Kitchen Bouquet
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley, optional
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint, optional
  • 4 cups large cut up green cabbage
  • 3 cups peeled red skinned potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 15-ounce can small red or kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, sauté onions in oil over medium high heat for three minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add chourico and sauté for two minutes. Reduce to medium and add tomato paste and kale and sauté for five minutes, stirring frequently so it does not stick or burn.
  2. Add stock, water, salt, pepper, bay, gravy color, optional parsley and optional mint and bring to a boil. Reduce to a fast simmer and cook for five minutes. Add cabbage and potatoes and continue to cook until tender, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add drained beans, bring to hot, adjust seasonings and serve with crusty bread.

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  • Duarte wrote:

    I am 57 and portuguese(full blooded, born there) and I guess everyone makes it different but, traditional kale soup does not have cabbage, mint or tomato paste. Linguica, chicken stock, potatoes, kale, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Maybe a little small pasta. THAT’S IT.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you for your feedback Duarte

  • Ellen Owens wrote:

    I love this recipe!! I had this type of soup while living in the New England area, and enjoyed it. I tried this recipe, I had to substitute andouille sausage, it turned out delicious. It really does taste even better after sitting in the fridge. Thanks so much for sharing! 💖

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Ellen – glad you enjoyed the soup!

  • Larry wrote:

    Never use kitchen bouquet, cabbage or tomato paste in a real portugese soup. The other flavors are more 5han enough if made correctly. I always use kidney beans and seldom need chicken stock.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Larry!

  • Jenn wrote:

    This soup is indeed a staple in the Portuguese community. Made many different ways. My parents are from St. Michael, Azores. The kale you are referring to as Portuguese kale, would be collard greens in an American market. That it what I use. Although curly kale is used, I prefer the texture and taste of straight leave. We use chourico. If your lucky enough to live in a town with local family Portuguese markets,chourico is made on site. Most chain super markets carry Gaspar,Amarals,Michaels brand chourico. I prefer Gaspar. Its ranges from mild to xtra hot. We do not use mint or parsley. Enjoy this recipe. So good.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jenn!

  • Eileen Cabral wrote:

    A friendly FYI the Portuguese Kale Soup you mistakingly referred to as “caldo verde.” In actuality caldo verde is a different soup still made with kale but just only kale onions and potatoes and does look greenish in color and is absolutely delicious. It’s also known as the national soup of Portugal. Growing up this soup was always an option in our family as the first course.

    • Jack wrote:

      We have some Portuguese relatives, let me consult them to make sure I have this correctly stated. Thank you for the heads up.

      • Jack wrote:

        So I checked with my sister in law as well as my daughter’s husband’s mother and you are totally correct. I will go into the recipe and remove that reference. Thank you very much Eileen.

  • Connie wrote:

    I just made Portuguese Soup according to a new friend’s recipe. Then I decided to go online and discovered yours!
    Of course I changed my friends somewhat to make it my own. Yours looks and seems delicious!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Connie – hope you’ll give it a try!

  • patti wrote:

    hello, can you recommend a good brand of linguica, there’s so many and I want the best to try the portuguese kale soup? Would chourico be your first choice or the linguica? thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Patti – Chourico is our first choice. We typically buy some local brands (either Gaspar’s or Amaral’s) – not sure if either of those are available where you live, but if you are able to find a locally produced brand that would be our suggestion. Hope that helps!

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