This page may contain affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission for products purchased through my link.
Try this Korean Kale and White Bean Soup with gochujang for a funky and spicy meal that’s totally comforting. Plus it happens to be vegan and gluten-free!
What Makes Kale White Bean Soup Korean?
Inspired by traditional kale and white bean soup, I decided to add a special Korean ingredient: gochujang. This is a fermented Korean red pepper paste that adds tons of extra body and spice! It’s perfectly camouflaged in this tomato based soup, and also brings out the umami in the tomato.
I got the idea because I wanted to add some spice to my conventional Tuscan soup recipe. I debated adding chili flakes but wondered how gochujang would do in its place. And, as in most cases, gochujang tasted great with it!
To make this spicy white bean and kale soup even more Korean, you can add rice cakes instead of bread!
Ingredients for Korean Kale and White Bean Soup
Most of the ingredients for this soup will be pretty familiar, with a few Asian twists. Here’s what you need:
- Lacinato kale. If you prefer a different kind of kale, that works too!
- Butter beans. Cannelini or navy bans will also work, but I love the hearty size of the butter bean.
- Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. The traditional flavor base for many Italian soups.
- Bay leaves and paprika. These add an earthy, slightly warm flavor to the soup! Instead of paprika, you can also add gochugaru, or Korean red pepper flakes, for extra spice.
- Tomato paste. Canned tomato puree will also work, but it will give you a more liquidy soup. I also recommend looking for double or even triple concentrated tomato paste for the most flavour.
- Vegan Dashi. This gives your Korean soup a more Asian flavor than the traditional vegetable broth. However, if you don’t have dashi, regular vegetable broth will also work.
- Gochujang. You can find this red pepper paste at Asian markets, and even well-stocked traditional grocery stores like Whole Foods.
Making One-Pot Korean Kale Soup
Not only is this soup packed with flavor, it’s also an easy one-pot dish! Simply saute your aromatics, add the dashi broth, simmer until everything is cooked through and the flavors have melded. finally, finish with your gochujang and enjoy!
What to Serve with Kale and Bean Soup
This hearty soup makes a healthy meal all on its own. But you can easily add some starch to round it out even more. On the side, serve toasted bread. Or add Korean rice cakes to the soup. You could also add a cooked grain, such as quinoa or brown rice, for a thicker soup.
More Korean Recipes
- Korean Sweet Cinnamon Pancakes – Hotteok/호떡 (vegan, gluten free)
- Korean Radish Soup (Vegan Mu Guk)
- Candied Korean Sweet Potato – Goguma Mattang (고구마 맛탕)
If you make this Korean Kale and White Bean Soup, be sure to let me know what you think with a comment below!
Korean Kale and White Bean Soup (vegan, gluten free)
- 1 bunch of lacinato kale roughly 8-10 stems of kale
- 1 15 oz can of butter beans you can also use cannelini or navy
- neutral oil
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 small white onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 15 oz double concentrated tomato paste/purée
- 5 cups vegetable dashi
- 2 tbsp gochujang korean red pepper paste
- black pepper to finish
- 2/3 cup rice cakes
- Prepare your vegetables
- Start by washing and drying your lacinato kale. Slice kale into bite sized pieces and set aside.
- Drain and rinse your butter beans until all of the foam disappears. Set aside.
- Peel your carrots, then finely dice into bite sized pieces. Repeat with celery, onion and garlic, finely dicing.
- Get the aromatics working
- In a large pot, heat neutral oil and sauté carrots and celery for 2-3 minutes. Next add onion and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add garlic, bay leaves, smoked paprika and salt to the pot and cook for 1 minute.
- Finally, add your tomato paste and give it a quick sauté to try and coat all of the ingredients in the pot.
- Complete your soup!
- Add dashi to the pot, bring the soup to a boil, toss in kale and beans and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover with the lid and cook for about 10 minutes. If using rice cakes, add at this stage, and let simmer for another 10 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Discard the bay leaf, and add gochujang to the soup, adjusting to taste. Finish with black pepper.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.