Apr 26

Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup with Fresh Herbs

Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup with herbs

Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup with Fresh Herbs Made at Home

Vegan pinto bean kale soup with fresh herbs is a staple in our home. We are in the midst of a new season of life with the presence of coronavirus. We have been home with limited time with the outside world for almost six weeks. Fortunately for us in Phoenix, our growing season has started, and we have some very ingenious farmers who are working hard to get us fresh produce every week. 

Getting A CSA

Small farms usually have a CSA (community service agriculture) box that is filled with what is currently growing. You pay a set price at the beginning of the season that can help fund the farm. With a CSA, one week there could be garden greens and another week a bumper crop of beets. It is a great way to align with seasonal eating if you have not done so in the past. We signed up for the CSA from Maya’s Farm here in Phoenix and have been so excited to get our weekly treasures. It has felt more secure to pick up our packed produce than going to the local grocery store. Find a local CSA option here.

fresh garlic flower and kale, topping for Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup

Safe Eating in Time of COVID 19

If you do head into the grocery store, it is a good idea to look closely at how the food has been handled before you purchase it. This is important now more than ever. Here is a link from the Harvard School of Public Health to see how to wash vegetables to help reduce the spread of disease.  Pictured below is a garlic flower. They are so magical. Almost like a septor from the farmer. Getting a CSA box is like the passing of power from earth to us. Filled with intention and regional farmers’ love, the CSA boxes are jewels of color, shapes, smells, textures, and tastes.

kale and greens basis for

Incorporating a Slow Cooker in Plant-Based Kitchen

Making soup and using our InstantPot at home has been a learning curve. Generally, I find the pressure cooker portion of its functionality is something we use rarely. However, we are using the slow cooker function on it daily.  The Instapot is a modern slow cooker, or Jetson’s “crockpot” from my childhood is an exciting development for several reasons. I have no reservations making a recommendation for the 6 Quart Instapot.* We received it as a gift, and I have never looked back. We use it at least once daily, sometimes twice. A couple of reason as to why I love our slow cooker:

  1. I routinely burn pans (especially soups when I step away to do something else) and this never happens with the Instapot
  2. It helps with meal planning
  3. I can put in the ingredients in it in the morning, and the meal will be done when I get home from work and am hungry
Soaked pinto beans and kale, swiss chard, collard greens. ingredients for Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup

Cooking Legumes

In the first two weeks of the CSA box, there were dried pinto beans. I’ll do another post on cooking legumes from “scratch”. In the near term, this article from Nutrition Refined is an excellent review of how to cook legumes.  There are a couple of critical points that I do want to point out:

  1. Soaking overnight is important (throw away the liquid)
  2. Cook the beans before adding to any dish with kombu (helps with digestion)
  3. Wait until the end to add salt/seasoning as this prevents the beans from “drying” out while cooking  

Seasonal Eating with Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup

We also are in the “greens” season here in Phoenix. Vegan pinto bean kale soup can be made with any combination of available greens. This version had 3 versions of kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens. Here is a link for a kale salad with a probiotic vinaigrette if you prefer not to cook the kale. The potatoes provide a feeling of fullness. Adding fresh herbs during cooking and at the ends provides a rich depth of flavor.  I also sprinkled fresh garlic flowers on top at the end as they are in season. The best part about this soup is that you can make it with what you have in your veggie drawer. It is very flexible with the flavors.

bowl of kale and greens basis for Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup

Video Instruction

A video for the soup is below. In it, I review legumes and a technique called water sautéing that creates the ability to cook the onion in a slight amount of broth before adding the other ingredients instead of using oil.  This is especially helpful is you are aiming to cook whole foods plant-based recipes without oil.  If there is oil in your diet, drizzle your best extra virgin olive oil on the top at the end. I avoid cooking with olive oil which can impact the quality of the oil if the temperature is too high.

There are so many variations of this recipe. It can be any range of root vegetables or greens. The spice base can be changed to basil or thyme instead of rosemary. This dish, the “#whatchagotsoup is truly a staple in our home year after year. We make broth in our slow cooker using the ends of veggies from prep for meals.

* In full disclosure, I will earn a referral fee if you use the links present in this post to make a purchase. Thank you so much in advance. I only recommend things we use every day.

Pinto bean soup
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5 from 1 vote

Vegan Pinto Bean Kale Soup with Fresh Herbs

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: legumes, plantbased, Vegan
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 300


  • 1/2 medium red onion (white is ok too)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 4 cups vegan broth review of broth options from The Kitchn
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary parsley could also be added
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 cups greens (kale, collard, Swiss chard)
  • 1 cups cooked pinto beans (16 oz can works too)


  • Dice onion, rosemary, and garlic into small pieces and place into small saute pan on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of broth. and ground cumin. Cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent.
  • Removed woody stems from greens and cut into small pieces (chiffonaide style) and save these extra pieces to make your own broth
  • Slice potatoes into 4 lengthways and then into thin slices (video shows this up close)
  • Combine broth, salt, sliced potatoes (I like to make as mon shape), greens and pinto beans (drained)
  • Cook in a slow cooker for 30-60 minutes on a high setting or 6-8 hours on the low setting.
  • Serve with warm bread. Sprinkle a few fresh herbs (rosemary, spring onion, chives, parsley) on top at the end for added flavor.

Dr. Siri Chand 


May your time with the plants be nourishing!

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