Vegan Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup)

I am not a vegetarian but I don’t usually cook meat when eating at home. Back in grad school I had a CSA and they would put a recipe in with every box (along with some news from the farm). One week it was a recipe for Portuguese kale soup, or caldo verde, and I remember it being delicious. Since the weather has been getting cold here I decided last night to make a batch to keep we warm during the last week of classes. When I went to the store to pick up the chorizo, however, I thought it would be more fun (and easier to share) to make a vegetarian version — that way I could use up my shiitake mushrooms too!

Vegan Caldo Verde

Vegan Caldo Verde

The proportions are not too fussy — it depends on how starchy/soupy you want it.

Vegan Caldo Verde

2 vegan chouriço (or chorizo) sausages, sliced
12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced (should cook down to same volume as chorizo)
1/2 – 1 lb potatoes, diced (chunk size based on how you want to eat it)
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
6 cups liquid (used a 1:2 mix of veg. broth and water)
1 lb kale, shredded (thin slices are more traditional, but laziness wins often)
olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Using a soup pot or dutch oven, brown sausage slices in olive oil (you don’t need too much), remove and set aside.  Add additional oil if needed and cook shiitakes until they lose their liquid.  Remove those too.
  2. Add additional oil and cook onion (with a little salt) until translucent, then add garlic and cook until aromatic (be sure not to burn).
  3. Add potatoes and mix to coat, then add broth (make sure you cover the vegetables, add more if needed), cover, and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are cooked through (15 min or maybe longer depending on the variety and size of your dice).
  4. (Optional) Use an immersion blender to partially puree some of the onion/potato mixture to thicken the soup.
  5. Add mushrooms and chorizo. Return to a boil.
  6. Add kale and cook down, around 5 minutes.  Be sure not to overcook the kale. Grind generous amounts of pepper and mix in.

If you are feeling fancy you can add some additional spice by adding pimenton ahumado (smoked paprika) or other spicy element.  I purposefully diluted the broth so that the mushrooms and spices in the chorizo could lend some flavor. I think you could also cook some more chorizo and garnish the bowl with a slice or two of browned chorizo in the middle. The mix of mushrooms and chorizo adds some textural interest and additional flavor, I think. Perhaps a little soy sauce in there would help up the umami.

I have no idea how many portions this makes, but I am guessing it’s at least 4-6 servings for me.  Appetites vary of course.

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