White Bean and Ham Minestrone with Kale

Ah, Life.

It’s amazing how quickly life can catch up with you, and time can leave you. Especially if you are a full-time parent. It’s almost comical how the simple minutia of parenting can lead to such a full and exhausting schedule. Between kids appointments, sports, sickness, school, temper tantrums, clean-ups, fights, and play dates, the day can tick by rather quickly, leaving you as a parent exhausted and spent. So needless to say, that’s been my life lately, and the primary reason behind my lack of new posts on FCF. I’m sorry to anyone that’s been looking for some new inspiration and recipes..

But tonight, I’ve decided to nestle in with my laptop and bring you a really simple and delicious soup to make. I made it a few weeks ago when I was down and out with a bad head cold, and it fit the bill perfectly. I’ve also made it one time since, and the kids just loved it, so I decided that it was one I should document on here so that I don’t forget about it :)


This soup differs a little from your basic white bean and ham soup, which is usually has a light, creamy broth. I’ve added diced canned tomatoes for some color and flavor, as well as parmesan rind, rosemary and parsley (optional), and chopped kale. It truly is a one pot meal.  And speaking of parmesan rind, let’s talk about that for a second….

If you aren’t using parmesan rind in your soups, you need to start immediately. For years, I was simply throwing away the end rind of my parmesan block, until I ran into a helpful tip from a Williams Sonoma cookbook, that said parmesan rinds are a great way to add a punch of flavor to your soups, as well as giving it some extra body. The first time that I used it, I couldn’t believe the difference! I didn’t needed to add any additional shaved parmesan to the end of my soup, because the whole stock had just a bit of that delicious parmesan flavor! The rind and cheese will almost melt into your hot broth, but keep an eye out for any sections that didn’t dissolve into your soup. It also freezes really well, so the next time you come to the end of your cheese block, simply save the rind, cut it into approximately 1-2″ sections, and store in your freezer!


Anyways, back to the soup! It sits really well all day, and the flavor intensifies the longer it sits, so I prefer to make it when I have a little extra time (that’s usually around lunchtime and naptime in my household) and then after it’s done cooking, I simply turn off the burner, cover it, and let it hang out there all day. Whenever someone is hungry and wants a bowl, I turn the heat back up and it’s ready to go!


I hope that you try this tasty soup, and that you’re not in need of a soup to nurse yourself back to health, as I was :) Stay healthy and enjoy!

White Bean and Ham Minestrone with Kale
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups diced, bone-in smoked ham steak
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, preferred: Hunts (optional: fire roasted diced tomatoes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 herb bundle, made of 2 stalks rosemary and a small handful of parsley stems (optional)
  • 1 section parmesan rind
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (packed) cups chopped kale
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes with their juice and stir into vegetables until well incorporated. Add the diced ham, chicken stock, parmesan rind, bay leaf, and herb bundle (if using). Season with salt and ground pepper. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered. Cook 30-45 minutes or until soup is rich and flavorful.
  3. Approximately 10 minutes before serving, add chopped kale and allow to cook slightly. Remove bay leaf and herb bundle and serve with crusty bread.


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