Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup)
Caldo Verde is how the Portuguese do comfort food! It’s a popular Portuguese soup made with collard greens (or kale), potatoes, sausage and bacon. It tastes like um abraço (a hug), especially on a chilly day!
If you love warming up with a bowl of delicious soup, make sure to also check out my Canja de Galinha, Pasta e Fagioli Soup and Caldinho de Feijão (Brazilian Black Bean Soup).
It is no surprise that Brazilian cuisine has a lot of Portuguese influence.
I couldn’t possibly list all the delicious Portuguese or Portuguese-descendant dishes we have down there. Amazing sea food dishes, bacalhau, roasts, stews, breads, sonho (bola de Berlim), decadent pastries and desserts and many others. The Portuguese definitely know how to eat and they brought a lot of their classic recipes across the sea to Brazil!
Caldo Verde is one of those Portuguese recipe that are so popular in Brazil that most Brazilians don’t even know that it is originally a Portuguese soup.
So, without any further ado, here’s my version of this beloved soup! It is one of my favorite soups to make during the colder months and it never fails to warm me up from soul to body.
P.S. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll notice that this is an updated recipe! I have adapted the old recipe, making it easier to make without compromising on flavor. I hope you guys love this version even more! ♥️
What is Caldo Verde?
Caldo Verde – which translates to Green Broth (or Green Soup) – is a Portuguese soup consisting of finely shredded couve-galega (a type of collard greens in Portugal), potatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic and sausage. It originated in northern Portugal, in the Minho Province, between 1936 and 1976, but today it is popular across the nation. Some people even say it’s the national dish but I disagree! (Hello? Bacalhau?!?) Like I mentioned before, It is also very popular in Brazil.
In Portugal, it is traditionally served during celebrations, such as weddings and birthdays, often accompanied by broa (Portuguese cornbread).
To make Caldo Verde, you will need:
- Collard Greens – Caldo Verde is traditionally made with couve-galega, a type of Portuguese collard greens, but kale can be used interchangeably. It has to be cut into very thin strips, so be prepared to work on your knife skills! 😉
- Sausage – You will want to get your hands on some linguiça (or calabresa) for this recipe, which is a smoked pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika. If you can’t find any, you can use chorizo or even kielbasa. Do not use Mexican chorizo as it won’t work!
- Bacon – Bacon is not a traditional ingredient in this dish. But come onnnnnn! How could I not? Bacon makes everything so delicious!
- Potatoes – You can use either Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes here. Since we’ll blend the soup, it doesn’t really matter
- Broth – You can use either chicken broth or vegetable broth to make Caldo Verde. The original recipe calls for water, but I find that using broth makes it even more flavorful!
- Onion and Garlic – For the flavor base!
- Olive Oil – Portuguese cooking relies heavily on olive oil! Choose something high-quality!
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Caldo Verde
While this is an easy soup, you should reserve some time for prepping. Depending on your knife skills, slicing the greens can be a little time consuming!
That being said, the more you practice this, the faster you’ll get. So future caldos verde will be a breeze! 😉
Recommended tools and equipment: Dutch Oven, wooden spoon, immersion blender, Chef’s knife, cutting board.
Here’s how I make this Caldo Verde recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
Step 1: Prep the Collard Greens.
- Using a chef’s knife, remove the stems of each collard greens leaf, then stack the leaves and roll them tightly into a cigar shape. Use the knife to thinly slice the greens crosswise into strips. Reserve.
Step 2: Make the Caldo Verde Base.
- Cook the quartered onion, potatoes, garlic, broth and oil oil until the onion and potatoes are tender.
- Using an immersion blender (or working in batches in a regular blender), blend the soup until smooth and creamy.
- Add the collard greens and cook until tender.
Step 3: Brown the sausage and bacon.
- While the greens are cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the bacon and sausage.
- Add the browned bacon and sausage to the soup.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil!
- The creaminess of this soup varies according to taste. I don’t like mine too creamy, after all it is a “caldo” (broth) and not a “creme” (cream). But if you like yours creamier, just add more potatoes. You can add as much as you’d like and just use water to thin it out if it gets too thick.
- You might be tempted to just chop the collard greens or (gasp!) just grab a bag of already chopped greens from the grocery store. You have to (HAVE TO! 😉 ) cut the collard greens into ribbons/strips instead of chopping it. It is the traditional way. If you don’t cut it into ribbons, the Portuguese say it is not Caldo Verde.
- Leftovers will get considerably thicker after it chills in the fridge. Just add some broth (or water) when reheating on the stove to bring it back to the original consistency.
This soup is great served as an appetizer or as a light course for a late supper, for example. I find it to be very satisfying, because of the sausage and potatoes, so I’m usually good with a bowl of this soup and a slice of bread for dinner! Maybe accompanied by some Rosemary Focaccia? Yum!
It is also customary to serve it with extra olive oil for drizzling at the table.
Caldo Verde Variations
Caldo Verde is delicious as it is, but there is always room for modifications! Here are a few suggestions:
- Make it vegan/vegetarian by omitting the bacon and sausage.
- If pork is an is an issue, you can use turkey bacon and a smoked turkey sausage, such as kielbasa.
- There is a common variation of this soup that adds white beans. It can be a great source of protein if you are omitting the sausage.
- Make it chunky! Instead of blending the potatoes, just chop them into chunks for texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this soup can be made ahead and reheated! To reheat, warm over low heat, adding more broth or water as needed.
Leftover Caldo Verde will keep for 3-4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, since the potatoes are blended into the soup, this soup freezes well. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Soup Recipes
- French Onion Soup
- Taco Soup
- Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
- Cream of Spinach Soup
- German Sausage and Barley Soup
Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold (or Russet) potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 pound linguiça (kielbasa or chorizo) sausage , thinly sliced
- 1 bunch collard greens, thoroughly washed
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken (or vegetable) broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Immersion Blender
- Start by removing the stem off every collard green leaf. Then, stack three to four leaves at a time and roll them like cigars. Cut them crosswise into very thin strips. Proceed with the rest of the leaves. Reserve.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, add the peeled potatoes, the quartered onion, the minced cloves of garlic, the olive oil and the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium low and cook until the potatoes are tender and ready to be mashed (about 20 min).
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. You can also use a regular blender and blend the soup in batches.
- Add the collard greens, stir, and keep cooking for 15 more minutes or until the greens are tender.
- While the greens are cooking, brown the bacon and sausage. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon and the sausage until browned, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the bacon/sausage mixture to the soup and cook until the soup boils again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately with extra olive oil for drizzling.
- For a creamier soup, you can add one more pound of potatoes.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 3-4 days in the fridge or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Reheat on the stove, over low heat, adding more liquid as needed to bring it back to the original consistency.
55 Comments on “Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup)”
I don’t think I have ever had a Portuguese dish in my life. I really enjoyed the Brazilian history lesson though! This soup looks delish and I love that you used your focaccia too!
I’ve been cooking my way around the world and This recipe with a little bit of me is 20 out of 10.
This soup looks perfect for this chilly weather! I love how potatoes make the soup creamy. And plus bacon? Yes please! Pinning!
I think the last time I had Caldo Verde was in my childhood, a loooong time ago! It is great you posted this recipe because now I will remember to cook it! Winter is around the corner here in Tasmania and it will be a good excuse to have that!
I’ve never had Portuguese food! This needs to change, ASAP. This soup looks flavorful, bright, and hearty. Love!
I looooove caldo verde! Mu Gosh I don’t know why I’ve never post caldo verde recipe on my blog too ;-) And like you, I’m usually good with a bowl of this soup and a slice of bread for dinner! This is my favourite type of dinner! Have a great weekend ;-)
this soup looks so comforting! Especially, I love that recipe is so simple! When it comes to soups for dinner, I love such creamy yet no-cream, and hearty bowl of soups! and I agree, a slice of focaccia is all it needs! pinned!
One of my closest friends and recipe tester is Brazilian- I’m going to surprise her and make this, it looks so satisfying :)
Oh, I hope she likes it! :)
i grew up in S.E.mass.with a large azores portuguese
population and they also added kidney beans but it’s always delicious on a cold day.
Here in Montréal there are also many people from the Azores, and many other Portuguese, especially from the North. My neighbourhood is traditionally Italian, but the one just south of it has a large Portuguese population – though everything is mixed nowadays. We get great chouriço here. I don’t think I’d add bacon.
I’ve had many Portuguese dishes, in particular FISH!
We don’t put kidney beans in Caldo Verde. That’s a different soup.
This is so delicious and so easy to make. I don’t eat pork so I couldn’t partake in the bacon but was able to use turkey smoked sausage. I had to scoop up a bowl of this as soon as it was done. Smells wonderful and tastes even better.
There are large Jewish and Muslim populations in Brazil, so I’m sure they also omit the pork sausage and substitute something else. Brazil is very multicultural!
I’m getting back to this – making a riff on Caldo Verde, with smoked turkey instead of chouriço. It won’t be true Caldo Verde though, as I’m using “Leafy Greens”, a frozen mix of collards, kale and spinach from a supermarket chain here – handy in the depths of winter. I have good homemade stock, so I’m sure it will be fine anyway. It is minus 15c here in Montréal.
Lots of Portuguese people and Portuguese foods here; unfortunately not so many Brazilians. Most Brazilians up here are professionals and don’t start up restaurants.
Hmmm, Collards only cook for 15 mins. That doesn’t seem long enough. I have a big pot of collards I cooked nearly to death. I’m going to try this with them.
Olivia, this was great! Typing from Sao Paulo here, and am making caldo verde right now. Just a tip – a nice squeeze of fresh lemon just before serving really adds a nice touch to the flavor, but don’t overdo it, half a squeezed lemon (not lime!) is perfect. Thanks again !
What a great tip. I’ll definitely try this next time I make Caldo Verde, which should be soon cause the weather is getting nice and crisp! :)
Thanks for stopping by!
Made this tonight and it was sooooo good. Even my 3 7 year old loved it. Only thing I did different was use half spinach and a few extra garlic cloves. Thanks!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Ambre. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note. :)
I’m Portuguese and I have to say I love Caldo Verde, it’s one of my favourite soups.It’s so good when the chorizo gives the soup its flavour!
I can suggest other very typical and very good recipes: “Bacalhau com Natas” and “Bacalhau à Brás” , both very delicious codfish recipes.
Great suggestions, Carla. In Brazil, Bacalhau is a must for Good Friday! :)
Why does everything good have to have bacon or sausage? A perfectly healthy dish gone bad. Are there any suggestions for making this soup meatless. Please help cause as a person who doesn’t eat red meat, I still love good food.
Lol what a stupid comment
I agree just leave out the meat and realize some of us still eat meat vit.b12 for mental health.
Well, you could use vegetable broth, a couple of chilies in adobo mashed with some garlic and add some white beans. You would probably end up with a slightly smoky, spicy veg soup.
Ummmm, Ras…………..You Hoooooooo !!! How about going back and reading the author’s entire article……….Which just happens to include multiple references for Vegetarian or Vegan options.
As for your question “Why does everything good have to have bacon or sausage? ” while probably a rhetorical question I’m going to treat it as a legitimate query. The answer to this meaning of life question is: Simply because Sausage and especially BACON make everything that is merely good and makes it Great.
As for the recipe itself this recipe is spot on and the addition of bacon is quite welcome by us. Nothing goes with Collard Greens quite like smoked ham-hocks, trotters, heirloom country ham and especially BACON :-)))))
You don’t need to introduce any meat or sausage into the soup, I gave it regukarly without any meat as a vegan. Tastes fantastic!!! Enjoy
Hi, I love caldo verde and I have a vegetarian child so I am going to use vegetarian chorizo which is made out of soy and it should be just as good and use vegetable stock instead of chicken this is very adaptable and tastes great.
Incredible!! Used to eat this as a child growing up in Portugal. Tastes so close! And the bacon is a great addition.
Yay! Something different to do with the collards just won’t quit growing in my backyard… I love linguica too. Mashing up the taters sounds like a good idea. It seems to fall somewhere between the Celtic idea of colcannon and the Spanish chorizo and taters w/greens that leaves the taters intact. Can’t wait to try making this tomorrow.
I found this recipe while researching collard greens, which I had never cooked, and what a find – another wonderful green food and a great way to use it! I didn’t want to scratch my new ceramic lined pots with the mixer so mashed the potatoes (plain red) in a bowl with some of the broth – we’re vegetarians and didn’t miss the sausage/chorizo/bacon/ham at ALL! I will add beans next time – last night I used seasoned tofu squares seared separately in avocado oil and added to each bowl of soup. Also, sorry but I prefer chopped greens – don’t like the strips hanging off my spoon! This was simple and delicious – I will make it again – thanks, Olivia!
Hi! One tiny problem, my soup is coming out creamy rather than clear like in your photos. Is that correct? After mashing and then blending the potatoes it is all cream colored.
I love every recipe on your blog that I have tried! My husband is Brazilian and we both live in Japan, so I’m trying to give him some tastes from home. Super excited to try this one (even though it’s not winter…). Obrigada! :)
Hi Shawna, you can add more water or broth if you’d like it less creamy! And I’m so glad you like my recipes. You have to tell me more about your life in Japan! :) Best, Olivia
Very nice to see this delicious soup recipe ! I’m Brazilian-Portuguese and also a home cook.
I would like to suggest something I love to eat with Caldo Verde, Italian bread slices with salvia (sage) flavoured olive oil, roasted in a frying pan.
If you find difficult to find chouriço (chorizo), try calabrese sausage or any other smoked one you like.
On Google search your 4th under “caldo verde” , I first googled “cal verde” (because of my poor Portuguese – I do not know why but I hated going twice a week to Portuguese school at the Catholic church) and you came in 2nd. Gonna try a modified version of your recipe now in South Africa; I am replacing the potatoes with cucumber and gem-squash and the chourico with smoked pork chops. I think potatoes are fattening so I am always testing alternatives. The cucumbers are for silica because I want to see if extra silica in my diet will help stop my balding. Thanks.
My fiance is from the Açores and I try to make dishes from his childhood. I’m so glad I came across this website as this is one his all-time favourites!! Adding the bacon was a modern touch that he LOVED. He was so pleased to come home to the nostalgic smell of Caldo Verde simmering on the stove. We ate as myself and our children listened to stories of his childhood. My children loved it. This is more than just a recipe. Thank you so much! <3
Hi Candice, oh I’m so glad! Thank you so much for telling me that. You’ve made my day! This is the reason this blog exists: for people to make my recipes and gather around the table, sharing joy and memories. :)
Can I substitute the Collards for black kale or normal kale? I can’t find it in Scotland
Yes, that would work fine!
Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’ve never tried Portuguese food before but saw Caldo Verde as a recommended idea for Brussel Sprout tops and, on searching for a recipe, good old Google gave me this as a suggestion. Yukon Gold aren’t common in the UK so I substituted with a variety called Elfe (described as “creamy skin and bright yellow flesh that has a creamy texture and delicious sweet, buttery taste”) and the brussel tops replaced the Collards. I haven’t added bacon or sausage as was trying to keep the saturated fats down but add a teaspoon of smoked sweet paprika for a bit of that Chorizo-style flavour. It’s very delicious. I think I did make one mistake though by adding all the greens to the pot as this amount of soup will last the two of us a few days, so I think I should have just added them when reheating the soup so as not to overcook them
Alma, that sounds a lot like our Canadian Yukon Golds.
Hi, thanks for this recipe! The last itme I had authentic caldo verde was in Macao in the mid 1990’s! One question – is there any reason you don’t quarter or dice the potatoes before cooking in the chicken broth? Is there a negative effect to cutting the potatoes before cooking?
I love this recipe 💕.. This is the second time I’ve made it … It’s easy to make and the taste is amazing 👍😊.
This is a staple in my New Bedford, MA community. Although I’ve never heard of using collards (we use kale) or bacon, I’ll bet it’s delicious and can’t wait to try this version!
I lived in Campinas for 4 years. When I left, I thought it would be for only 1 year and that I was returning but it did not work out that way. All the wonderful recipes were left behind. Since I’m used to the Paulista version of Brazilian food, sometimes when looking on line, the recipes just weren’t right. Thank you so much for providing these! The versions of Brazilian food that I know and love!
I live in CA, and I never found a sausage like a calabresa, no one taste the same, this’s sad! I miss it so much! Which one do you use that taste more similar to calabresa?
You can quarter the potatoes before you boil them & they’ll turn out fine–you’re going to pureé them anyway.
I just wanted to add a tip: I always broil the sliced Linguiça in a frying pan & drain it on a paper towel before adding it to the Caldo Verde, because the soup isn’t as greasy if you blot the oil.
I lived in the Açores for 4 years & still go back every year, or two (when I can afford it & there’s no pandemic 😩). Caldo Verde, Pasteis de Bacalhau, & Alcatra are my 3 favorite foods! 🇵🇹
What are you supposed to do with the extra olive oil? Dip bread into it ?
Hi Gary, in Brazil people like to drizzle a little more olive oil on the soup when serving! Totally optional!
I love caldo verde. We used linguiça in the soup or at times we use a soup bone for flavor. A handful or rice is also a suggestion but you have to have that bread bot just any bread but papo secos bread it’s like a roll but the dough is a special recipe dough.
I recently made this for a party my friends and I had (It was based around the cultures we grew up with, we’re all under 18) and they all loved it. It reminded me of my Tia’s B-n-b in Graciosa, Azores. Com amor, obrigado. <3
p.s. i think my transaltion is off, i havent been able to speak much portuguese any more
That makes me happy! I’m glad it was a hit! ❤️
Great recipe! I have made this in my restaurant, Sub Station Grille & Cafe, which is in Harrison, NJ. I have had Portuguese people tell me that is better than theirs, lol! So hats off to you!
Oh, Fred! So glad to hear that. I must visit your restaurant soon! ❤️