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!
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! 😉
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.