Our take on the traditional Portuguese soup turns the usual starter into a full meal. Packed with creamy bites of potato, tender hearty greens and savory sausage, this Caldo Verde recipe is a variation of the traditional dish and is true comfort food—it will surely be on repeat all winter long.
The Soup-er Simple Series
This soup recipe is part of our SOUP-er Simple Series! This means it has a short ingredient list, quick cook time, and loads of flavor. The goal is to give you more than enough soup recipes to get you through cold weeknights when all you want is something savory and steaming on the table in 30 minutes or so.
In order to be apart of the SOUP-er Simple Series, each recipe needs to hit these three criteria:
- 10 ingredients or less
- Ready in under 45 minutes
- Taste like it took hours
Why This Recipe Works
Caldo Verde, also known as Portuguese Green Soup, is traditionally served as a starter. It’s light fare, featuring a thick and silky potato broth and loads of hearty greens. Each bowl is generally topped with a few slices of lightly browned dry-aged sausage. You can find a traditional Caldo Verde Recipe here.
Our version, which is not traditional, thoroughly steps into main dish territory. We load it up with kielbasa-style sausage and keep most of the potatoes chunky. The loads of greens are still present, so it feels healthy while being heartier than the traditional.
Better than Bouillon
Look for Better than Bouillon paste in the broth and soup section of your grocery store. We prefer the Roasted Chicken Base for this recipe. Do not substitute with bouillon powder or cubes.
Traditionally, this Portuguese soup recipe is made with Portuguese cabbage, couve-galega. It’s a leafy green vegetable from the brassica family and is often referred to as Portuguese kale. All that said, this leafy veg can be hard to find in the states. We found collard greens to be the perfect substitution.
We originally tested this with Spanish chorizo which is close to the traditional Portuguese dry aged sausage known as chouriço which is usually used. However, we found it was just not very enjoyable to bite into. It was tough and quite chewy.
Through our testing, we found Cajun-style kielbasa to be a more affordable and readily-available option that was frankly more enjoyable to bite into.
For this recipe, and frankly most recipes, we recommend Yukon gold potatoes. They have the silkiest texture which is ideal in this soup. Don’t be tempted to use russet potatoes.
Test Kitchen Tip
Before adding the collard greens, we call for blending equal parts potato and broth mixture to eventually be added back to the pot to create a silky broth. During this step, it’s important to skim off as much of the grease as possible. Add that grease to a measuring cup and count that towards your ¾ cup broth measurement. By adding the grease to the bledner with the potatoes, you emulsify the fat, which in turn creates a luscious broth.
Sides to Serve with Caldo Verde
While this soup is a full meal in and of itself, here are a few side dish ideas to serve with it.
- Our Healthy Skillet Cornbread is a home run with this soup.
- These Milk Bread Rolls require a bit of prep time, but damn are they worth it!
- For a healthy bread-like option, try out Grain Free Nut and Seed Bread.
- If you’d like addition veg in your meal, our Celery Salad is perfect.
- Another great side salad would be our Grape Salad.
Tuscan kale (also labeled Dinosaur or Lacinato kale) can be used in place of collard greens. No massaging necessary.
We haven’t tested this, but you should be able to, no problem. We anticipate it won’t be as flavorful as you aren’t browning the bouillon, but it will still be delicious. You’ll need 8 cups chicken broth or chicken stock.
Caldo Verde Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 13- ounces Cajun-style Andouille smoked sausage, such as Hillshire Farm, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- Morton kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ¼ –½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
- 1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 medium-large potatoes)
- 1 ½ pounds collard greens, (2 bunches) stemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (8–10 packed cups)
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Parmesan, for serving, optional
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add andouille and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer andouille to bowl and set aside; reserve drippings in pot.
- Add remaining tablespoon oil to pot with drippings. Add onion, garlic, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, paprika and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add bouillon and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
- Add potatoes and stir to coat. Add 8 cups water; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer ¾ cup solids and ¾ cup broth to blender jar (try to skim as much grease off the top as possible as—use that as part of the broth measurement); set aside to cool slightly.
- Stir collard greens into soup; simmer until greens have wilted and softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add vinegar to blender with potato and broth mixture. Blend potato mixture until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir puréed mixture and browned andouille into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmesan, optional.