Vegetarian Kale Soup with Mushrooms and Garlic

This vegetarian kale soup is a great way to utilize seasonal winter vegetables like mushrooms and garlic. Serve with bread or salad for a full meal.

vegetarian kale soup

I’m usually the one to use superlatives, but this time it was Alex who called this the “best soup ever.” Granted, he was probably making fun of me, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this vegetarian kale soup is one of our favorites – and it’s darn good! It’s a great way to use seasonal ingredients, with winter being prime time for hardy greens like kale (if you’re local, try the winter farmer’s market).

Even better is the delicious flavor that the garlic (20 cloves of it!) brings to this broth, along with the savory shiitake mushrooms. While this is good news for garlic lovers like ourselves, don’t be dissuaded if you’re not a garlic lover. Somehow, the taste isn’t overly strong, but softens into a savory goodness. I wasn’t even left with garlic breath! Give it a try, and let me know if my love for this stuff has clouded my tastebuds.

Making this vegetarian kale soup

When making this vegetarian kale soup, feel free to toss in whatever seasonal veggies you have on hand. This recipe doesn’t make a thick soup, so there’s room to throw in some extra ingredients. You’re also more than welcome to swap our the shitake mushrooms for button mushrooms, and the kale for spinach. Just make sure you cook the greens for only the last 5 to 10 minutes, otherwise they’ll become soggy.

Because this soup contains leafy greens, I wouldn’t recommend freezing the leftovers. I’ve done this in a pinch, but I’ve yet to find a green that reheats well after being frozen. This vegetarian kale soup will last for up to a week in the fridge and can be served alongside a salad or some crusty bread. It’s especially good for a sore throat; between the soothing broth and the nutrient-packed garlic and kale, you’ll hopefully feel better in no time after enjoying a few bowls of this soup!

Looking for more vegetarian kale recipes?

If you’re not a fan of kale, it’s likely because you’ve never had it prepared the right way! Kale can be used for so much more than salads. Here are a few of our favorite kale recipes:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and vegan.

Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!

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Vegetarian Kale Soup with Mushrooms and Garlic | 13 Best Healthy & Easy Soup Recipes | Best soup recipes | Easy soup recipes

Vegetarian Kale Soup with Mushrooms and Garlic

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (17 votes, average: 4.18 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x


This vegetarian kale soup is a great way to utilize seasonal winter vegetables like mushrooms and garlic. Serve with bread or salad for a full meal.


  • 20 garlic cloves
  • 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 pound broad leaf kale (2 bunches)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 10 cups vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup farro
  • Kosher salt


  1. Thinly slice the garlic. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and thinly slice them. Roughly chop the kale.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a bit of kosher salt, then sauté beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add the rice vinegar; simmer, stirring, until vinegar is almost evaporated.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and farro to the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the kale is tender. Season to taste with kosher salt.
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegetarian kale soup

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    foodies at home
    January 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Wow…no garlic breath? I’m impressed…my coworkers will thank you after I eat this one evening!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    oooo, I love garlic and this soup looks delightful! wow, 20 cloves??

  • Reply
    January 20, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks for the rec about it not being too garlicly. I love garlic but garlic-based soups kind of freak me out. This sounds like a perfect wintry-soup. Also, how do you do the veggie stock? Do you buy liquid stock, make it from scratch, or use bouillon cubes?

  • Reply
    January 21, 2011 at 9:53 am

    The photograph captures every savory spoonful. I relish the idea of using seasonal vegetables and this recipe is a terrific way to bring more kale to the table.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Hello, love your blog and this is a great recipe!

    Have you ever blog hopped before? We’d love it if you contributed this awesome soup recipe to our blog hop on favorite soups, it’s a great way to get links back to your site. Really easy too.

    You can check out our blog hop here:


  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    The best soup ever?!? That is SOME endorsement! I am looking forward to trying it!!!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I came across your posting and printed off your Kale & Garlic and your Split Pea Soups. I made the Kale & Garlic tonight and it was WONDERFUL! I couldn’t find the farro, so used the barley. We have a wonderful garlic press – that will mince or slice and it was fun being able to finally use the slice part of the garlic press. I followed the recipe exactly as directed. Next time, I’ll probably add a sweet onion sliced and cook it in with the garlic.
    Thank you :-}}

  • Reply
    Caramel Wings
    January 24, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Wow, this looks appetizing, need to try it!!!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Considering I couldn’t find Kale anywhere in the country that I live… I decided to substitute with Cabbage and it was still delicious. I testify that there was no garlic breath and I put in more than 20 actually! Thanks for this recipe… perfect for a cold night!

  • Reply
    June 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Hey, guys!

    Working for Basic Roots Community Foods, I’m up to my ears in kale.

    I think I heard one of you mention your site at a Indy Food Farm and Family Coalition meetup sometime recently. Trying to find a decent kale-soup recipe that DIDN’T require potatoes, I just stumbled across this here. Small web.

    I figured I’d leave you a comment given all that.

    I’m going to go make this now.

    See you ’round
    – Patch

    • Reply
      June 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      Hi! I don’t think we were at the meetup – but glad you found our site! Reading up on the Indy Food, Farm, and Family Coalition now…

  • Reply
    March 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    How have I not commented on this yet? This has become my go-to soup. I am a self described foodie with a horrible lazy streak. Unfortunately so, most of my “gourmet” meals are enjoyed as take-out, or a frozen meal for one. I discovered this soup during a rainy spell when I needed a healthy, tastes like it came from a restaurant but I can eat it for a week, kind of meal. This recipe is a god-send! Never (outside of baking sweets) has my house smelled so good. I cannot get enough of this soup, and being a meat-lover, I do not miss it in this total vegetarian/vegan dish! I recommend it all the time to friends and family, and all have fallen in love too. Sorry for being so wordy… I just really love this soup!

    • Reply
      March 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Haha! Wow — I never knew that one of our recipes could become so beloved! Thanks for letting us know; we love to hear when a recipe hits the spot :)

  • Reply
    Emily Shalbrack
    February 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Made this for lunch today. Didn’t have the right shrooms so subbed crimini instead. I added white onion, some ground white pepper and topped it with some stringy mozzarella. Will DEFINITELY make again. Delicious, very fresh, vibrant dish

  • Reply
    January 26, 2016 at 1:59 am

    I followed the directions, it looks really full of barley, it doesn’t look like the brothy soup in the picture. I didn’t have the shitaki so substituted. I didn’t have the rice vinigar and substituted cider. Vegetable broth? Sorry I don’t keep that in stock, who does. If you have to go out and buy $40 WORTH OF GROCERIES TO MAKE SOUP, SOMETHING IS WRONG.
    I’d cut that batrley down maybe to 1/4 cup if you like your soup brothy.
    I tell you though, even not following the recipe, using what I had on hand, it tastes pretty good, and I like the healthy foods in it. I bet the excact recipe is really tastey,

    • Reply
      January 31, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t quite as expected, but I’m glad you found it tasted good! We’ve made it several times with good results.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    I just made a big pot of this soup…. (I decided to harvest most of my kale from the garden this evening, because of an arctic blast, and just planted my garlic for next year, so have lots of extra cloves ready to eat). It came out delicious! I made a few adjustments- used chicken broth, probably way more garlic, and instead of farro or barley I used a rice mixture. Also added white beans. (It’s cold out!!!) At the end I felt it needed a bit more spice, so I added parsley and black pepper. Served with a squeeze of fresh lemon and some fresh chunks of my homemade goat feta. So Yummy! Thank you!!!

  • Reply
    Drew Alexis
    January 22, 2020 at 1:33 am

    I added lemon zest and the juice of one meyer lemon, vegan chick’n, two vine ripened tomatoes, one and 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes, and 2/3 cup of dry white wine. I also used a mix of two types of kale and broccoli leaves. I also used apple cider vinegar for more flavor than the rice vinegar. It was delicious. Add t

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