Vegan Caldo Verde Soup is my first traditional Portuguese food I’ve eaten since arriving in Portugal the beginning of December. Moving to Portugal has been an anxious, exciting, stressful, wonderful and cultural road. There has been sickness, health and frustration along the way to our arrival in Portugal.
I’m grateful to have tasted delicious vegan food from around vegan spots in Porto (Black Mamba, O Burrito and I Love Bio so far!). Even so, it feels good to be in my own kitchen again making recipes and cooking food I love. And not just cooking food to ‘get by’ and feed the two of us.
What is traditional Portuguese food?
Aside from learning the Portuguese language, I wish to learn more about the way of life. One way to do that is by learning and cooking traditional Portuguese food. E.g., I learned about a special fowl-sausage made by Jews during the rise of Christianity. Jews created it to fool Christians into thinking they weren’t Jewish anymore, who can’t eat pork.
I was surprised (and slightly disheartened) to discover Portuguese food is animal product-heavy. Many dishes center around eggs yolks and/or meat.
Luckily, I stumbled upon Portuguese dishes that were simple to make healthy. Caldo Verde (potato-kale soup), Rabanada (Portuguese french toast) and Broa de Avintes (dense corn-rye bread) all found their way on to my list of dishes to make. It seemed most straightforward to first make Caldo Verde vegan and healthy.
The path to vegan caldo verde
So that’s what my mission was. The main issues I had to tackle were the chorizo, salt and oil.
My original plan was to make Caldo Verde sans vegan chorizo. However, Rob wanted found vegan chorizo at a local superstore and wanted to buy it. We bought it and I then realized it would be perfect for the Caldo Verde I planned on making.
Without further ado, please enjoy this healthy vegan potato and kale soup. It’s perfect for a chilly winter’s day (like the ones I have without central heating in Porto!).
What is traditional Portuguese food that is easy to veganize? Try this Caldo verde soup! The creamy, low fat soup is made from a base of onion, garlic and potatoes. The soup is then splashed with color from vibrant shredded kale and cracked black pepper. Make it even more authentic,colorful and flavorful with a garnish of dark red vegan chorizo. Introducing yourself to Portuguese cuisine has never been easier than making this Caldo Verde.
Vegan and free sugar, gluten, soy, nuts and seeds. Oil and salt free without the chorizo.
- 1 kg /2.2 lbs potatoes (I used yellow, but any kind works), cubed
- 1.5 L low- or no-sodium vegetable stock*
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 medium/large cloves garlic, minced
- 75 g shredded kale*
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 200-gram/ ½ lb package vegan chorizo* (optional)
- If you don’t have any low salt vegetable stock, I have a trick. Add a sprinkle of every spice in your spice cabinet to the soup before cooking.
- In Portugal, they sell thinly shredded kale at almost every grocery store. It’s shredded perfectly for Caldo Verde. If you can’t find any, thinly slice the kale yourself.
- The vegan chorizo is optional as it’s high in sodium and oil. The brand I used was Cem Porcento Chouriço Enchido at Jumbo. Veg In also has Vegan Chorizo (chouriço vegan) at Jumbo in Portugal.
- Heat a pressure cooker or large pot to medium high heat.
- When the cookware is hot, add the onion and the garlic. Move the mixture around to caramelize the onion and garlic and prevent burning. Add some of the liquid (water or stock) if necessary to prevent sticking. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onion is slightly translucent and has turned a caramel color.
- Add the potatoes and the rest of the cooking liquid to the pot or pressure cooker. Season with black pepper to taste.
- Pressure cooker: Bring to pressure and cook for 5 minutes, turning down heat when pressure is reached. Allow to naturally release.
Large pot: cover pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are soft.
- While the potatoes cook, slice the chorizo thinly. Heat in the microwave or pan with a little water until warmed.
- When the soup is done, blend until smooth. You may need to do this in batches.
- Transfer the soup back to the pot in which you cooked it. Add the kale and stir. The hot soup cooks the kale.
- Ladle vegan caldo verde into bowls and garnish with chorizo and black pepper if you wish. Enjoy!