When my sister Janice brought over a large gorgeous baked ham for Easter dinner last Sunday, it was clear to me right away there would be leftovers. After our family celebrated a wonderful meal together, Janice and I started to clear up the table and discuss what types of meals we would both be respectively cooking from the leftover ham. As she loaded the dishwasher and I put away food, she was enthusiastic about making split pea soup the next day. However, knowing I had a super-warehouse sized bag of baby kale leaves in my refrigerator, a couple of onions, large gold potatoes, a can of navy beans, and a box of chicken broth in my pantry, I knew a portion of my leftover ham would be used to make Ham, Kale, and Bean soup.

Generally speaking, my attitude about cooking with leftovers is all about being flexible, using what I have on hand, and often times coming up with a new dish which transforms leftovers into an entirely new dish unrelated to the original.

What I made for dinner today was not only quick and easy; it was filling, delicious, and comforting – perfect for a typical grey Seattle rainy day.

Using leftover ham imparts a wonderful smoky flavor to just about any dish, especially soups and stews. You can easily substitute ham for any recipe calling for bacon and get a similar type of flavor, which shouldn’t be a surprise since they are both pork products. For the soup I’m sharing with you today, it is not your typical ham and bean soup. By adding a touch of cumin and coriander, these spices give the soup an additional depth of flavor which complements the ham so well. The potatoes and kale give the soup an added dimension of heartiness making this soup a main dish worth using leftover ham for.

If you have some ham left in your refrigerator, don’t hesitate to make this Ham, Kale, and Bean soup for tonight’s family dinner. Add some warm crust bread and you have yourself a meal. From our home to yours, enjoy!

Recipe: Ham Kale Bean Soup

  • Prep Time: 5 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 15 min(s)
  • Total Time: 20 min(s)

A delicious variation of the classic ham and bean soup using kale.


    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon coriander
    • 2 cups chopped cooked ham
    • 1 - 32 oz. box chicken broth
    • ¼ cup dry sherry or white wine (optional)
    • 1 chicken flavored bouillon cube
    • 1 - 15 oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 large gold potato, scrubbed and cut into 1/2" cubes
    • 4 cups chopped kale
    • salt and apper
    • optional: sour cream


    • Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and heat on medium heat.
    • Sauté the onion, garlic, cumin, and coriander for 5 minutes until the onions are soft.
    • Stir in the ham and cook for an additional minute.
    • Pour in the the chicken broth. Add the sherry and bouillon cube. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.
    • Stir in the beans and potato. Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid.
    • Cook the soup for 15 minutes.
    • Season the soup with salt and pepper if necessary.
    • Turn off the heat and stir in the kale. Allow the soup to rest for a few minutes before serving.
    • Optional: Add a dollop of sour cream over each bowl of soup.

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2 Responses to “Easy Ham Kale Bean Soup”

  1. michele

    This soup looks delicious! Good use of greens and the ham. There’s so much protein and other vitamins too. Perfect. Thanks for sharing it.