Black Cabbage Soup Recipe | Italian Recipes | PBS Food

Black Cabbage Soup

Cavolo Nero or black cabbage is similar to kale and is a classic ingredient for this hearty soup. Watch Mary Ann Esposito make Black Cabbage Soup at!


Yield: 2 quarts



  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup diced pancetta
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes or red pepper pesto
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 2 red skin potatoes,peeled and diced
  • 1 fennel stalk, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 pound kale, tough stems removed and leaves torn into bite size pieces
  • One 16 ounce can whole cherry tomatoes or fresh, if you have them
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One 32 ounce can vegetable broth or water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 can drained and rinsed cannellini beans or 1-1/2 cups cooked kidney beans, lentils or a combination
  • 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind "croutons"


  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the pancetta and allow to cook until the pancetta begins to brown; stir in pepper flakes, carrots, potatoes, fennel, onion and parsley. Cook stirring frequently until the vegetables begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the kale, tomatoes, lemon juice, broth,cayenne pepper and celery seed. Add enough water if need be just to cover the ingredients.
  2. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20minutes, or just until the vegetables are cooked but not mushy. Stir in the beans or lentils. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle the croutons over the top.


If using lentils, soak them overnight and precook them for 15 to 20 minutes.Or cook them for 1 1/2 hours, if they haven't been presoaked.