Caldo Verde: A Recipe Fit for Autumn

A vegan soup option to protect and strengthen the body for fall

Autumn is the season of letting go and making space for new (thank you for the example, trees). And as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) reminds us, that's not just a physical job but a psychological and emotional one, too. TCM also shines light on the fact that the lungs and large intestine are the organs that start working overtime to help get it done.

RELATED: Defending Your Health During Autumn

Because they work so hard to let go (large intestine) and create new (lungs), it's extra important they be provided added care, which you can offer, in part, through how you choose to feed yourself. The following is a recipe that will offer such support for the task at hand.

Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese soup with a name that means, simply, green soup. But it's way less boring than it sounds! And with potatoes, leafy greens, and heaps of flavor added in, this soup is light and fueling. Perfect for the rest that fall invokes. also strengthens the stomach, spleen, and liver. Can you say Super Soup? Souper soup.

"Tell us how to make it, already!" Fine.

Ingredients (Serves 6-8)

  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1lb kale or collards, stems removed and leaves cut into thin slices

  • 2 cloves garlic (don't fear adding more of this immune-booster)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 8 cups water (or half veggie stock, half water)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Black pepper (to taste)

  • Kosher salt (to taste)

  • Juice of 1 lemon (optional)

  • Grated carrot (to garnish)


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Dump the onion into the pot. Sprinkle with salt and cook until softened and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

  2. Stir in the potatoes, add the water (stock/water combo) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are almost tender (10 to 20 or so minutes; You can check them with a fork). Remove from heat and let it start to cool.

  3. Purée the soup using a hand blender (a food processor will work here, too).

  4. Add the kale to the soup, bring everything back to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer until tender (another 2 to 5 minutes). Add lemon juice (again, optional), pepper and more salt, if needed.

  5. Dish that soupy goodness into bowls and garnish with carrot if preferred.

Caldo Verde is traditionally served with a drizzle of olive oil on top and some crusty bread on the side. It can easily be packaged and stored in the fridge or even freezer - if leftovers present themselves.

This is obviously a vegan version, which will further help the large intestine by not forcing it to break down animal protein; it's busy enough as-is. However, if meat is a preference, the dish can be made with ham, sausage, or chorizo. Want the meatiness minus the meat? White or navy beans would be a hearty addition, too.

Make it your own and savor the sips while you practice letting go.

By Sam Jump

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