Creamy Kale and Rice Soup

Is it really 2013? This marks my 613 post on this blog. That’s 500+ published recipes I’ve created or made in the last three years. Holy mise en place, that’s a lot of onion chopping.

It’s crazy how much this little blog has shaped my life. Launched at a time when my personality was quickly shifting and evolving, my passions forming and cementing, this early college venture has become a huge part of who I am. From my potential career goals (who wouldn’t want to be a full-time, food blogging Smitten Kitchen? Or food journalist. Or photographer…among other things), to the reputation among my friends as the constant cook, I probably wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t started this blog.

I wouldn’t be pitching to food magazines. I wouldn’t be writing a seasonal veggie column. I wouldn’t be networking among other bloggers. Likely I wouldn’t be the photography enthusiast I’ve become today. There are so many doors this blog has opened, and so many people it has brought to my life, and so on this first day of January, I just want to give thanks to all that the hard work has brought.

As much as I would still love my mom to pack the occasional lunch or be at my apartment to whip up dinner after work, I have learned to absolutely love cooking on my own through this experience. And writing too. I’m finally secure in my desire to be a journalist, food-related or not, and know that one day I will do so on a full-time basis.

I hope you too are looking back on the year with a positive reflection, and with that, I say Happy New Year. Let me leave you with this recipe, a perfect start to 2013. Let’s lighten things up after the holidays with this warm, nutrient-packed soup. The creamy kale recipe was inspired by callaloo, a green soup I once ate daily on a trip to Grenada. Whether feasting in the Caribbean or dining on the version below, this will leave you refreshed and ready to take on the year ahead.

Creamy Kale and Rice Soup

Yield: Serves 4


  • -1 Tbsp. butter
  • -1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • -1 onion, diced
  • -5 cloves garlic, sliced but not too thin
  • -1 bunch of curly red kale, washed and chopped
  • -1 bay leaf
  • -1 tsp. dried oregano
  • -1 tsp. fresh rosemary (or a pinch of dried)
  • -Bay leaf
  • -1 tsp. salt
  • -1/2 tsp. pepper
  • -4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
  • -3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • -2 cups cooked short grain brown rice (about 3/4 cup dried)


  1. In a large pot, heat oil adding butter shortly after, over medium high. Add onions, and let caramelize. You'll probably want to reduce the heat to medium so that the onions can cook slowly to get the full caramelized flavor, stirring occasionally as the edges begin to brown.
  2. Add garlic, and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes, until garlic is soft. Stir in herbs, S&P, and then kale. Let cook for a minute, and then add broth. Raise heat to bring to a simmer, then cover, and reduce heat so soup stays at a low simmer.
  3. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until kale is tender but still fairly vibrant in color. Stir in pumpkin.
  4. Transfer in batches to a food process or quality blender. Blend till desired smoothness.
  5. Return to pot, stir in rice, and heat until warm. Serve.

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  • Reply
    January 1, 2013 at 7:44 am

    That looks stunning! What a colour!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Does the pumpkin purée make the soup taste sweet?

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      January 2, 2013 at 10:17 am

      Nope. This is more of a savory soup. The pumpkin acts as a thickener to enhance the creaminess in a healthy way.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

    When you say “pumpkin” you mean the Spanish “pumpkin” correct? Not like pumpkin for pumpkin pie. They are different so I just want to be sure. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      January 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

      I actually used canned pumpkin. It doesn’t lend much flavor to this soup, but it naturally boosts the creaminess of the kale.

  • Reply
    Lynn @ The Actor's Diet
    January 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    this looks amazing! i love the pumpkin too…

  • Reply
    January 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Can you use green kale?

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      January 9, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Yes. I am sure you could experiment with different varieties, too. Even spinach might be a nice addition.

  • Reply
    Spring Green Smoothie | Food Fitness Fresh Air
    April 13, 2013 at 5:56 am

    […] but no fruit and greens have been spinning together in my blender lately. Kale, onions and herbs, yes, but no early morning, creamy green creations have been going down, that is, up until springtime […]

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