Kid-friendly Traditional Portuguese Potato “Caldo Verde” Soup Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Traditional Portuguese Potato “Caldo Verde” Soup

Recipe: Traditional Portuguese Potato “Caldo Verde” Soup

Traditional Portuguese Potato “Caldo Verde” Soup

by Erin Fletter
Photo by rfranca/
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
10 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Traditional Portuguese Potato “Caldo Verde” Soup

We know. Green soup is risky. But so much of the fun of cooking is stretching ourselves to try new foods from different cultures. We’re willing to bet some of you will change your minds about this soup! With kale as an ingredient and kale chips on top, we think you'll go from “No way” to “Hey, these are actually really good.” And chips on top of soup is always a good idea, don’t you think? Wishing you fun in and outside the kitchen!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • purée :

    to blend, grind, or mash food until it is thick, smooth, and closer to a liquid.

  • tear :

    to pull or rip apart a food, like basil leaves, into pieces instead of cutting with a knife; cutting breaks cell walls more, so herbs can discolor faster.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Medium soup pot
  • Blender
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Ladle


Traditional Portuguese Potato “Caldo Verde” Soup

  • 1/3 bunch curly or lacinato kale
  • 3 1/2 C veggie broth
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 1/4 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 small green or yellow zucchini
  • 2 T olive or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar + more to taste


Traditional Portuguese Potato “Caldo Verde” Soup

tear + measure + purée

Tear the leaves from 3 to 4 kale stalks and add leaves to a blender. Throw out the stems (or, if you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, add the stems to the blender, too). Add 2 cups of veggie broth. Purée until kale is blended into the liquid.

mince + chop

Mince 1 garlic clove and 1 shallot. Chop 1 1/4 pounds potatoes and 1 zucchini.

sauté + simmer + season

In a medium-sized soup pot, sauté minced garlic and shallot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 30 seconds. Then add chopped potatoes, zucchini, puréed kale, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of veggie broth. Bring soup to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar or more, just before serving. Ladle into bowls and top with Crispy Kale Chips (see recipe)!

Surprise Ingredient: Kale!

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Photo by Roy Harris/ (Lacinato Kale, also called Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale)

Hi! I’m Kale!

"I'm a very healthy type of cabbage with dark green or purple leaves. Did you know that massaging my leaves with olive oil and salt makes them more tender? This is especially nice if you're eating them raw in a salad. Search, and you shall find a recipe for just about anything made from kale, even kale cupcakes!"


  • Kale may be experiencing an explosion in popularity over the past several years, but did you know that kale is an Old World staple in many countries worldwide, including Scotland, Kenya, Denmark, Italy, and Portugal? It's true. People have been enjoying kale for at least 2,000 years.  
  • People in the Mediterranean area were the first to cultivate kale. They called it cabbage back in the day. In Roman times, cabbage was a significant crop and became a staple for peasants in the Middle Ages.  
  • Kale made its way to the United States from England 400 years ago in the 17th century.  
  • Despite its longstanding popularity all over the globe, the average American eats only two to three cups of kale per year. Check out how much kale you will eat today in our recipes!
  • Kale used to be called "peasant's cabbage," probably because it grew so abundantly. The modern name "kale" came from the Scottish word for the plant: "kail." In Scotland, in the 14th century, small gardens were known as "kailyards" because they grew so much kale.
  • In Ireland, years ago, on Halloween, single women and men would pull up kale stalks to predict the future of their love lives and wealth.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Holy Kale! There are over fifty varieties of kale, even though we only see about three in the grocery stores! This limited supply is due to several types being inedible. Some are rather coarse, bitter, and indigestible.
  • Ornamental Kale comes in many colors, including pink and white.
  • Kale leaves can be curly or straight, thin, and scalloped. Lacinato kale is popular because it is mild, and its thinner leaves are more tender than other types of Kale. Other names for Lacinato kale are Tuscan and Dinosaur (or Dino)!
  • Leaves can be either purple or green. Purple leaves have a slightly different nutrient content than green leaves, but both are nutritious.
  • Kale is part of the Cruciferous family of vegetables because of the shape of its flowers. Taste a piece of raw kale. Does it taste like anything you've eaten before? Other vegetables in this family include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower—maybe kale tastes similar to one of these veggies!
  • Some kale varieties can reach up to 17 or 18 feet tall!
  • The word "kale" came from the Northern Middle English word for cabbage, "cale" (compare Scots "kail"), from Latin "caulis." 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Kale prefers to grow in cold weather, but it can be grown during any season and in most climates. Kale grown and picked during the winter actually tastes sweeter! That's because kale reacts to frost by producing sugars.
  • Kale is harvested when leaves have grown to at least 12 inches long. Each leaf is picked individually by snapping the leaf off close to the stalk.
  • When shopping for kale, look for deep green leaves, unless it's the purple variety.
  • Before eating kale, wash each leaf under cold running water, as a lot of dirt hides at the bottom of the stalks.
  • Kale is super versatile. It can be braised, steamed, roasted into chips, dehydrated, blended raw into smoothies, added to soups, sliced and added to salads, or juiced. 
  • In Japan, kale is dried, ground into powder, and added to drinks.


  • Kale is the Superhero of Vegetables. It has many antioxidants and vitamins that help keep us healthy, smart, strong, and feeling good.
  • Kale contains an incredible array of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, K, and C, calcium, and fiber.
  • Remember what fiber does? It helps our digestion! Our intestines depend on fiber to work well and help us absorb the nutrients we need from our food (and get rid of what we don't!).
  • Kale contains over 45 different compounds that have been proven to fight cancer.
  • Because of an essential fatty acid in kale, called alpha-linolenic acid (or ALA), eating it may help prevent heart disease and stroke. Other foods high in ALA include avocados, navy beans, and edamame (soybeans).
  • The vitamins A and K in kale will be absorbed better if you eat it with a healthy fat, like avocado, olive oil, cheese, or olives.
  • Kale contains lutein, which is good for our eyes and vision. Lutein also helps kale retain its beautiful deep green color.
  • Kale includes more vitamin C than an orange and more calcium than milk!


What is Caldo Verde?

Photo by Ezume Images for Shutterstock
  • The English translation of "Caldo Verde" from Portuguese (and Spanish) is "Green Broth." It is a soup made of potatoes and kale and, frequently, Portuguese sausage. It is eaten during times of celebration, like weddings and birthdays.
  • Though Caldo Verde originated in the former northwest Portuguese province of Minho, people throughout Portugal and the world, especially in places with large communities of Portuguese people, enjoy the soup.
  • António Correia de Oliveira (1879-1960), a well-known Portuguese poet, described Caldo Verde as "a marriage of flavors and livelihood."
  • Caldo Verde is so well-loved and popular in Portugal that it is named one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Cuisine. Other foods on the list include Alheiras de Mirandela (sausage made with meat and bread), Queijo Serra da Estrela (a cheese from a mountainous region in Portugal), Arroz de Marisco (rice with seafood), Sardinha Assada (grilled sardine), Leitão da Bairrada (roasted suckling pig), and Pastel de Belém (egg custard tart).

Let's Learn About Portugal!

Photo by Carlos Caetano/
  • Portugal is on the western coast of the European continent, on the Iberian peninsula, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Spain. Portuguese is the official language. It is also the official language of nine other countries, including Brazil.
  • Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of the oldest cities in the world. Unfortunately, it suffered a major earthquake in 1755, which devastated the city and caused it to lose much of its wealth and status.  
  • The oldest bookstore in the world, Livreria Bertrand, is located in Lisbon. The original store was opened in 1732. However, when the earthquake hit, it leveled most of the city, including Livreria Bertrand. Although the original French founder's son-in-law had to resettle the shop in a different part of the city, it is still considered the oldest standing bookstore in the world.
  • The art of tile painting and glazing, known as "azulejo," is one of Portugal's most popular art forms. The use of these tiles for building interiors and exteriors began in the 1500s and is still practiced by artisans today.
  • Lisbon has the longest bridge in Europe. The Vasco da Gama bridge is over 10 miles long.
  • Portugal is famous for its surfing. They say you can surf 364 days a year there. In other words, year-round!
  • Common animals found in Portugal are boars, wild goats, fallow deer, foxes, and Iberian hares. 
  • Have you ever wondered where vegetables, fruits, and spices came from originally? Of course, they all came from somewhere, and at some point in history, a group of explorers or conquerors would have carried native ingredients with them and introduced them to the people of other lands. In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers dominated the spice routes around the world—exploring, navigating, and bringing new ingredients back and forth between continents. For example, the Portuguese brought chili peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes to India. They also introduced coffee to Brazil.
  • You may have heard of Ferdinand Magellan, one of the most famous Portuguese explorers. He set out to discover a western route to the Spice Islands. Known as the Maluku Islands, east of Indonesia, they were called the Spice Islands because nutmeg, mace, and cloves were only found there. Magellan was the first from Europe to cross the Pacific Ocean. The trip was long and dangerous, and only one out of their five ships returned three years later! Nevertheless, Magellan's voyage proved that the Earth could be circumnavigated (circled) by sea and that it was much bigger than anyone had initially thought.
  • The Portuguese love to eat cod, particularly dried, salted cod, known as "bacalhau." Salting the fish is a traditional way of preserving it. They have a different way of preparing cod for every day of the year!

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Portugal?

  • Family is foundational to life in Portugal, and family relationships are essential. Grandparents often help out with watching kids and may live in the same home with their grandchildren.
  • Football (soccer) is the most popular sport for kids. They also like to swim, ride bikes, and play basketball and futsal (a soccer-like game played on an indoor court). 
  • Children go to Portugal's beautiful beaches with their families, and older kids may surf. Other kid-friendly activities include trips to zoos, aquariums, and museums.
  • Some of the snacks Portuguese kids like to eat are Pastéis de Nata (egg custard tart), Sugus (chewy fruit candies similar to Starburst), Línguas de Gato (buttery, crunchy cookies shaped like cat tongues), Confeitos (confectionary) candy, Rissóis de Camarão (breaded shrimp patties), Sombrinhas de Chocolate (chocolate umbrellas), Arroz Doce (sweet rice), Bolinhos de Bacalhau (codfish cakes or fritters), Pão de Ló (sponge cake), Sumol (fruit soda), and Pintarolas (chocolates with a colorful, fruit-flavored coating, similar to M&Ms).

That's Berry Funny

Did you hear about the carrot that outran the bunny rabbit? 

He lived to tell the kale.

That's Berry Funny

What happens when you buy too many greens? 

You tip the sales!

The Yolk's On You

Why is kale never lonely? 

Because they come in bunches!

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