Portuguese Caldo Verde Soup

Portuguese is far from being easy on vegetarians and vegans, but it won’t make you go hungry either. The Caldo Verde soup is perhaps the most traditional of vegetarian Portuguese dishes. This soup is original from the north of Portugal, from the region of Minho and Trasos Montes.  This was the traditional and staple food for poor people, the only thing they could afford. It’s a very simple soup with very few ingredients; Couve Portuguesa (a very typical Portuguese cabbage), potatoes, onion and olive oil. Traditionally this soup has a couple of slices of chorizo, for the flavor, since people couldn’t afford to buy much meat.

Caldo verde used to be cooked on the fireplace in big metal pots, at every northern Portuguese home. There was no electricity back then, so the fire places had a double functionality of warming up the house and as a cooking tool.  If you go up north to a small village of Tras-os-montes, you’ll still find this old form of cooking. People used to eat it in clay bawls or plates. In some restaurants you might be served the Caldo verde in a clay bawl.You’ll find this soup at every restaurant or cafe in Portugal. They’re very cheap and famous, but be aware to ask if they contain chorizo or not! It is the perfect healthy comfort food to warm you up in the cold weather. It is also so popular in Brazil that most Brazilians don’t even know that it is originally a Portuguese soup.

Here’s how you can make it at home.


5-6 medium to large potatoes, peeled

1 onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving

1 cup tofu or cottage cheese

1 small bunch of spinach, thoroughly washed

8 cups of vegetable stock

Salt and Pepper to taste


Start by cutting the greens. Stack three leaves at a time, roll them like cigars and cut them cross-wise to get long strips.

In a heavy bottomed pot, add the peeled potatoes, diced onions, minced garlic, olive oil and vegetable stock. Bring to boil over high heat and then lower the heat to medium low and cook until potatoes are tender and ready to be mashed.

Mash the potatoes and bring them back to the pot.

Using a hand blender, blend the soup until smooth.

Add the greens and stir.

Keep cooking for 15 more minutes.

Add the tofu/cottage cheese to the soup and cook till the soup boils again.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with extra olive oil.












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