Caldo Gallego, Spanish White Bean Soup

Caldo gallego is a Spanish white bean soup and if you are visiting Miami for the first time, it is a great place to enjoy a bowl of this hearty and flavorful soup. You will find Spanish and Cuban restaurants all over the city but if you want to experience true Latin culinary flavors, head over to SW 8th street. Better known by locals as “Calle Ocho” in the area of the city called Little Havana, it is known as the heart of Miami’s Cuban community.

Whether you decide to eat in a small cafeteria or the locally famous Versailles restaurant, try starting your meal with an order of caldo gallego. This traditional dish is originally from the Galician region of Spain and there are many versions, from a thin broth based soup to one with an almost stew like consistency. No matter which version you get, it should be a delicious soup rich with smoked pork, sausage, beans, potatoes and greens.

Only order a cup of this hearty soup then try a medianoche sandwich made with roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles or perhaps lechon asado (Cuban roast pork) with black beans and rice or a dish of arroz con pollo (yellow rice with chicken). Make sure to save a little room for flan to end your meal along with a cortadito (a small Cuban coffee).

Caldo Gallego, A Spanish White Bean Soup That Is A Taste of Little Havana

If you would like to bring some of the tastes of Little Havana into your own kitchen, a bowl of caldo gallego would be a great place to start. While originating in Spain, the Cuban community in Florida has given it their own twist just as I have done with my easy recipe. While many versions start with soaking dried beans over night and making a rich stock from ham hocks the day before, I’m sharing a quicker and yet very flavorful version of this comforting Spanish white bean soup.

Caldo Gallego, A Spanish White Bean Soup

  • 2 slices of pancetta or thick bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. Spanish chorizo (casings removed), andouille or kielbasa sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, then cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. water
  • 2  15 oz. cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium potatoes (I use Yukon gold), peeled and diced
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 3 c. fresh turnip greens, kale or collards, stemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

Add pancetta or bacon to a large pot and cook until starting to brown. Add the oil and sausage and cook until the edges start to brown. Add onion and cook until soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil. Add the beans, potatoes, turnips, greens and seasonings, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. The soup is ready to serve now but will improve in taste if kept at a very low simmer, partially covered, for another 30 minutes or longer. If you would like a thicker consistency, you can lightly mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Ladle the soup into  bowls and serve with crusty bread.

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While you may not have the opportunity to visit Miami and Little Havana, you can certainly experience one of the area’s well known Latin dishes in your own kitchen. This budget friendly meal is quick and easy to prepare so my suggestion is to make an extra large pot of it and know that you will be rewarded with not one but several delicious meals to share with your family. On days when you have plenty of time, start with dried beans soaked overnight and prepare the soup with a leftover ham bone or a ham hock for additional flavor. Either way, caldo gallego is a delicious white bean soup that is good anytime of the year so I do hope you will try this flavorful, comforting meal soon.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
This entry was posted in food, lifestyle, recipes, travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

109 Responses to Caldo Gallego, Spanish White Bean Soup

  1. I am a huge fan of all things beans and legumes..and happen to be a soup person too. This is a perfect dinner for me, Karen.

  2. What a gorgeous soup that would make a lovely supper dish.

  3. kitchenriffs says:

    Good soup! I’ve had this dish, in Tampa, but have never made it myself. It’s SO good — I really need to give it a go. I’m 50/50 these days between using dried beans and canned. So much easier and quicker with canned, isn’t it? And the quality of canned beans generally is pretty good. Anyway, the quality of this soup is beyond pretty good — it’s excellent! Really good stuff — thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, I’m glad to know that you are familiar with caldo gallego. Even though I keep dried beans in my pantry, more often than not, I use can. The are perfect when you want to put together a quick meal. Thank you very much for your nice compliment, it is much appreciated.

  4. Talk about comfort food !

  5. I rarely cook with beans, but this soup sounds so good I want to give it a try!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jenna, Beans are a terrific ingredient to use, I think you would like them in this soup. BTW, I can get on your blog for some reason. When I try to click on, it just keeps refreshing. 😦

      • hi Karen, I just now saw this, and I’m sorry about the trouble, no one else has mentioned anything…I was having trouble with a different website the other day and tried it on a different browser and it worked fine…computers! there’s always something!

  6. Your version looks delicious and would make an excellent meal. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  7. White beans and bacon are a wicked combination. This will be delicious!

  8. I love soups and this looks absolutely wonderful!! xo

  9. I’m not familiar with Caldo Gallego but the flavor profile is outstanding! On this cold, dark (Oh that time change!) and rainy winter morning a bowl of bowl of this comforting soup would be the highlight of my day.

  10. Mad Dog says:

    Many of those little restaurants in Barcelona, that I like to frequent are Galician – I love their hearty food. Interestingly the Spanish had to discover America to bring back the white beans, paprika, potatoes etc. The New World has had a huge food impact on Iberia and later the whole of Europe.
    I’m quite sure your recipe would more than pass muster in any Spanish restaurant!

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your kind words about my caldo gallego recipe Mad Dog, thank you. It is amazing how ingredients have traveled the world and influenced the cooking of other countries.

  11. I grew up in Galicia and most of my family are still there, so I am very familiar with the Caldo Gallego. Many Galicians had to emigrate in the late 60s and early 70s due to the financial crisis, so I am not surprised you have found this lovely traditional meal in Florida.
    I have never come across a Cuban restaurant, but if I do, I’d love to try. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Happy to share this post with you Fatima. If you ever get to visit Florida, especially Miami, you would find much that might remind you of home.

      • I visited Orlando in September 1991, but I can’t remember seeing any Spanish-style restaurants, although I must admit I wanted to experience American food and culture: that was the whole point of going. I also visited New Orleans and I absolutely loved it. I discovered Blackened food answer Gumbo, which I still cook today (I bought a Paul Prudhomme cookery book).

  12. Mae says:

    Cuban food is one area that I have not had the opportunity to try, and I’d really like to do so. The restaurants you describe and the recipe are very appealing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mae, I do hope you get a chance to try Cuban food, there is much to like. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m happy to know you enjoyed the post.

  13. lulu says:

    This is my cup of tea, er, soup!

  14. Gerlinde says:

    This looks like a great soup on rainy day here in California. Thanks for all the good information and the recipe. Now I know what to eat the next time I am visiting Miami.

  15. Madonna says:

    Sounds delish to me. I think this would be great to have on the back burner when company is coming. While I like beans cooked from scratch your version sounds so good when so much else is going on.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Madonna, for your compliment. I agree that canned beans are a real time saver in the kitchen and I always have a variety in my pantry.

  16. One of Big Man’s most favourite uncles is Galician. He’s married to Big Man’s Andalucian aunt and she makes wonderful soups from the north like this. We made chorizo at home this past weekend, so now I can make this wonderful soup!

  17. lifeincharente says:

    Sounds really good and have bookmarked this to try it out. Thanks for sharing Diane

  18. Eva Taylor says:

    We are still in soup season, it’s been snowing on and off all day, so this soup sounds like the perfect meal. And using the canned beans means that you can put this together in no time!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eva, Yes you certainly are still in soup season. I totally agree about canned beans being a great way to get a meal on the table. Thank you for your compliment.

  19. I wouldn’t have guessed this was a Cuban dish. It looks super comforting and sounds so flavorful.

  20. Cathy says:

    This sounds great Karen! I have never heard much about Cuban food, but a friend is about to travel there for a holiday so I can tell her to look out for this dish. I will also try it myself…. we can get vegan chorizo and bacon or ham herre! 😀 Not authentic, I know, but probably just as delicious! I will let you know how it went! Thanks for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      While it might not be authentic Cathy, I do know that your vegan version will still be delicious and that is what counts. Thank you and enjoy!

  21. Eha says:

    Tho’ Miami has never drawn me to its bosom I love the idea of the Caldo Gallega . . . .as a full, hearty, tasty meal and not the Opening Overture 🙂 !

  22. It does sound delish. I just made soup – mine was fennel, cannelini beans, sausage, etc, I need to find turnips!!

  23. Debra says:

    I just Pinned this recipe, Karen, and it really tempts me! We have several good Cuban restaurants I enjoy but there’s nothing like making these wonderful warm dishes at home and being able to enjoy without restriction! I’m “in” on this one, for sure. This would surely be so flavorful! I want the flan as well! 🙂

  24. Jane says:

    I’m ready to hop on a plane, Karen! Better yet, try this recipe that looks doable without the wonderful Cuban/Spanish setting!

    Thank you, my friend!

    • Karen says:

      I’m glad you like the recipe Jane, thank you. This soup is a good way to keep warm as you await the arrival of nicer weather in Chi town.

  25. This soup sounds nice but I’m not sure about turnips. I guess we have them but I just never notice if so. I think my mum may have cooked with them. :). Cheers sherry

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your compliment Sherry, I’m glad you like the recipe. You won’t miss the turnip at all if you leave it out as there is only one in the soup. My mother never cooked them but growing up I would order slow cooked chopped turnips and their greens at restaurants. They are a popular side dish in the southern part of the U.S.

  26. Perfect winter dinner soup. Sounds delicious. 🙂

  27. This soup looks delicious and hearty. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  28. I’m not familiar with caldo gallego, but this sounds like one delicious soup, Karen! I love the chorizo, bacon and smoked paprika in there. So many awesome flavors! I could definitely go for a bowl of this for lunch today. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi David, until I lived in Miami I had never heard of the soup either. Once I tried it, caldo gallego became one of my favorites. I do think you would enjoy the soup a lot.

  29. For the Love of Cooking says:

    It looks delicious!

  30. This looks like a perfect dish to serve this week for dinner!

  31. This looks really delicious, Karen. I may just try this when my son and family arrive just before Easter. It sounds like a meal on its own, with the crusty bread.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sylvia, Yes this is a nice meal all on its own. A crusty bread to soak up every last bit would be great. Thank you and I hope your family will enjoy it.

  32. Sissi says:

    It looks and sounds like a wonderful comforting winter soup. I have been recently eating more beans then ever and find myself really addicted. I haven’t made a bean soup for ages, so I should maybe give this one a go soon!

  33. Larry says:

    Looks very good Karen and healthy – I believe I would enjoy it

  34. How delicious! It seems that almost every nation has their own version of minestrone. The Brazilian version takes black beans.

  35. marcie@flavorthemoments says:

    I just love Spanish food — this soup looks just amazing!

  36. maria says:

    I love a good hearty soup and cannellini beans are one of my favorites! Pure comfort food in a bowl ♥ Thanks for sharing Karen!

  37. David says:

    What a delicious combination of flavors, Karen! I just returned from NYC where I went to Eataly and brought back a spicy sausage that I think will work beautifully in this!

  38. This sounds very delicious, Karen! My husband would love the chorizo in this and my favorite part would be the beans and greens 🙂

  39. aFrankAngle says:

    Looks wonderful and one that I would like … Just printed the recipe. 🙂

  40. I adore sausage in my soup—and this soup has sausage and so much more! It looks scrumptious!

  41. My Kitchen Stories says:

    That soup looks great Karen. Just the sort I like. I really wish I could say I was visiting but alass I am not.

  42. Monique says:

    I bet it’s delicious karen!

  43. grace says:

    i’m very much on a soup kick these days and this looks very tasty and satisfying!!

  44. Linda says:

    What a great soup. When it is cold outside, that is my go to food. Thanks for sharing your comforting soup recipe.

  45. What a delicious culinary departure from the norm! I have exceedingly limited experience with Cuban cuisine so I’m excited to learn more.

  46. nancyc says:

    Looks like we both have soup on our minds! 🙂 Yours looks so good!

  47. I Wilkerson says:

    What a delicious sounding meal! I am going to have to try this soup as soon as I stop eating local or find local beans (which I fear won’t be until summer)!

  48. I’ve never been to Miami before- must place it on my bucket list! This soup reminds me of the Spanish Fabada Asturiana, except with out the blood sausage- anything with bacon and white beans has got to be good!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Fran, I’ve not had the fava bean and blood sausage stew but you are right, I think it would have similar flavors. You would enjoy visiting the cosmopolitan city of Miami, lots to see and do.

  49. This looks so warm and wonderful Karen!! And for me, sort of nostalgic since we lived in Spain for 12 years and ate lots of stews with beans– love the chorizo and smoked paprika!! Wish we could have dropped in for dinner the night you came up with this! xo

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rhonda, I’m glad that this soup recipe brought back memories of your time living in Spain. I’m sure it was a wonderful experience. Head my way and I’ll happily share a dinner with you. 🙂

  50. Amira says:

    This looks really hearty, I prefer using dry beans, I always feel they are better but of course time consuming. Nice recipe.

  51. A wonderful array of ingredients .. I wouldn’t mind a bowl right now and I haven’t had breakfast yet 😄

  52. Karen says:

    Thank you for your compliment Julie, I’m glad you like the caldo gallego recipe.

  53. I am a huge bean lover this soups for me!

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