Soups, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Portuguese Caldo Verde.

Like so many, this is a dish born of necessity: when the cupboard is bare, cook something wonderful with whatever you’ve got.  In this case, cabbage and potatoes.

And in so doing, make something that transcends all expectations.

There are recipes that just live on and on.  Passed down through the generations.  They are changed, adapted, and personalised as they go.  But essentially, they remain the same.

Caldo Verde’ translates as ‘green broth’.  It is in origin, Portuguese, although I’m sure other versions will be found, wherever you can grow cabbage and potatoes.

The traditional Portuguese dish is often flavoured with chorizo sausage  and/or chicken stock….. which is obviously outside my remit.

So this is my cruelty-free recipe for Caldo Verde with an entirely optional extra of marinaded hot-spice fried tempeh.

It’s my third attempt to get this dish ‘right’ for me, and I have done a fair amount of investigation of the history of it too.

The first one I used the wrong greens….and the second one was too thin.  Along the way I learnt that the flavours should be simple and straightforward.  There should be no messing with the simplicity of this dish.

I also read an interesting article about the type of cabbage that would be used.  A lot of recipes use Kale.  This one said use a hard green cabbage.  I followed this suggestion as it seemed to come from an authentic source.

( I did try it with Kale, but I far prefer the hard green cabbage….)

To flavour the dish I’ve used vegetable stock, with the addition of sticks of peppery celery.  I used Bay Leaves….Olive Oil…good quality Salt …and ground Black Pepper.

As is so often the case, less is more.


On a good day, Caldo Verde might be  supplemented with a few slices of fried Chorizo, so I have added, as a completely  optional extra, a few chunks of harissa/chipotle marinaded sautéed tempeh.

But, to be honest…Caldo Verde doesn’t need the distraction..

It’s too good as it is….


For 4


Caldo Verde:

  • I kg. floury potatoes
  • 3tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 L strong vegetable stock
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1-2 tsps. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • approx. 500gms. cabbage – a hard green variety –


  • 110gms. tempeh
  • 1.5 tsps. chipotle paste
  • 1.5 tsps. harissa paste
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 tsp.maple syrup
  • 1 tbs. tamari/soy sauce
  • 50ml. water

Paprika oil:

  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsps. smoked paprika powder



how to prepare tempeh: (click image)
  • 2 tbs. olive oil.
  • Prepare tempeh, by ‘relaxing'( click image link) and slice into squares about 2 cm.
  • Mix marinade ingredients together thoroughly.
  • Lay tempeh out in dish and cover with marinade.
  • Turn tempeh occasionally to absorb marinade.
  • Leave in marinade for as long as possible…..

Caldo Verde:

  • Roughly chop onion.
  • Peel, wash and chop potatoes into large chunks ( 4-5 cm. )
  • Peel and roughly chop garlic.
  • Wash celery sticks and cut in half.
  • Wash cabbage and finely slice into very thin ribbons.  Remove toughest stalks.
  • In a deep-sided pan, add 3 tbs. oil, heat med-high.
  • Add bay leaves and celery sticks.  Sauté 2 mins.
  • Add onions. Sauté 3mins.
  • Add chopped garlic.  Saute 1 min.
  • Add chopped potatoes.  Saute 2 mins.
  • Add 1L hot stock.
  • Add 1 tsp. salt + 1 tsp. ground black pepper.
  • Bring to gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook until potatoes are tender: approx. 30-40 mins.
  • When potatoes are tender, remove from heat and allow to cool a little.
  • Remove celery sticks and bay leaves.
  • Place stock and potatoes in food processor and blitz until smooth.
  • Return puree to pan.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Add washed sliced cabbage.
  • Cover and simmer 15-20 mins, until cabbage in tender.
  • 5 mins before serving, taste, and adjust seasonings. (I added 1 tsp. salt+ a little more coarse ground pepper).

10 mins. before serving: sauté tempeh

  • In a wide pan, on a high heat,add 2 tbs.oil.
  • Place tempeh in pan. Saute 3-4 mins.
  • Turn tempeh over and add marinade juices.  Sauté further 3-4 mins.

Paprika oil:

  • Mix oil and paprika together.


Serve…. as is….with paprika oil…possibly sautéed spiced tempeh…and even with Portuguese Semolina Bread ( … but that’s for another blog)…





tempeh marinaded in harissa and chipotle – sautéed






1 thought on “Portuguese Caldo Verde.”

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