Grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes, for serving, OPTIONAL
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil to a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat. Add carrots, leeks, celery, and onion, and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant.
Pour in broth, beans, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and nestle in the ham hocks. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so.
Just before serving, remove ham hocks and let cool slightly then cut the meat off the bones and discard the bones. Stir chopped ham and kale into the soup and cook on low until kale is wilted.