This simple blended soup of creamy white beans, broth, and herbs makes for a delicious, cozy meal on a chilly day. This white bean soup recipe is both deeply nourishing and easy to make. You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now.
When cold weather hits, you might crave a big pot of soup. This hearty soup recipe is a great option. It has notes of rosemary and sage and is touched with just the right amount of garlic for a comforting soup that’s both easy to make and nutritious.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Aside from a few fresh herbs, you’ll probably find most of the ingredients in your pantry.
- Beans are super-affordable, making this a wholesome (and budget-friendly) dinner.
- It’s nutritious. White beans are loaded with fiber, while gelatin-rich broth gives the soup a good boost of protein.
- It’s a great option for your weekly meal prep, and it packs easily in a thermos for weekday lunches.
- White beans are the foundation of the dish. We favor cannellini beans, which are also known as white kidney beans, for their creamy texture and good flavor. Using canned beans speeds up the cooking process, but you can also use dried beans.
- Broth gives the soup both flavor and its liquid component. Homemade chicken broth is a clear win, but store-bought chicken stock or vegetable broth works in a pinch. If you have a good bone broth recipe that you love, you can use that also. The plentiful gelatin will give the soup a healthy dose of protein.
- Extra virgin olive oil lends a little flavor and plenty of healthy fats.
- Fresh vegetables include shallots, fresh garlic, and celery. Together, they lend a savory, vegetal element to the soup, bringing flavor and balance to the white beans.
- Bacon gives the soup a salty-smoky quality. If you can find it, guanciale or pancetta is an excellent substitute for bacon in this soup recipe.
- Fresh herbs include rosemary, bay leaf, and sage. There’s not much flavor to white beans, and their earthy, creamy qualities benefit from the lift that fresh herbs provide.
- Other additions include crushed red pepper flakes for flavor and white wine, which adds a touch of acidity.
- Rinse your bean well before adding them to the pot. Rinsing improves both their flavor and digestibility.
- Chop your vegetables into small, uniform pieces. They’ll cook more evenly, which improves the soup’s texture and flavor.
- If you have a leftover parmesan rind, tuck it into the soup pot. It’ll lend a lovely, savory element to the soup. Remove it at the same time you remove the bay leaf and rosemary from the pot.
- Use homemade broth. With so few ingredients, each one has to shine, and homemade chicken broth tastes much better than store-bought.
- You’ll purée the half of the soup in the final step and leave the other half un-blended. This results in a super creamy soup with a good texture from the beans that you didn’t blend. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can mash some of the beans with a potato masher or blend part of the soup in an upright blender.
Serve this creamy white bean soup with a hunk of crusty bread. We’re partial to this no-knead sourdough bread, which is easy to make and nutritious. If you don’t want to make bread, you can also serve the soup with homemade croutons or even homemade crackers.
Since the soup is starchy, it’s a good idea to serve a light salad with the meal, too. The greens and vegetables will lighten up the meal, and the acidity from any dressing or vinaigrette will bring balance to the earthy, starchy qualities of the soup.
In spring, we favor this Dandelion Salad recipe, which has a garlicky vinaigrette. You can also try it with an herb salad. A radicchio salad is a nice choice for autumn, while this cherry tomato salad works well in the summer months when tomatoes are at their peak.
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Variations + Substitutions
To make the recipe using dry beans, soak 1 cup of dry white beans in a large bowl of hot water. Add a pinch of baking soda and salt to the overnight soak. The next day, drain and rinse the beans and then cook them until tender – about 40 minutes on the stove or 9 minutes in an electric pressure cooker.
Add fresh greens to the soup at the very end of cooking. We’re partial to Tuscan kale, as in this white bean and kale soup recipe. But you can also add baby spinach or chopped collard greens.
For more protein, consider adding hot Italian sausage. Remove it from the casing and brown it in a little olive oil before adding the aromatics to the soup pot.
Chopped leftover ham is a great substitute for the bacon in this recipe.
If you need a version without wine, consider substituting additional broth and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Use dried herbs instead of fresh herbs, although they’re less aromatic. Use 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 2 dried bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons dried sage. Alternatively, you can use 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning.
Love this recipe? Try these bean soups, too.
What type of white bean should I use?
We favor cannellini beans in this recipe. They’re a Tuscan bean common in Northern Italian cooking. But a variety of white beans work in this recipe, too. You could try it with Great Northern beans, navy beans, or even Royal Corona beans.
How do I store it?
Store the leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat the soup, pour it into a saucepan and warm it over medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 165 F.
Can I freeze it?
Yes. White bean soup freezes well. Just let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container (allowing at least 2 inches of headspace) and freeze for up to 6 months.
To reheat the soup, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, pour it into a saucepan and warm it over medium-low heat until it reaches 165 F.
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