White Bean and Vegetable Soup
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Hearty white bean soup with onions, cabbage, tomatoes, celery, carrots, potato, squash, broth, and Parmesan cheese.
Photography Credit:Elise Bauer
Is it that time of year yet for hearty soups?
Maybe, maybe not.
In any case, this one is a family favorite, combining a potpourri of colorful vegetables with the creamy texture of white beans.
Want to make those beans from scratch? Here’s how to make them on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.
White Bean and Vegetable Soup Recipe
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine.
- 2 15-oz cans cannellini or white kidney beans (or 1/2 lb dried beans, soaked overnight in water), drained
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/8 head of green cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 5 cups (or more) vegetable stock
- 1 medium potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 head of red cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 zucchini or summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 Cook onions, with thyme and garlic: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes.
2 Add green cabbage, tomatoes, celery, and carrots. Sauté 10 minutes.
3 Add beans, 5 cups of stock, potatoes, and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour.
4 Add red cabbage and zucchini. Add salt. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes longer.
5 Serve: To serve, stir in the cheese. Sprinkle in a dash of Tabasco hot sauce if you want to give the soup a little zip.
Serve with ground pepper and bread.
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If you are looking for a comforting meal packed with protein, fiber and vegetables, this easy bean soup is perfect. It’s made with a light tomato broth and adapts to all seasons. Feel free to use any seasonal vegetables you have on hand. This soup is so good, you will want a batch in the freezer at all times.
This soup is perfect for busy nights. Here are a few reasons we love this bean soup recipe:
- It’s easy to make and tastes incredible.
- There’s no fancy ingredients and everything needed is affordable.
- You can use any variety of beans to make it — home cooked or canned. (If you want to cook dried beans, here’s our recipe for black beans or how we cook dried chickpeas).
- You can take advantage of seasonal ingredients. Add zucchini or tomatoes in the summer or use winter squashes during the winter months.
- It’s healthy, comforting, and vegan (when you use a vegan-friendly veggie broth).
- It keeps well! Leftover soup will last about three days in the refrigerator. Or you can freeze it up to a month, if not more!
How to make the best bean soup
Making our vegetable and white bean soup is simple, and it all happens in one pot! Here’s an overview of how to make it (the soup recipe is below).
- Sweat onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil and tomato paste. The tomato paste adds lots of flavor and color to the soup.
- Add more flavor with garlic, red pepper flakes and salt.
- Add stock, beans, fresh thyme and bay leaves.
- Simmer until the veggies are tender (about 20 minutes).
- Add small pasta and cook until done.
- Serve with a few lemon slices added to the pot.
We add lemon slices to our lentil soup, too. They are not intended to be eaten, but they do perfume the soup with the aroma and taste of lemon. We just love it!
What beans should I use?
We typically make this a white bean soup and use canned white beans to make it, but any cooked or canned bean will work in the soup. You can see how we cook black beans or chickpeas if you would like to cook the beans from scratch.
Lentils or split peas can be used, as well. When using lentils or split peas, there is no need to cook them before adding them to the soup. Simply add them along with the broth and cook until they are tender before adding the pasta. You might find that this adds an extra 10 minutes of cook time.
Can I make the soup creamy?
For a creamy bean soup, add a splash of cream, coconut milk or dairy-free milk to the soup just before serving. Or, remove 1 cup of the soup (with some veggies and beans), and then blend the cup of soup until smooth. Stir the blended cup of soup back into the pot to thicken the soup and add some creaminess.
More easy vegetarian recipes
- This soup is very similar to our Homemade Vegetable Soup.
- For a creamy blended soup, try our Creamy Vegetable Soup Recipe. It has lots of rave reviews.
- Our Lentil Soup with Lemon and Turmeric is hearty, nutritious, and delicious.
- Try our Black Bean Soup with vegetables and flavorful spices.
- For another popular bean recipe, try our Easy Bean Salad!
- Try our Easy Black Bean Burgers!
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the carrots and yellow squash and sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to boiling. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the beans and simmer for 5 minutes. Drizzle in the lemon juice. Season with the salt and pepper.
To serve, place a scant 1/4 cup of cooked farro in the bottom of each soup bowl. Ladle the soup over the farro. If desired, sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Healthy and Hearty White Bean and Vegetable Soup
How about something that is warming, hearty, and good for you on these nights that winter just does not want to relax its grip on many of us here in the United States?
First, the “good for you” part. We all know that the Mediterranean diet has been declared the healthiest diet for us now for three years in the row! Unlike other diets that are extremely restrictive, hard to follow, or, eliminate entire food groups, this is more of a way of living than a diet in a restrictive sense. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a focus on the foods that some of the world’s longest-living people ate for most of their lives. There is no surprise that the cornerstone of this lifestyle is seasonal ingredients, vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds.
So, we all know that vegetables are good for us but, how about beans? Beans, often underrated as a food group, are a true powerhouse of protein, fiber and nutrients. This delicious white bean and vegetable soup is an example of how satisfying a simple bowl of soup can be! How’s that for “warming and hearty”?
Even though this soup is loaded with vegetables that are so good for you, the real hero of the dish is the beans. For this recipe I used dry white beans, which I soaked overnight. This step makes a huge difference and results in a super creamy soup without the addition of any milk or cream. I used Italian kale, but Swiss chard would go well too. Leeks add a subtle sweetness, but you can substitute an onion instead. If tomatoes were in season, I would probably use fresh, but in the winter months a can of good tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes is just fine. My secret ingredient for this simple soup is a small chunk of Parmesan cheese rind. I store those rinds (or heels) in my freezer and use them for extra flavor when I make soup.
How to serve it and optional add-ons
This white bean and vegetable soup is the kind of soup that I could eat several times in a week. I serve it topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and, of course, some crusty bread on the side. I personally do not miss the meat in this soup, but if you wanted, you could add some crumbled cooked bacon or a small piece of smoked ham.
How to store this soup
The volume of this bean and vegetable soup might seem like a lot, but, I would still make the whole recipe, as you can store it in your refrigerator for 5-6 days and in the freezer for much longer. As you will see in the recipe that follows, it does take some time to cook this soup, however, most of that time that you can be doing something else and leave the soup alone, bubbling happily on your stove top. This soup is well worth the time and effort! Just think about the reward of hot, steaming bowls of a good-for-you soup waiting for you on a chilly evening!
This hearty vegetable soup is particularly easy to throw together. Chances are you probably already have all or most of the ingredients in your fridge or pantry already. But if you don’t there’s a handy shopping list at the bottom of this post for your convenience.
As with most soups, this one is easy to make your own. By that I mean that there is a lot of room for you to experiment and turn it into a soup full of your favorite veggies. If you aren’t a big fan of butternut, no biggie. Leave it out and use a different kind of squash or veggie. The kale is interchangeable with spinach, chard or even beet greens. We lovingly refer to this soup as “clean out the fridge” soup.
Bonus if you have leftovers from Sunday dinner you can turn those ingredients into a great soup to start the week. This soup is great on its own, ladled over hot rice or quinoa or with a big slice of homemade bread or a grilled cheese sandwich on the side.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, diced small
- 2 celery stalks, diced small
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and season with salt and pepper cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, and parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide soup among four bowls and serve with Parmesan.
How to make it
- Saute’ onion, carrot, celery in olive oil for 5 minutes
- Add beans, garlic, tomato paste, potatoes, rosemary and a pinch of salt and pepper
- Stir in the wine, toss well and simmer until it has evaporated
- Add vegetable broth, frozen spinach and cook until the potatoes are soft
- Taste and adjust the seasoning
This easy and budget-friendly white bean soup delivers a healthy and delicious midweek family meal in 20 minutes.
It’s vegan, gluten-free and packed with protein. Always keep a few cans of these handy and inexpensive pulses in your pantry, they are perfect for a last-minute meal.
ARE WHITE BEANS GOOD FOR YOU?
If you’re wondering if white beans are healthy and good for you, the answer is yes!
Cannellini beans are low on calories but loaded with minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Plus, these white beans are a terrific source of vegetarian protein and they’re highly filling, making them a very weight loss-friendly food.
Plus, if you enjoy this cannellini soup with some whole grain bread, you’ll get plenty of fiber!
Vegan White Bean Soup Ingredients
- White Beans – use navy, lima, cannellini. Great Northern beans. I used dried beans but you can use 3-4 cans of your favorite white beans or even chickpeas.
- Vegetable Broth – use an organic vegetable that’s also gluten-free. I love Swanson Organic Vegetable Broth.
- Onion and Galic – use fresh, frozen or even garlic powder to flavor your soup to taste.
- Potato, Carrot – you can substitute with other vegetables such as celery, sweet potato or zucchini.
- Spices, Herbs – marjoram, paprika, parsley flakes, thyme, allspice, cayenne, bay leaf – the perfect combination of spices for the most amazing flavor.
- Coconut Milk – gives soups an amazing flavor and richness.
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes – added for flavor but you can leave it out.
White bean and vegetable soup
As you may already know, the United Nations declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP) #IYP2016. This aims to create awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production.
Pulses are part of the legume family, but when we talk about pulses we refer only to the dried seed. Legumes are good sources of proteins, amino acids, fibre, iron, B group vitamins and other nutrients that help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.
Pulses are linked to a sustainable agriculture. Pulses crops increase farm biodiversity and create a more diverse landscape for animals and insects. And pulses have nitrogen-fixing properties that help improve soil fertility. By producing a smaller carbon footprint, pulses help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I am proud to be a contributor to the IYP of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations. A few of my pulses recipes have already been featured on the FAO website. If you are curious about my recipes’ contributions you can find out more by clicking on the “More” page that is accessible from the main menu.
Legumes are a staple of the Mediterranean diet and you can find plenty of vegetarian and vegan pulses recipes on my blog under the “Beans & other legumes” category.
The pulses recipe that I am sharing with you today is a white bean and vegetable soup that is very nutritious and hearty. This is the perfect soup to warm you up when the weather gets cooler!
If you try this tasty and healthy vegan Mediterranean diet recipe of white bean and vegetable soup please let me know, leave a comment and rate it. I would love to know what you come up with. Enjoy!
How To Make Vegan White Bean Soup?
- If you are using dried beans, prepare 8 oz of dried beans by sorting and washing.
- Soak in water to cover for 8 hours or overnight. The following day, drain and rinse beans and cook in water until tender.
- Place beans, water, onion, garlic, potato, carrot, marjoram, paprika, coconut milk, parsley, thyme, allspice, salt, cayenne pepper, bay leaf in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 30 minutes or until desired thickness is reached. Add yeast flakes, check the seasoning and serve immediately.
Beans are highly nutritious, very economical, and high in antioxidants. They come in over a thousand varieties with so many different flavors, shapes, and sizes. They are so versatile, they make a great alternative to meat protein in the diet.