When it's cold outside, I love a big bowl for hearty white bean vegetable soup for dinner, served with crusty bread. Soups are easy to pull together, make a ton, and are a very comforting way to end the day. Plus, and this is a big plus, it's something everyone in the family seems to enjoy—it's another way to fill your kids' bellies with veggies.
White bean soup is a delicious and nutritious dish that is enjoyed all around the world. Made with white beans, vegetables, and seasonings, this soup is not only satisfying but also packed with health benefits.
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! We lovingly refer to this soup as "clean out the fridge" soup.
White bean is high in fiber, protein, and essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and folate. It is a great choice for vegetarians and vegans who are looking to boost their protein intake. Additionally, the high fiber content in white bean soup can help promote digestive health and lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Butternut squash has all the vitamin A you need in a day, in addition to good amounts of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This makes it great for immunity, eyesight, and blood pressure, and since it's 87% water, butternut squash will help you hydrate.
Soften the onion in oil, then add carrots, celery, leeks and finally garlic.
Add the tomato paste, followed by the beans, liquids, herbs and squash. Simmer until the butternut squash is tender.
Add kale and let cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Adjust salt and pepper and serve hot with bread. This recipe yields a large pot of soup, so you can enjoy leftovers throughout the week.
Hint: We used canned beans for this recipe. If using dry beans, you will need to increase cooking time accordingly (soak beans overnight and cook for approximately 6 hours).
- If you aren't a big fan of butternut, no biggie. Leave it out and use a different kind of squash or even potatoes or sweet potatoes.
- The kale is interchangeable with spinach, chard or even beet greens.
- Tomato paste is used to thicken the soup, but you can skip it if you don't have it at hand.
Variation: Cannellini Bean Soup
One of our favorite variations is made with cannellini beans. I've included parmesan cheese; vegans can obviously omit or substitute the parmesan cheese.
- 2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 3-5 cups of vegetable broth (depending on how thick you want the soup to be)
- 3-6 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3-6 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons of tomato paste
- 1-2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-3 cups of frozen spinach
- 2-3 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes in the olive oil or until the vegetables are softened. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste, fresh rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the drained and rinsed cannellini beans to the pot, along with 3-5 cups of vegetable broth (depending on how thick you want the soup to be). You can use ready or homemade vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a simmer and let it cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until it's mostly smooth but still has some texture. Stir in the frozen spinach and let it cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until heated through. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.
- Serve the soup hot, topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve with crusty bread.
Store this soup in the fridge for up to four days. Leftovers can also be frozen for a longer period of time and make a great option for meal prep. To prevent freezer burn, consume within 2-3 months.
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.
Bean soup is especially high in dietary fiber, which is a crucial part of a healthy diet, aiding digestion, promoting a healthy gut and helping regulate blood levels. The soup is also low in calories and filling, vegan, and gluten-free, making it a good option for a variety of diets.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Hearty White Bean Vegetable Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 1 large leek sliced into ½″ rings, washed well to remove any sand and drained in a colander
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups cooked white beans rinsed (one 15 ounce can or homemade from dry beans)
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 6-8 cups vegetable or chicken broth or water
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups diced butternut squash
- 4-5 kale leaves ribs removed, roughly chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions starts to soften. Add the carrots, celery, and leeks. Continue cooking, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, being careful not to let it burn.
- Next add the tomato paste and stir well. Let cook for 30 seconds then add beans, diced tomatoes, broth, thyme, and butternut squash. Add salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste. (It might not need much salt if the broth is salted.) Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
- Add the chopped kale and let cook for another 5-10 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Ladle into bowls and serve hot with warm rolls or bread on the side.