Vegan Italian white bean soup is a simple yet super satisfying recipe that's bursting with nutrients and flavour. Make a pot of this comfort vegan soup with beans and serve it with some crusty bread for a delicious meal everyone will love.
This Italian white bean soup is hearty, flavourful, and budget-friendly, not to mention super easy to make. The ingredients are very simple ones, and I love that I almost always have everything I need to make it on hand.
It's a soup that's very similar to ribollita, but without the bread and Parmesan. This is a highly versatile recipe, as you can choose to add some other veggies if you want. Celery stalks, courgettes, and whole peeled tomatoes are just some ideas.
What ingredients do you need?
Onions, carrots, and garlic — this is the base of the cannellini bean soup, and it's essential what gives it flavour. You can also add some chopped celery stalks at this point. I like to use fresh garlic that I mince myself for the best flavour, but you can substitute it with frozen garlic if you want.
White beans —I use canned white beans to make this Italian bean soup to save time. I almost exclusively use cannellini beans for soups like this, but you can use any kind of white beans you want. If you want to start with dry white beans, remember to soak them overnight and boil them for 30 to 45 minutes until tender before using them in this recipe.
Rosemary — fresh rosemary works best in this recipe because it releases a wonderful flavour when you cook it with the onion, garlic, and the rest of the veggies. If you don't have fresh rosemary on hand, you can use 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary instead. You can also add some extra herbs if you want, such as fresh thyme and parsley.
Lemon — this is a bean soup that really benefits from the addition of lemon. I use the zest and juice of one large lemon, but you can adjust the quantities to your liking.
Cavolo nero — also called lacinato kale, cavolo nero is a leafy green vegetable originating from Tuscany. It's a super versatile ingredient, and you can think of it as kale's more robust and flavourful cousin. You can substitute it with other greens in this recipe, such as regular kale or collard greens.
How do you make this Italian white bean soup?
This is one of the easiest soups you'll ever make, and the flavour really doesn't match the amount of effort you're putting in.
- You start by frying the onion and garlic with the rest of the vegetables you're using.
- Next, add the stock and beans and leave them to simmer for just 10-12 minutes.
- Now it's the time to decide how thick you want the bean soup to be. If you want it to have a thicker consistency, use the back of your spoon or a potato masher to crush some of the beans. Alternatively, you can leave them whole, but the soup won't be as thick.
- Next, add the lemon juice and zest and the shredded cavolo nero to the pot and simmer for a couple of minutes until it wilts.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt if needed (you may not need extra salt if you used regular stock and not the low-sodium kind).
Recipe notes and tips
- The soup will become more creamy and thick as it cools down, so let it sit for a while before serving if you can.
- This vegan white bean soup freezes well for up to three months. Make a big batch, allow it to cool, and freeze it in individual containers for easy thawing and reheating.
- If you want the Italian kale soup to be naturally thicker, stir it as it simmers. The cannellini beans are already tender, so they will make the soup thicker even if you don't break them down intentionally.
- You can also transform this bean soup into pasta e fagioli by adding 100 g (1cup) small pasta. If you do that, make sure you increase the amount of stock because the pasta will absorb a lot of it. About 500 ml (2 cups ) more should be enough.
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