I was first introduced to white bean soup at Dean & Deluca in Soho, during a fun weekend trip to NYC with my mom. As with most products in that pristine, marble-clad food emporium, we were instantly smitten. No other white bean soup has lived up since, as most are either too bland or too bitter (from leafy green overload).
I’ve been wanting to try my own hand at this Tuscan classic, and the recent surge of snowstorms here in Boston proved to be just the perfect atmosphere to experiment with soup making. Canned beans make this an easy weeknight meal to throw together, which is not something you’ll often hear from me. I’m a weekend chef, but a weeknight microwaver. Leftovers are my favorite food group.
Reminiscent of potato soup, this hearty dish is the perfect meal to satisfy during these blustery, cold winter days. At the bottom of this post I also included a simple recipe for whole wheat croutons, as crusty bread is the ideal accompaniment (taste-wise and nutrition-wise) to bean soups.
White Bean Soup
Serves 6 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 leek (white and light green parts only), sliced
- 3 15-oz cans cannellini beans (or other white bean), rinsed and drained
- 4 cups (32 oz) low sodium vegetable broth (more if you prefer a thinner, lighter soup)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach, thinly sliced (see tutorial here)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Optional: sliced green onions, whole wheat croutons (crouton recipe below)
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and leeks and stir until onions are translucent, about 6-10 minutes.
- Add white beans and broth to the pot, and bring to a simmer.
- While your soup is heating up, use an immersion blender to puree the soup into a creamy texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can still enjoy the soup in its more rustic style, with whole beans. Alternatively, you can also let the soup cool, then transfer to a food processor or blender for pureeing. (Also, note that the 4 cups of broth makes this soup very thick and hearty. If you prefer a thinner, lighter soup, add more broth.)
- Stir the parmesan cheese into the soup. Then taste soup and adjust seasonings (salt & pepper) as necessary.
- Stir the spinach into the soup until just wilted, about 3-5 minutes.
- Spoon into individual bowls, and serve with optional toppings, such as sliced green onions or whole wheat croutons. If you don’t have croutons (see recipe below), serve alongside a hearty slice of whole grain toast.
How to Make Whole Wheat Croutons: Cut a slice of whole wheat sandwich bread into small (about 1/4 – 1/2 inch) cubes. Toss bread cubes with a light coating of olive oil (I used olive oil spray), then bake on a baking sheet at 350 degrees F for about 7 minutes.
Nutrition per serving: 260 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 42g carbohydrates (16g fiber, 3g sugar), 13g protein, 180mg sodium, 29% Vitamin A, 11% Vitamin C, 22% Iron, 16% Calcium
*Nutrition does not include optional ingredients