Soup is hearty, nourishing, and satisfying
Hearty and nourishing, Italian white bean soup is what you need to sustain you through a long work day, when taking care of children or nursing a baby, to refuel after a workout, or frankly anytime you want a satisfying meal. This plant-based soup is chock full of vitamins and minerals that are easy for your body to assimilate because all of the vegetables, beans, and sea salt are cooked together in a broth. Bean soups generally reheat well, so make a double or triple batch so that you can store some in the freezer and thaw it out for last-minute weeknight meals. I always add some fresh greens like baby spinach or kale when reheating my soup on the stove. It adds freshness and color to what would otherwise be a boring leftover meal.
Homemade or canned beans?
You can sub 2 cans of white beans for the homemade beans in this recipe, but it will not be as delicious. Homemade beans are truly wonderful, more digestible (when soaked, drained, and cooked with kombu) and flavorful than canned, but you do have to plan ahead. I usually soak a big batch of beans every week or two, and cook them until soft and season with sea salt. If you use a pressure cooker, it cuts down on the cooking time. I freeze whatever I’m not going to use in the next few days in quart-sized freezer bags. When it comes time to make a soup I thaw out a bag of beans instead of having to start from scratch. More detailed instructions on how to make beans from scratch are in my posts Homemade Black Beans and Macrobiotic-style Giant Peruvian Lima Beans.
Fresh ingredients are the key to a delicious soup
Choose ingredients that are fresh and full of life. If celery or carrots have gone limp, you can perk them up by cutting a little slice off the bottom of each vegetable and stand up in a quart-sized mason jar filled halfway with water. Within 30-60 minutes your vegetables should be rehydrated and ready to use. The last few years I’ve been growing fresh herbs in pots on my back porch. You can even put a little planter in a sunny windowsill if you don’t have a yard or porch to garden in. It’s amazing how much more delicious herbs are when picked right before you use them.
Learn how to prep veggies with skill and ease with my knife skills cooking video
Once you have a few knife skills under your belt it is so easy to whip together a big pot of soup. Check out my latest cooking video on how to slice and dice veggies for this soup here. In the video I show how to dice an onion into perfectly even pieces, how to slice a zucchini into half or quarter moons, how to dice carrots, and how to slice celery on the bias.
- 1 cup dried organic white beans (cannellini, navy, or giant white lima)
- kombu, 1” square
- spring or filtered water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 small yellow onion or sweet onion, diced
- pinch unrefined sea salt
- 1 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced in diagonals
- 1 zucchini, sliced in quarter moons
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 4 cups water or vegetable stock (Imagine brand no-chicken vegetable stock
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- sea salt, to taste
- Sort, rinse, and soak the beans in spring or filtered water overnight. When beans are rehydrated, discard the bean soaking water.
- In medium pot, add beans and enough water to cover beans by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Skim foam and add kombu. Cover, turn to low, and simmer until beans are tender. Season with sea salt and set aside. Alternatively, pressure cook white beans instead of boiling after skimming foam and adding kombu. Once beans are up to pressure with lid locked, turn to low and cook for about 15 minutes. Then turn off heat and let come down from pressure naturally before opening up pot.
- In medium-sized soup pot, sauté onion with a pinch of sea salt in olive oil until soft.
- Add carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, and rosemary, and cook a few minutes more.
- Add cooked beans and water or stock. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until flavors are blended.
- Add basil and season with more sea salt, if needed.
- Garnish with fresh parsley or other seasonal herbs and serve warm.
- Garnish with pieces of pan-fried dulse instead of parsley.
- When reheating, add a handful of baby spinach or kale.
- Make a large batch and freeze half to warm up later.
- Use chicken stock or chicken bone broth in place of the vegetable stock.
- Add 1 cup cooked shredded chicken for a heartier soup.
Watch these videos I made with Dr. Jonathan Schultz of Family First Chiropractic (Austin, TX) on making Italian White Bean Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil:
Related recipes on my blog:
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