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cannellini bean soup recipe

Cannellini Bean Soup is one of my all time favorite Italian soups and I know it will be yours too.  Trust me on this, it’s easy and simple and uses basic ingredients and delivers an amazingly delicious and satisfying meal!

Not only is it easy, but it’s also healthy, makes for great leftovers to take to work for your lunch!  It will have people at work asking what smells so good… trust me on this too.

That’s one of the things I love about Italian recipes, at least the ones that I post about, is that you don’t have to deal with a long list of ingredients that most of us don’t have.

Simple Soup Ingredients

This recipe only uses 8 ingredients, of which onions, garlic and olive oil are considered a staple.  If you enjoy Italian cooking, add the cheese as a staple too.  Nothing crazy, just super simple.

  • cannellini beans
  • onions
  • garlic cloves
  • chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 bunch of leafy lettuce such as escarole
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • grated romano cheese
  • dry white wine (optional)

Lettuce in the Soup??

Yes, this soup actually uses lettuce!  Using leafy green lettuce provides the best texture for the soup.  I mentioned escarole because escarole is actually slightly bitter and adds a nice complementary flavor to the soup. 

I’ve tried using regular romaine hearts however those are too crunchy with the hard middle stem. 

I’ve also tried using spring salad mixes that you buy in the store and while it can work as a substitute, I find it’s too many different types of lettuce and makes the soup too “mangled” in flavors.  This is my opinion.   

Simplicity is better in this case.  

Using Chicken Broth vs. Veggie Broth for the Soup base

Some soups you can get by without using chicken broth – even using water.  Tomato based soups are good example like pasta fagioli or my minestrone soup recipe are examples because the veggies that are sauteed and cooked create their own vegetable broth basically.   

However with this recipe the fullness of a good chicken broth adds a lot to the flavor and robustness of the soup itself.  I personally make my own chicken broth by saving the broth from when I pressure cook my chicken (check out my review on the Fagor 3-in-1 electric cooker if you’d like).    

Store bought broth can vary greatly from brand to brand due to the herbs that they use in the stock.  

Why Do I Use Cannellini Beans?

Cannellini beans are often called white beans and I’m not fully certain if they are one and the same.  However I can tell you that these beans blend really smooth, almost creamy in texture.   

You can certainly use other beans for this soup, but it will change the flavor.   So do so at your own risk! 

Also with cannellini beans regarding flavor, their flavor is subtle.   Not like pinto or kidney beans.   So this makes it a suitable choice for this type of Italian soup recipe that inevitably uses Italian cheese (ideally Romano) as a strategic ingredient.  

What to Serve with Cannellini Bean Soup

This beautiful Italian soup goes great with toasted Italian or other artisan bread, just use a toaster oven if you don’t need to toast a lot of slices.   To turn it into a larger meal, serve with a nice green salad, and even some pasta.

Cannellini beans are very healthy for you and are a great source of fiber.  For such a good tasting soup, it’s amazing it can be healthy too.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Watch my video below.

Recipe for Cannellini Bean Soup

Simple Italian recipe for Cannellini bean soup. Enjoy!
Course Lunch, Main Dish, Soups
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cans cannellini beans rinse them
  • 2 chopped medium onions
  • 5-8 crushed garlic cloves don't dice as this would make it overpowering
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie broth (water down if concerned with sodium)
  • 1 bunch head of leafy grean lettuce escarole is a great choice!
  • 3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine optional
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese or other grated Italian cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large sauce pan saute the onions with 3 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Add in crushed garlic and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add cannellini beans and broth.
  4. Cook until all beans are tender - mash down some of the beans to add some creaminess to the soup.
  5. Add greens and cook down for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add in 1/4 cup dry white wine and half the cheese. Stir.
  7. Cook another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve in bowls and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Recipe Notes

TIP #1: If you do not want to use the lettuce, you can omit it. However, the flavor of a slightly bitter lettuce like escarole is perfect for the soup. It doesn't make the soup bitter at all, it's just a great merging of flavors.
TIP #2: The soup is best a bit creamy, so make sure to mash those beans down.
TIP #3: The wine rounds out the flavor of the soup. Make sure it is a dry wine. I buy a cheap white wine and that works great.
TIP #4:  Serve with nice bread on the side

Kitchenware, Gadgets, and Tools Recommended for Use in this Recipe:

 

How to Make Cannellini Bean Soup