What's better than a bowl of hearty, comforting, delicious soup on a cold day?! Almost nothing, except maybe a hot chocolate or hot toddy 😜 This Italian vegetable white bean soup is simple, yet extremely flavorful. And it just feels good in your belly on a cold, fall or winter's night.
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WHY WE ❤️ THIS WHITE BEAN SOUP
Oh, Italian vegetable white bean soup, how do I love you? Let me count the ways....
- Easy to make. No complicated steps.
- One pot is all you need (plus a Vitamix/blender).
- Ingredients are simple, inexpensive and accessible.
- Vegetarian & gluten free!
- Super customizable! Make it vegan, make it meaty, or just use different veggies.
Most importantly...this soup is sooo good. My kids loved it, and I ate it all week without getting tired of it! I think I developed an addiction!
WHAT ARE CANNELLINI BEANS ANYWAY?
Cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans) are a common white bean, originating in Italy, but now grown all over. Of all the white beans (including Great Northern beans and navy beans), cannellini beans are the largest in size and most popular. You can buy them dried or canned, but this recipe calls for canned.
ARE WHITE BEANS HEALTHY?
White beans are packed with all the good stuff for your body! Namely, protein, fiber, iron and antioxidants. Also, eating white beans may help with digestion and maintaining a healthy body weight. With all these nutritional benefits, you can feel good feeding this white bean soup to yourself and your family!
Note: You can find all of these ingredients easily at the store, for fairly cheap. And you might already have some in your pantry.
Beans: any white bean is fine (cannellini/white kidney, Great Northern or navy beans)
Veggies: go with what you like! This soup is very flexible. Frozen, canned...it doesn't matter. Just make sure, if you add in a harder veggie, that you allow enough time to soften.
Vinegar: An amazing tip I learned from The Food Lab, J. Kenji López-Alt, is to add something acidic to the soup at the very end of cooking (p.204). This was the missing link for me! Sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar and lemon juice all work.
Vegetable base: I'm totally not getting paid by the company, but I can't help but always suggest my fave Better than Bouillon brand for broth/stock. It's condensed so it goes a long way, takes up very little space in the fridge, and is better for the environment (less bulky, recyclable). Pro-tip: buy the low-sodium version if available.
HOW TO MAKE ITALIAN WHITE BEAN SOUP
STEP 1: COOK ONION & GARLIC
🥄 Kids Step: These awesome kids' knives are great for cutting the onion. If your kids wear swim goggles, the onion won't make their eyes tear up. Plus, it's fun!
STEP 2: ADD BROTH, VEGGIES, & SEASONINGS. BRING TO BOIL.
🥄 Kids Step: Pull out all your cups and spoons and let your kids do the measuring. It will be messy, but kids really like this task!
STEP 3: ADD BEANS & SIMMER.
STEP 4: PUREE 3 SCOOPS OF THE SOUP AND POUR INTO POT.
🥄 Kids Step: Trust your kid to use the blender. Even if it's just pushing the buttons, they will feel very involved and accomplished.
STEP 5: STIR IN SPINACH & VINEGAR.
🥄 Kids Step: More measuring! They just need their hands for the spinach and a teaspoon for the vinegar. Point out how fast the spinach cooks down. It's pretty cool.
AND TOP WITH CHEESE! 🧀🧀🧀🧀
🥄 Kids Step: As long as they don't eat all the cheese in the process (haha), your kids can sprinkle the shredded parmesan on top of all the soup bowls. Easy job. Yummy reward.
OTHER SOUPS TO TRY
Here at Platein28, we love soup! Check out our all-stars:
If you see a can of "white kidney beans," that's the same as cannellini beans. If you can't find either, Great Northern beans or navy beans will work just fine.
We like the puree method, which I discovered from my always go-to book, The Food Lab, by J. Kenji López-Alt. You just take a couple scoops of the soup out of the pot, puree it in a Vitamix or blender, and then stir it back into the soup (p.203). Other thickening techniques: (1) Run an immersion blender briefly in the soup. (2) Mash some of the beans against the side of the pot. (3) Add potatoes. (4) Add cream or a non-dairy milk towards the end of cooking.
-Garlic bread!!! Pepperidge Farm Garlic Bread is my forever favorite. Just make sure you pre-heat your oven as you start to cook.
-Simple buttered toast, Texas toast, Pillsbury Crescents, or Pillsbury Grands
-Oyster crackers on top of the soup
-Any easily steamed veggie (broccoli, green beans, etc.)
-One of our Potatoes Four Ways Recipes (especially the Potato, Kale & Pancetta Mash)!
This white bean soup is already vegetarian. To make it vegan, just eliminate the cheese and add in a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Also, double check that your broth or vegetable base is vegan.
The soup reheats really well. Keep in fridge for around 4 days. Or freeze in 2 serving-size bags for the future.
HOW TO CUSTOMIZE THE SOUP
🍲 Make it vegan and dairy free! Eliminate the cheese and add in a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
🍲 Make it meaty! The vegetable base can be switched out with chicken or beef base, and you can easily add in sausage or bacon.
🍲 Change the veggies! Almost any veggie will work in this soup. Add in whatever you like or use up the veggies in your fridge. Good options that I didn't include: celery, zucchini, cabbage, kale, fennel, potatoes & cauliflower. And note - it's okay to use canned or frozen veggies.
TIPS TO MODIFY THE SOUP FOR PICKY EATERS
🍲Kids pick the veggies! Most veggies will work in this soup, so long as they don't take an epic amount of time to cook. Softer veggies work best.
🍲Ice cubes to the rescue! My kids are always overly dramatic about food being too hot. Lol. If your kids are the same, let them drop 1-2 ice cubes in the soup and stir them around.
🍲Side dish is key! The garlic bread really eased my kids into eating the soup. I highly recommend a bread-y side.
FUN CRAFT FOR THIS SOUP 💀
HALLOWEEN SKELETON VEGGIE TRAY!
While you're making our Italian soup, your kids can get creative. Use raw veggies to make this spooky skeleton or an adorable veggie monster! This Skeleton Veggie Tray doubles as a craft and a healthy snack, so win-win. All you need are vegetables, some toothpicks, and maybe a knife.
Italian Vegetable White Bean Soup
- Vitamix or blender
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 16 oz chopped tomatoes, canned (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped)
- 16 oz bag of frozen veggie mix (i.e. carrots, corn, peas, green beans, lima beans)
- 1 t Italian seasoning
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 45 oz cannellini beans, canned with the liquid (3 x 15oz cans)
- 3 handfuls spinach
- 1 t sherry vinegar
- 1+ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil in large pot on low-medium. Once heated, add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 mins, stirring frequently.
- Add broth, tomatoes, frozen veggies, and seasonings. Bring to boil.
- Once boiling, turn heat to low, add beans, and simmer for 3 mins.
- Scoop 3 cups of the soup from the pot and put in blender/Vitamix. Blend until pureed (like 15 seconds), return the puree to the soup and stir.
- Add in spinach and sherry vinegar. Cook until spinach has shrunk down (less than 1 minute). Remove from heat. Serve in bowls, with shredded parmesan on top.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. While we are not certified nutritionists, we work with a WordPress-integrated nutrition API to calculate our recipes' ingredient values.