Food

Cozy White Bean Soup

White bean soup

Since March, I’ve spent more time than ever at home, and I’ve noticed something…

Instinctively, I’ve been trying to insert a certain warm coziness into every corner of the house. We have way more fires in the fireplace than we used to; I’ve been hoarding those soft fuzzy blankets you can get for a steal at Home Goods; and the string lights over the back windows, usually alight only for special occasions, seem to be illuminated all day long.

And then there’s lunch. Typically, on work days, I’m all about the quick-and-easy: Canned tuna or smashed avocado on Finn Crisps, PB&J on good bread, hummus with anything. These days, though, I am craving warm soup on the most primal level — specifically this creamy, healthy white bean soup that comes together in under 20 minutes. (Bonus: It calls for the frying of onions, always the fastest way to infuse a house with comfort.) This recipe makes two large bowls (and three medium bowls) but it easily doubles, and if you add some crusty bread and maybe a green salad, it’s the beginning of an easy warm-your-bones dinner, too.

Cozy White Bean Soup
Serves 2

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of dried red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups cooked white beans (2 15-ounce cans), such as cannellini, navy, or Great Northern, rinsed and drained
2 1/2 to 3 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, or bean broth if you made your own beans)
2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar

Suggested toppings: Grated Parmesan, pesto, toasted bread crumbs or croutons, chopped broiled scallions

In a medium pot set over medium-low heat, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the onions are golden and slightly caramelized, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Add the beans and just enough stock to cover. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to an aggressive simmer until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and, using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup. Stir in vinegar and serve in shallow bowls with desired toppings.  Drizzle with more olive oil just before eating.

P.S. What food geniuses eat for lunch and readers share their cozy corners.

  1. We made this with cannellini beans, red wine and topped with some store bought croutons. It was a perfect chilly day lunch.

  2. Piper says...

    Just made this and added the 2T of red wine + 1 T of white balsamic. The pesto add + breadcrumbs made it so so yummy.

  3. janine says...

    I recently received two books of soup recipes from Amazon… only I didn’t order them. I got in touch with customer service and they told me to keep them. As one of my friends said, “When the universe sends you soup recipes, make soup.” :) So I’ve been making a lot of soup!

  4. Amanda says...

    After seeing this post yesterday I was inspired – I followed your recipe but sautéed cauliflower with the onions (constantly sneaking in extra veggies for my 1 year old) and added some crumbled Italian sausage post-puree. YUM! Paired with super simple kale salad and baguette, it was a perfect easy winter dinner – and toddler-approved! :)

  5. Lynea says...

    Just made this, it was great! Topped with crispy fried onions leftover from Thanksgiving.

  6. Marta says...

    Hi! It sound awesome! I am from Barcelona but my dad is from the north of Spain, when it’s usually colder, and bean stews are almost and everyday choice at any restaurant/home. My favorite is a special kind of bean called “verdina”, usually cooked with shellfish and/or white fish, and with a base of tomato/onion and apple cider! One would think beans and fish don’t match, but they do!!
    My question: I don’t really like vinegar, what could fit on top that’s not vinegar? Thanks!

    • Pailey says...

      Hi Marta, the verdina soup you wrote about sounds delicious, I’ll have to try making that sometime soon!

      I was thinking maybe a squeeze of lemon juice in lieu of vinegar would work? Otherwise, maybe even adding a bit of yuzu kosho (https://norecipes.com/yuzu-kosho-yuzu-chili-paste/ , I usually use store bought from my local Asian grocery store) might give the white bean soup a nice zesty finish.

    • Marta Garcia says...

      By the way… the yuzu kosho sounds amazing! You have opened a new world of possibilities for me!! Thanks a lot :)

    • Aidan says...

      You could also use verjus – the juice of unripe wine grapes – in place of the vinegar. You can find several good bottles on Amazon. It isn’t inexpensive, but it is wonderful stuff, and you will find yourself using it in soups and stews and vinaigrettes and cakes and glazes and cocktails.

    • Polly says...

      Lemon juice adds a nice balance. Try 1/2 fresh lemon.

  7. Emily says...

    This sounds amazing. We love the tomato, white bean and bacon soup from your book and this sounds similarly perfect and cozy.

  8. Rusty says...

    Jenny, that sounds like my kind of food!
    In fact, I started making your One-pot Summer Pasta in winter (I live in Australia) and have shared it with so many other people. It’s now a staple go-to fast meal… all year!
    I actually bring it to a ferocious boil, turn it off and walk the dog. When we get back, it’s cooked to perfection!
    So now Cannelini Bean Soup will be added to my list!
    Thank you. 😊

  9. M says...

    Made this last night. Couldn’t be easier, and very tasty. thanks!

  10. Heather says...

    Yumm! Thank you Jenny and COJ Team. We’ve been leaning into “cozy season” too this year and are making this for dinner tonight!

  11. Ann says...

    Making this tmrw!! Thanks!!

  12. Em says...

    Ditto with comfy. I’ve never been so obsessed with sweatpants, candles, mood lighting, warm fleecy anything, piles of blankets. My home is my nest this year. And I loved that last soup Jenny shared with us, The squash and apple one, so I’m definitely making this one soon!

  13. Sadie says...

    Costco cheese tortellini have been making their way into my soups lately :P

    • Mara says...

      Love this idea!!

  14. JJ says...

    What does “cooked white beans” mean? Just heated up from the can? Lol-clearly I’m not much of a cook.

    • Amy says...

      I have the same exact question! Are the ones in the can already cooked?

    • Marisa says...

      HI JJ- it says “cooked” because you can also use dried beans, which you would need to soak, then cook, or you can use canned white beans, because they are already cooked. No need to heat them up from the can :)

    • Nadine says...

      I think it means either the cooked ones from the can or if you use dried beans you need to cook them first.
      :)

  15. M says...

    Saw this earlier and headed to the kitchen right away to toss beans in the instant pot. Thank you for the dinner inspiration, so simple and so delicious!!

  16. Tina, NYC says...

    I can’t wait to whip this up tonight!!
    And yes to wanting to be surrounded by cozy, warm moments at home.

    I’m reluctant to part with the clearly “fall gourds” on my front stoop and mums that have seen better days bc I’m not ready to accept that Christmas this year will be without my family. Saying this out loud makes me realize I need to deal with these feelings.

    I’m so grateful we are all healthy, and while my family is ok , there is still loss. It pales in comparison to the burden others are carrying at this moment but perhaps a warm white bean soup reminiscent of something my grandmother would have made me is exactly what is in order, to just sit with all that has happened this year.

    Thank you Jenny!! You always hit the right note.

  17. Annie says...

    Yum, just made this! I topped it with olive oil and crispy onions (leftover from thanksgiving!).

    Thank you!

  18. Annie says...

    Yum! I am going to make this soup

  19. Claire says...

    Thanks to all of Jenny’s delicious-sounding recipes calling for an immersion blender, one is now at the top of my Christmas list this year.

    • another Claire says...

      oh I bet you will love it- I think it is the best kitchen tool. Every time I use mine I proclaim my love and admiration out loud.
      Also good for blending salad dressings and makes short work of fresh whipped cream.

    • E says...

      I’m usually anti-gadget, but my partner got one and we both love it. We use it for soups (our favorite is Moosewood’s savannah bisque), smoothies, chopping nuts, and recently discovered it makes graham cracker crumb pie crusts and rum balls so much easier to make :) In case you’re looking for a recommendation, ours is from Breville. My partner investigated reviews, and it was highly rated, and has performed great for us.

  20. Jess says...

    Yum!! This is exactly what I feel like and miraculously have all the ingredients. Making today with crispy mushrooms, basil olive oil and croutons on top!

    • Claire says...

      I need to know about crispy mushrooms.

    • isavoyage says...

      Thank you for this recipe Jenny. In France, handheld immersion blender are called giraffe blenders! Makes me smile every time i use mine :).

  21. Maryn says...

    Yummy! This sounds like my kind of soup. :)

  22. Susannah says...

    Literally thawing a mysterious frozen bag of something I labeled “risotto base: cauliflower/leek broth” from many moons ago I found lurking in the back of the freezer this moment being like… what am I going to do with this?? ADD BEANS, CARAMELIZEDISH ONIONS AND PUREE DUH. Thank you for meeting me where I needed to be met at t-minus-working-through-naptime-until-dinner-prep-pandemic-o-clock

  23. K says...

    this sounds so yummy!

  24. Nathalie says...

    I’ve been making your Pizza Salad a lot lately and I cannot wait to try this soup! I never really cooked with beans before but now I make sure to have a few cans in the cupboard. Thank you so much for these wonderful and doable recipes

  25. Joyce says...

    Looks delicious! Any handheld immersion blender recs? I don’t have one but between reading this recipe and some very alluring soup recipes on Smitten Kitchen, might just be the Christmas gift I didn’t know I needed. :)

    • Nathalie says...

      Mine is from Krups and it attaches to the bottom of my hand mixer. We got it as a wedding present almost 20 years ago and it’s still going strong.

    • Val says...

      I really like my Breville immersion blender.

    • RS says...

      I love my Kitchenaid immersion blender. I use it at least once a week, and have had it for probably almost 10 years now. It came with several attachments, including a mini chopper which is handy when I don’t want to get out the big food processor.

    • CZ says...

      I second Theresa’s recommendation for the Cuisinart!! As a newbie cook I wanted to try a bunch of new recipes that required an immersion blender, and I bought one for $45 at Bed, Bath, & Beyond with a coupon. My partner and I were just commenting how it has been our most used kitchen tool of the year, especially during all this COVID madness! I highly recommend. We use it at least once a week to make delicious soups, and so far so good. :)

    • Bec says...

      I agree with RS. Love my KitchenAid immersion blender and use it all the time. I found mine years ago at Costco for really cheap (still see them there often) and the added attachments it came with are useful and great!

    • E says...

      We have a Breville and love it!

    • Polly says...

      Food processor or blender work too!