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This creamy cannellini bean soup cooked in a thick tomato broth is savory, herby, a little spicy, and beyond delicious. The perfect feel-good meal when the weather is chilly, and the fridge almost empty.
We need more cozy soups in our life!
You guys have been loving this white bean soup since I first shared it a few years ago, it’s one of the all-time most popular recipes on The Clever Meal. And for good reason!
Today’s cannellini bean soup recipe is inspired by that simple yet delicious soup and it’s absolutely great to turn basic pantry staples into a bowl of goodness.
It has SO much flavor. So much satisfying creamy texture thanks to a mix of blended and whole cannellini beans. It’s also easy to make, economical, and packed with plant-based protein.
And if you’re a huge fan of cannellini beans like I am – the buttery bite and the way they are so filling – then you will LOVE it.
It all starts with an onion and some garlic, as usual. Next, I throw all the ingredients in the pot along with some chilli flakes and dried herbs for an extra punch. Lastly, for extra freshness, I stir in parsley.
I’m sure these basic ingredients are likely lying around your pantry right now. Let’s make a huge batch, and freeze leftovers for later!
List of the ingredients
- Cannellini beans
- Canned tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Onion & garlic
- Herbs (basil, parsley, bay leaf, rosemary)
- Chili flakes
- Salt & pepper
How to cook cannellini bean soup
(Note: this is a quick description, the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Blend the beans + their liquid from one can and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30-40 seconds.
- Add the pureed beans, whole beans, tomatoes, chili flakes and herbs.
- Stir in the broth, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 25-30 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, stir in the fresh parsley or basil, whatever you have on hand.
- Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve with crusty bread, black pepper focaccia, crostini or croutons. Enjoy!
Ingredients & substitutions
Olive oil, onion & garlic: to create a classic flavor base. This combination is similar to the traditional Italian soffritto, but here I skip carrots and celery to make the recipe easier. You can use butter instead of olive oil if you wish.
Cannellini beans: I use canned cannellini beans for convenience, but also dry home-cooked cannellini beans are excellent for this recipe. And if you run out of cannellini beans, you could always sub any white beans such as great northern beans, navy beans, or butterbeans, or chickpeas – they would be lovely here.
Canned tomatoes: I would recommend using canned whole cherry tomatoes to add extra texture and pops of color. But whole tomatoes, crushed or diced tomatoes will do too.
Herbs & spices: I use pantry staples like dried basil, rosemary, a bay leaf and some dried chilli flakes/crushed red pepper to add extra flavor. But fresh herbs would be wonderful too, feel free to use them and roughly double the amount with fresh vs dried. Finish the soup with fresh parsley or basil, whatever you have on hand.
Broth: I go for low-sodium vegetable broth as I prefer to keep my soups vegan. But you’re welcome to use your favorite broth, just make sure to adjust the seasoning at the end of cooking as a different broth can taste quite salty on its own.
Salt & pepper: before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
This simple soup recipe is very versatile and add-ins are welcome. You can add diced carrots, zucchini, a few handful of frozen peas or greens such as kale or spinach (fresh or frozen). You can play with your favorite herbs/spices, or add a touch of lemon at the end for a little zing.
I mean, just look at this delicious bowl. Nothing quite beats a super cozy homemade soup, right?
Storage tips & leftovers
Cannellini bean soup leftovers keep well in the fridge for about 3-4 day. It freezes and reheats beautifully, which makes it perfect for making ahead and packing for meals throughout the week. I suggest dividing the soup into small portions, cooling completely in the refrigerator over night, then transferring to the freezer. I love using glass containers as they don’t get stained with use.
What to serve with cannellini bean soup
This soup pairs beautifully with crusty bread, baguette, panini rolls or some warm focaccia. It would also be great with brown rice or short cut pasta like ditali or orzo pasta, excellent when used in soups.
More cannellini bean recipes to try!
Bean soup recipes you’ll love!
- The best white bean soup
- Italian white bean soup
- Butter bean soup
- White bean and kale soup
- Lima bean soup
- Pinto bean soup
If you make this cannellini bean soup, or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it. I would love to hear from you!
Cannellini Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 3 cans (15oz each) cannellini beans
- 1 can (15oz) cherry tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups (480 ml) low sodium vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon fine salt, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley or basil, chopped
- Open one can of cannellini beans and transfer its content (beans + liquid) to a blender or food processor. Whizz until smooth and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, unlit soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for about 40 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the pureed beans, the whole beans from the other two cans (previously drained), canned tomatoes, chili flakes, herbs except the fresh parsley, broth, salt and pepper.
- Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover with a lid, cook for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally, and reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle sim to the boil.
- Turn the heat off, stir in the fresh parsley, taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste with more salt or pepper if desired.
- Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if you wish, freshly ground black pepper and crusty bread on the side. Enjoy.