Mediterranean White Bean Soup

updated May 20, 2020
Mediterranean White Bean Soup

A wholesome recipe for vegetarian white bean soup with wilted spinach and Parmesan.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes to 10 minutes

Cook18 minutes to 20 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Once the cold weather hits, soup finds a permanent spot on my dinner roster. I rotate through the classics like chicken noodle and lentil, but lately this Mediterranean-inspired soup has been the one I turn to most. Why? Because it takes little more than a can of creamy white beans and a few veggies to whip it up — and yet it tastes like it simmered on the stove all day.

I’d go so far as to say this is the very best quick and cheap meal you can make with a can (or two) of beans — which is why I recommend always keeping them on hand. Their creaminess and starchiness are the backbone of this soup, and their mild flavor pairs well with just about anything you add. I particularly love a Mediterranean-inspired profile, which is why you’ll find tomatoes, spinach, and fresh rosemary mixed in here.

The One Smart Flavor Booster I Always Add to Soup

In addition to beans, there’s one ingredient I add to pretty much any soup I’m making, and that’s a Parmesan rind. As it simmers in the pot, it amps up the broth with cheesy, savory flavor. I tend to squirrel away rinds after I’m done with a Parmesan chunk and save them in a zip-top bag in the freezer, but if you don’t have one already on hand, you’ll find that many grocery stores like Whole Foods sell them — if they’re not out on display, just ask the cheese counter.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Mediterranean White Bean Soup

A wholesome recipe for vegetarian white bean soup with wilted spinach and Parmesan.

Prep time 5 minutes to 10 minutes

Cook time 18 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans

    white beans

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 4 cups

    low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

  • 1 (14-ounce) can

    diced tomatoes

  • 2 sprigs

    fresh rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    Parmesan rind (optional)

  • 5 ounces

    baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)

  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse 2 cans white beans and set aside. Finely chop 1 medium yellow onion and mince 4 cloves garlic.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if using, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

  3. Pour in 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, 1 can diced tomatoes and their juices, and the white beans. Add 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 Parmesan rind, if using, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

  4. Stir in 5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 packed cups), a few handfuls at a time, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve garnished with grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

Substitute frozen spinach: Frozen spinach can be substituted for the fresh spinach. Simply stir in an equal weight (or more; this is flexible) of frozen spinach and simmer until heated through.

Add additional protein: If desired, you can stir in a cup of shredded chicken (pulled from a rotisserie chicken, or canned chicken) into this soup in final step with the spinach.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.