This recipe for White Bean Soup is creamy and delicious, using just a few simple ingredients like canned beans and potatoes, without the need for cream, flour, or cornstarch. The best part? You don’t even need an immersion blender to achieve the perfect texture. This cozy soup is also packed with plant-based protein, making it a healthy and satisfying meal option.
Here are some reasons why you’ll love this white bean soup:
- It’s quick and easy to make.
- The soup has a thick, creamy texture that’s rich in flavor, without using any starch, flour, or cream.
- The recipe incorporates red pepper flakes and other seasonings, resulting in a hearty soup that’s bursting with flavor.
- To see just how easy it is to make, check out my step-by-step pictures.
How to get this soup creamy without cream?
This recipe is unique because it achieves a thick and creamy texture without requiring additional ingredients. While cooking the soup for some time can naturally create creamy white beans, this alone may not be enough for the desired result. Many recipes call for heavy cream, but in my opinion, this is unnecessary. Instead, I suggest using mealy potatoes that release natural starch when cooked in the base of the soup from vegetable broth alongside fresh vegetables. This not only helps achieve creaminess but also thickens the soup.
Does one need a thickener for this soup recipe?
As you can guess from the previous question, my answer is definitely: no!
While canned white beans with the bean liquid can provide some thickness, it may not be enough depending on your preference. If you desire a thicker white bean soup, you could experiment with adding flour or cornstarch. However, I recommend using mealy potatoes as they can naturally thicken the soup and create a smooth and creamy texture without the need for extra ingredients.
Which mealy potatoes are the best to make a creamy soup?
Mealy potatoes are a great choice for soups because they break down easily during cooking, which helps to naturally thicken the soup and give it a creamy texture. The best mealy potatoes for soups include:
- Russet Potatoes: Russet potatoes, also known as Idaho potatoes, are often considered the best choice for making potato soup and other creamy soups. They have a high starch content and a dry, mealy texture when cooked, which makes them ideal for thickening the soup and giving it a smooth consistency.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes are another good option for soups. They have a slightly waxy texture but are still mealy enough to provide a creamy consistency when cooked. They also have a buttery flavor that can enhance the overall taste of the soup.
- Kennebec Potatoes: Kennebec potatoes are similar to Russet potatoes in terms of their mealy texture and starch content. They work well in soups, especially when you want a velvety, thick consistency.
- Burbank Potatoes: Burbank potatoes are another variety with high starch content, making them suitable for soups. They are often used in commercial food processing for products like instant mashed potatoes and potato flakes, which can give you an idea of their mealy nature.
When using mealy potatoes in soups, be sure to peel and chop them into even-sized pieces to ensure they cook evenly. You can also use a combination of different mealy potato varieties to achieve a unique flavor and texture in your soup.
What type of white bean to use for a white bean soup?
White bean soup is a delicious and comforting dish, and the choice of white beans can make a difference in its flavor and texture. There are several types of white beans to choose from, but the best one for your white bean soup largely depends on your personal preference and what’s available in your region. Here are some common white bean varieties you can consider:
- Cannellini Beans: These are perhaps the most popular choice for white bean soup. They have a creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor. Cannellini beans hold their shape well during cooking and absorb the flavors of the soup nicely.
- Great Northern Beans: These beans are smaller and somewhat milder in flavor compared to cannellini beans. They also have a tender texture and are a good choice for a creamy white bean soup.
- Navy Beans: Navy beans are smaller and cook relatively quickly. They have a mild, slightly earthy flavor and are commonly used in soups and stews, including white bean soup.
- Lima Beans: While not as commonly used, lima beans can add a unique twist to your white bean soup. They have a buttery texture and a slightly different flavor profile compared to other white beans.
- Baby Lima Beans: These are smaller lima beans and work well if you prefer a smoother texture in your soup.
- Butter Beans: Butter beans are large and have a creamy, buttery texture. They can be a good choice if you want a very creamy white bean soup.
Ultimately, the best white beans for your white bean soup depend on your taste preferences. You can also experiment by mixing different types of white beans to create a unique flavor and texture profile.
Should I use dry or canned beans for bean soup?
Both dry and canned beans can be used to make bean soup, and the choice between them depends on your preferences, time constraints, and cooking methods. Each has its advantages and considerations:
Using dry beans allows you to have more control over the flavor of your soup. You can season and cook the beans from scratch, infusing them with the flavors of your soup ingredients. Dry beans are typically more cost-effective than canned beans, especially when purchased in bulk. Some people prefer the texture of beans cooked from dry beans as they can be cooked to your preferred level of tenderness. However, they require soaking overnight before cooking, which can add preparation time to your recipe.
Canned beans, in contrast, are very convenient because they are pre-cooked and ready to use. This can significantly reduce the cooking time for your soup. Eliminating the need for soaking can be a major time-saver, that makes white bean soup a quick and easy meal, suitable for busy days.
Ultimately, the choice between dry and canned beans depends on your priorities. If you have the time and prefer to control the cooking process and flavors, dry beans may be your preferred choice. However, if you want a quick and convenient option, canned beans are a great choice. I like this one and go with canned white beans for this recipe.
What you need for this white bean soup
To achieve a thick and creamy texture without the need for flour, cornstarch, or cream, I use canned white beans with their liquid (no waste!) and mealy potatoes. The result is not only quick but also delicious.
To add some texture, I recommend a combination of leek, celery, and carrots.
However, seasoning is what really brings this soup to life. I go with chili flakes, vegetable broth, garlic, onions, parsley, and a drizzle of robust olive oil. For a plant-based option, consider adding bacon bits. Remember, life is too short for bland soups!
How to make white bean soup
Heat up a large pot or Dutch oven with olive oil and wait until hot: add fresh garlic, onions, celery, and leek. Cook for 3 minutes while stirring.
Add cubed potatoes and cook everything for 2 minutes more. Then cover with vegetable broth and water and bring all to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and let the soup cook for 10 minutes more. Stir occasionally to avoid the vegetables and potatoes sticking to the bottom of your pot.
Put in white beans from the can together with the liquid, and cook for 5 minutes more.
If you have bacon bites that are fully cooked, step this step. Otherwise in a small pan add 1 tsp olive and cook bacon for 4 minutes.
Add 3/4 bacon to the soup and parsley.
Season with salt, black pepper, and a pinch of chili flakes.
Now the White Bean Soup is ready for serving.
How long can I use leftovers?
This recipe makes a big pot of soup, so you may end up with leftovers. You store them for 4 days covered in an airtight container in the fridge. I find that the White Bean Soup actually tastes even better the next day. Of course, this is also a perfect meal prep recipe.
For reheating, be aware that this white bean soup will thicken up as it sits because the white beans and potatoes are natural thickening agents. To counter that when warming the soup up again, add a little bit of liquid for thinning.
Can I freeze white bean soup?
For sure, it will freeze great, yet let it completely cool down before going into the freezer. Add to a freezer-friendly container and you can use this soup recipe for around 3 months in the freezer. Make a double batch and freeze for later.
Do individual portions of white bean soup thaw and eat whenever you want.
As this white bean soup recipe sits the flavors will be more delicious.
More veggies? Add some kale or spinach
More easy soup recipes to try:
- 28 oz white beans (do not drain)
- 2 lbs potatoes (skinned and cubed)
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1 medium leek, chopped
- 3/4 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp chili flaks
- 6 oz vegan bacon
- salt, pepper taste
- Heat up a large pot or Dutch oven with olive oil and wait until hot: add fresh garlic, onions, celery, and leek. Cook for 3 minutes while stirring.
- Add cubed potatoes and cook everything for 2 minutes more. Then cover with vegetable broth and water and bring all to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and let the soup cook for 10 minutes more. Stir occasionally to avoid the vegetables and potatoes sticking to the bottom of your pot.
- Put in white beans from the can together with the liquid, and cook for 5 minutes more.
- If you have bacon bites that are fully cooked, step this step. Otherwise in a small pan add 1 tsp olive and cook bacon for 4 minutes.
- Add 3/4 bacon and parsley to the soup.
- Season with salt, black pepper, and a pinch of chili flakes.
- Serve in bowls, topped with the remaining bacon.
- Store leftovers for 4 days covered in an airtight container in the fridge.
- I find that the White Bean Soup actually tastes even better the next day. Of course, this is also a perfect meal prep recipe.
- For reheating, be aware that this white bean soup will thicken up as it sits because the white beans and potatoes are natural thickening agents. To counter that when warming the soup up again, add a little bit of liquid for thinning.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 379Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 553mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 10gSugar: 2gProtein: 20g