This quick and easy, creamy white bean soup is absolutely delicious and super easy to make! The ingredients are simple, but the flavor is quite interesting! I like to serve this white winter soup with warm bread and and a steamed artichoke!
I’m always on the lookout for quick and relatively healthy meals, so when I came across this quick and easy creamy white bean soup recipe in Cook’s Illustrated, I took notice.
I slightly adapted their recipe by using less chicken broth and replacing dried herbs for fresh. Of course, you can use fresh herbs in this recipe, just keep in mind that dried herbs are stronger than fresh. If you use fresh herbs, you’ll want to use three times the amount of dried herbs.
Also note, this “cream” soup contains no cream. The creaminess of the soup is not a dairy product, but pureed canned Great Northern beans. “What?” you say? Canned beans? Yuck! Well, I thought the same thing until I made this.
What’s the Difference Between Cannellini and Great White Northern Beans?
While both varieties of legumes share similar nutritional profiles, their differences lie primarily in texture and flavor. Cannellini, also known as white kidney beans or Italian beans, are larger, softer and have an inherent nutty flavor. Great Northern beans are smaller with a grainy texture, and their flavor depends upon what other ingredients they’re cooked in…much like mushrooms and tofu.
These two white bean varieties are often used interchangeably and yes, you can use Cannellini beans in this recipe!
Saute onion and celery: cook the beans with their liquid, then puree them into a smooth, silky consistency, incorporate some herbs and seasonings and top with roasted capers, parsley, basil and a drizzle of lemon and olive oil!
The lemon and capers offer a distinct flavor to this soup, as does the olive oil – you use the same oil you cooked the capers in–so the flavor profile is savory, yet a bit tangy, and the pinch of cayenne pepper really rounds out the flavor!
Ingredients for Creamy White Bean Soup
Sometimes, the simple things in life are best, like the ingredients for this recipe! Here’s what you need:
- 2 – 15 oz. cans of organic Great Northern White Beans
- 1 ½ cups of chicken broth, capers, extra virgin olive oil
- Butter, Parmesan cheese
- Onion, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley, lemon
- Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
*Vegetarian version: substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth; eliminate butter and Parmesan cheese
How to Make Quick and Easy Creamy White Bean Soup
There’s very little prep for this bowl of deliciousness! First, microwave the capers in a high quality extra virgin olive oil for 5 minutes. Drain capers on paper towel; reserve oil. Next, chop the onion, garlic and celery then:
- Saute onions and celery in oil
- Add beans with their liquid, garlic, cayenne, thyme; cook on medium high until beans start to break down
- Pour white bean mixture into food processor; add butter and Parmesan cheese to mixture; pulse; drizzle in one cup of chicken broth; pulse again this consistency is smooth and pourable
- Pour bean mixture back into stockpot; bring up the heat; add remaining ½ cup of chicken broth; combine well
- Ladel soup into bowls; drizzle with lemon, garnish with basil, parsley, capers, oil and serve
Chop onion, celery and garlic
Sautee vegetables in olive oil
Add beans and their liquid; cook 8 minutes; transfer mixture to food processor
If your food processor is small, work in batches
Add butter and Parmesan to food processor; pulse and return soup to stockpot; add chicken broth
Pour soup into bowl and garnish with toasted capers, lemon, basil, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil
How to Make the Soup Extra Creamy
There are two things you must do to ensure an extra creamy texture for this white bean soup. First, soften the beans by cooking them on the stovetop for about 8 minutes. Then, transfer them to a blender or food processor for further refining. If your blender or food processor is small, you may have to work in batches.
Unfortunately, I hand held emulsifier doesn’t work as well as the two combined-methods above.
Great Northern White beans are the perfect “blank canvas” for a variety of flavorful toppings! This version uses toasted capers, lemon, parsley and basil, but feel free to experiement with toppings on your homemade white bean soup!
- Sauteed leeks and fried sage
- Chopped tomatoes and bacon
- Rosemary, pesto and pinenuts
Creamy White Bean Soup
- Blender or food processor
- ¼ cup capers drained
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 15 oz. cans of Great Northern White Beans do not pour off liquid
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1½ cups chicken broth or stock
- ½ cup yellow onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley garnish
- ½ tablespoon dried basil garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
Make the Topping
- In a microwave bowl, add ⅓ cup olive oil and ¼ drained capers; cook on high for 4 minutes; drain capers onto paper towel; reserve oil
Make the Soup
- In a large stockpot on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil; add chopped onion and celery; saute for 5 minutes
- Add garlic, thyme and cayenne pepper to onion mixture; combine well
- Add canned beans with their liquid to stockpot; cook on medium heat until beans begin to break up (about 8-10 minutes)
- Ladle or pour bean mixture into food processor; pulse on high for 2 minutes: (See Recipe Notes: Food Processor)
- Add butter and parmesan to food processor; pulse on high for 2 minutes
- Add 1 cup of chicken broth to food processor; pulse on high for 2 minutes
- Pour contents from the food processor back into large stockpot
- Add remaining ½ cup of chicken broth; stir and cook on medium until hot; taste for salt and pepper
- Pour soup into bowls; drizzle each bowl with a few drops of fresh lemon juice and the olive oil from the capers
- Sprinkle chopped parsley, basil and capers over top of soup and serve