Easy Tuscan Bean Soup

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Photography Credit: Sheryl Julian

The best bean soups have a lived-in quality, as if they have been simmering on the back burner for hours, just waiting for you.

You can achieve this by cooking the dried beans from scratch, of course. Or you can skip the long simmer and pop open a can!

Bean soups have the distinct advantage of tasting terrific either way. Today’s soup uses canned beans to make a 30-minute meal that tastes like it took all day.

When you start this soup, sauté vegetables first to give the soup lots of flavor. Let carrots, onion, and celery cook with sprigs of oregano, then stir in the beans and chicken stock.

To make sure your soup has that appealing “simmered all day” quality when using canned beans, just mash some of the beans before they go into the pot. This will give your soup the slightly distressed texture that a good bean soup should have.

Simmer the soup briefly, then add baby kale or spinach for their pretty green color and texture. Parmesan toasts are an easy side dish to make while the soup is simmering and they give your dinner plenty of crunch.

Sprinkle the bowls with olive oil and more Parmesan. You’re done in less than half an hour, but your soup will taste like an afternoon’s effort.

Easy Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

If eating gluten-free, use gluten-free bread for the Parmesan toasts, or replace the toasts with another gluten-free side dish.

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, thickly sliced
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans or other small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 4 cups baby kale or baby spinach, stems removed if tough
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, for garnish
  • Olive oil, to serve
  • Extra grated Parmesan, to serve

For the parmesan toasts:

  • 1/2 baguette, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Method

1 Cook the vegetables: In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, fresh oregano sprigs, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until the vegetables look softened and the onions are turning translucent.

Tuscan Bean Soup

2 Prepare the beans: On a plate, mash 1/2 cup of the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the vegetables in the pot. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Tuscan Bean Soup Tuscan Bean Soup

3 Simmer the soup: Add the remaining beans to the pot and stir well. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover with the lid placed askew, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the liquid is flavorful.

Discard the oregano sprigs; the leaves will have fallen into the soup. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

4 While the soup simmers, make the Parmesan toasts: Toast the bread until lightly golden on both sides. While the toast is sill are hot from the toaster, sprinkle with olive oil and cheese. If you have a toaster oven, return them to the toaster for 1 minute to melt the cheese; otherwise, arrange the toasts in a skillet over medium heat, cover, and warm for about 1 minute or until the cheese has melted.

5 Add the greens to the soup: Add the kale or spinach to the pot and simmering for another 2 minutes, or just until the greens wilt.

 6 Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with oregano and more olive oil, if you like, and serve with Parmesan toasts and extra Parmesan for sprinkling.

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Sheryl Julian

Sheryl Julian is an award-winning writer, editor, and food stylist. She is the former food editor of The Boston Globe, co-author of The Way We Cook, and editor of The New Boston Globe Cookbook. Her food sections won Best Newspaper Food Coverage from the Association of Food Journalists in 2015.

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5 Comments

  1. vivian

    Very good soup, and so simple to make. I love white beans and am looking forward to leftovers. May try a variation next time with rosemary instead of oregano. Thanks for a great recipe!

  2. charlie

    looks delicious! who doesn’t crave easy and hearty soups during the cold winter months!
    i have my own food blog, check it out if you want :https://charlieslifeandfood.wordpress.com

  3. Yamuna Lee

    The recipie is simply amazing and the best part is it gets ready in very less time, as a working women it’s very convenient for me to make such amazing soup effortlessly.
    Regards,
    Yamuna Lee.

  4. Sara @ Last Night's Feast

    This looks delicious and perfect for this weather

  5. Jo

    I made bean soup yesterday & used the soup mix from the bulk section of my Sprouts. I had to add 1/2 cup of pinto beans to have enough beans and added a small ham hock. It cooked much faster than I anticipate 1 1/2 cups beans & the ingredients listed in your recipe it was really good. The mix has very small beans a& lentils they broke down which made the soup creamy. It had to sit for an hr which let me skim the soup for fat. If you have a little extra time I would try this mix. In a pinch I will use the canned beans low sodium this is a great meal especially with some baby spinach or baby kale.

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