Tomato, White Bean, Bacon Soup

In spite of the unusually poor tomato season this summer (mild summer translates into not enough heat for their ripening) we have still managed a bountiful harvest from our garden. And while the taste of our raw garden tomatoes might be oddly unspectacular at the moment, they still cook up into something wonderful. Of course, in our book everything is better with bacon, which is probably why we like this soup so much. Yukon Gold potatoes are preferred because they hold their shape well and don’t disintegrate into the soup the way Russets can.

Tomato, White Bean, Bacon Soup Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8-10.

We've used canned white beans here for their convenience. If you want you can take this soup up a notch and use dry beans that you've soaked overnight and cooked until soft.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups peeled, chopped potatoes (recommend Yukon Gold)
  • 6 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes (or canned whole tomatoes with juice)*
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste

* To peel fresh tomatoes, cut a shallow cross on one end, blanch in boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove from boiling water and the peels should easily come off.

Method

1 Cook bacon on medium heat in a large saucepan until lightly browned and fat is rendered. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon from the pan. Set on a plate lined with a paper towel.

2 Add the chopped onion to the pot, cook in the bacon fat on medium heat until soft. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more. Add the chopped peeled potatoes and cook a few minutes more.

3 Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes (or longer).

4 Stir in the brown sugar. Add half of the beans to the mixture. Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup mixture (or blend half of the soup in a standing blender and return to the pot).

5 Add bacon to the soup and the rest of the beans. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crusty bread.

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Recipe adapted from one submitted by Verrill Farm for The Best of Tastes cookbook fundraiser for Concord Family Service.

tomato-bean-bacon-soup2.jpg

37 Comments

  1. Conley

    Looking forward to making this.
    Just wondering if the mixture should be brought to a boil when the broth and tomatoes are added?
    (I’m new to this)

    Yes, you can increase the heat to bring the soup more quickly to a boil and reduce the heat to lower the soup to a simmer. Or you can just keep the heat on medium and the soup will come to a boil all on its own. ~Elise

  2. Elisheva

    LOVE your site! I use it everyday! Do you have any suggestions for making this without bacon for those of us who don’t eat pork products?

    Use olive oil for the fat and brown some turkey sausage. ~Elise

  3. Nicole

    Oh wow! This soup has my three favorite things in one! Bacon, potatoes, and beans! I will have to try it out soon as our garden is yielding so many tomatoes right now.

    Approximately how many small (2 inches in diameter) tomatoes do I need? Thank you!

    No idea on the individual tomatoes, you’ll need to just chop up enough to yield 6 cups. ~Elise

  4. Janet clinger

    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. Do
    You think this soup would freeze well?

    Great question. Don’t know, as we rarely freeze soups. ~Elise

  5. Gursk

    Just made a batch but had to do some tinkering to work with what I had on hand.

    Used 1/2 romano & 1/2 canneloni beans.
    Added 1/4 cup red wine that needed using.
    Used beef broth instead of chicken (how could I be out of chicken broth!?)

    Ended up FABULOUS. Served with bare bruschetta. YUM.

  6. Kimi

    Hi Elise
    The recipe looks DELICIOUS, but I can’t get good fresh tomatoes… any tips for using canned?
    Thanks
    Kimi

    Just use 6 cups of canned tomatoes. I recommend whole tomatoes, go for Muir Glen or San Marzano for the best quality. ~Elise

  7. Liz J

    I love those dishes! Do you know where you got them? Sorry I guess I should be saying how great the soup looks… which it does look great. But I am on the hunt for great blue and white dishes. Please let me know where they are from. Thanks.

    I get a lot of dishes at close-out sales at a local china shop. In this case the small bowl is “Blue Danube” made in Japan, the larger bowl underneath is “W Wedgewood, the Scandic Blue Collection”. You may be able to find either of them at replacements.com. ~Elise

  8. Trig

    You know you have a classic combination when you see that it has been claimed by the Italians, the Germans, the Spanish and the Portuguese, to name but a few. I suspect that Tuscany has the best claim, but hey – who cares? It’s just great, inexpensive eating.

  9. georgia

    I made this for dinner last night with fresh tomatoes from our garden. It was wonderful, and I’m making a few more batches today to freeze (since we harvested 20 pounds of tomatoes this week). Thanks for all of the great recipes!

  10. Catherine

    We’ve had a pretty good tomato harvest here as well – I’ll be trying this on the menu next week for sure! Elise, did you take the skins off the fresh tomatoes? Thanks! :)

    Yes! Good idea to peel the tomatoes first. The easiest way is to cut a cross in one end and blanch them, then peel. I’ve added that note to the recipe. ~Elise

  11. santos

    What? No Bay Leaf?

    Feel free to add one if you want. ~Elise

  12. Emily Swift

    Is there something I can substitute the bacon in this recipe for vegetarians?

    Smoked tofu? I don’t know. I’m not a vegetarian. But if others who are have suggestions, please feel free to offer. ~Elise

  13. Matt Thomas

    I make a similar soup but use one-half of the tomatoes and twice the amount of beans. The flavor of tomatoes is often rather intense and may tend to overwhelm the character of the dish.
    One is then awarded with a near perfect balance of flavors which is generally the goal in preparing a soup with a blend of several vegetables.
    I would further suggest using a combination of great northern (white) beans and pintos. The softer whites will cook into the broth adding both body and flavor while pinto beans will retain their firm integrity.
    One last touch before removing from the stove…add some chopped fresh parsley.
    Ps. This is a wonderful potage that will stand on its own without the addition of bacon.

  14. Kim

    I’ll be leaving out the potatoes and adding some fresh spinach…maybe some type of small pasta, too.

  15. Alisa

    I made this soup tonight b/c the photo look so delicious, but I found it to be pretty good, not delicious,though. I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned, and I also added a little bit of a boullion cube to add some extra flavor. The ingredients in this soup are ones that I used to make breakfast tacos with. Now those are delicious!!

  16. Anna

    Sooooooooo delish! I used gorgeous fresh toms and this soup was to die for! I added fresh italian parsley as a garnish…thanks Elise! My family eats very well b/c of your blog. ;o)

  17. Sam

    I made this last night with fresh tomatoes from my garden. The bacon adds a great flavor base to the soup. Because I didn’t have quite enough tomatoes, I added a small carton of V8 tomato & herb soup from my pantry in addition to the chix broth. This added the perfect amount of seasonings that I didn’t even need salt and pepper as suggested. I definitely recommend using the Yukon Gold potatoes because of their ability to hold up in the soup. I also used great northern beans b/c that is what I had. Overall….delicious!

  18. Theresa

    I just made this soup for dinner last night and it was fantastic! A great way to use up the last of my garden tomatoes. My husband liked that it was thick and hearty, and my favorite part was the bacon. It tasted even better when I ate the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for the great recipe!

  19. Kay

    This was delicious! I added a little red pepper flakes. The bacon and onion flavor was fabulous.

  20. Paul K

    At first I though this could be a bland recipe, but I was wrong. It was great and is certainly going in the family cookbook. I had a ton of Heirloom Tomatoes this year and they worked perfectly with it. *****

  21. Kerrie

    Just made this tonight and it was very good! Will be one of my fall staples. I did omit the sugar. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  22. Lou Doench

    Made this this evening and loved it. I skipped the sugar too (i forgot it) and subbed a cup of red wine for 1 cup of the chicken stock. I’ll definitely make this again, even if I hafta use canned (Buy em whole and roast em first).

  23. Nina

    I made this last night and it tasted great. The only change I did was that I blended everything (except the bacon and half the beans) instead of just half.

  24. Pat

    I made this soup for lunch today and it was fantastic!! I followed the recipe exactly, and sprinkled just a touch of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top, when served. My son and I both had seconds (he’s already reserved the remaining for lunch tomorrow). Excellent blend of flavours – thanks so much for sharing!

  25. Marion Olson

    Living in Maine I have serious homegrown-tomato envy! After our miserable early summer, we have two – that’s 2 – ripening tomatoes on our plants.

    I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes, chopped pancetta in place of regular bacon (I had it on hand), cannelini beans and beef stock. When I tasted it while the soup was cooking, I thought it was good, but it needed something. My husband suggested some roasted red peppers that I had marinated in olive oil and some really good Balsamic vinegar. Rather than cooking them in, or blending them, we added the peppers as a garnish at the table. The peppers and vinegar added a pungent and sweet note that worked perfectly against the potato and beans.

    Just in time for cooler weather, this recipe is a keeper!

  26. Sunny

    I’ve made this soup twice now and each time the soup was delicious. The first time was per the recipes and second was to compensate due to ingredients on hand. The second time … oh no!… no bacon. I can say that the soup is equally delicious with the onion sauteed in olive oil. I did have some turkey bacon, which I fried three slices and added at the end. The other substitute was turkey broth in lieu of chicken broth. I just harvested more tomatoes, so I’ll be making the soup again … this time I’ll freeze it to capture a bit of summer on those crisp fall days. Thanks of the great recipe.

  27. Pamela

    I wanted to make this as soon as I saw this recipe! After a long Labor Day festival weekend, this was exactly the comfort food I was needing. Made this tonight and followed recipe exactly (with the canned San Marzano tomatoes) and it was delicious. Hubby even went back for seconds!

    Next time I make this I’ll try adding in some red pepper to boost the heat for a spicier soup. I might cut back on the potatoes or substitute something else…just the customizing things you do with a solid recipe to make it just how you like it!

    Thanks for a great recipe Elise!

  28. anna

    I made this soup again with Muir glen and Trader Joe’s starter sauce (all I had) and it was as good as with the fresh summer tomatoes! I garnished with parsley the first time and didn’t have it this time. I think it adds something. What a delicious and satisfying soup! ;o) anna

  29. Tony C

    My wife doesn’t like bacon so I use turkey bacon; the thick cut kind rather than the usual thin stuff that just falls apart. It’s no more expensive but much more tasty and easy to use.

  30. Wendy M.

    I made this over the weekend and it was THE BEST! Thanks for the recipe.

  31. honeyk

    Made this last week with Rancho Gordo beans. (Yellow Indian Woman) and tomatoes from the farmers market. Added some smoked lemon drop pepper near the end. Spectacular! Elise, your recipes rock.

  32. joan teitelman

    Hi Elise -

    Question before I make this: How large a can of cannellini beans…OR what I prefer – how much of dried white beans? I use 1 pound bag to make an – unbelievable – white bean soup with rosemary (compliments of Ina Garten) – but want to make your soup….sounds incredible, Thnx.

    Hi Joan, great question. I clarified in the recipe, one 15-ounce can. I’m not really sure how many dried beans that would translate to. Maybe a cup, before they are cooked? The recipe does have room for movement with the amounts. ~Elise

  33. Sandra Halsey

    Just logged into your website. Found this soup recipe most interesting and intend to try it soon. Weather is beginning to turn cool here in SC. This soup brings to mind growing up, when my mom used to make a pot of white lima beans for dinner one night for our family of six, then to stretch her food dollar, she would add a can of tomatoes to the pot of soup for dinner the next night! Thanks for the memories, Elise.

  34. Katie

    Rather than use bacon, I sauteed the onions in olive oil, and added shredded chicken at the end. I didn’t even peel the tomatoes, and it still turned out great!

  35. Kris

    I live with a person who doesn’t eat mammals (!?) so I omitted the bacon and warmed up 1 tsp of smoked Spanish paprika with the onions and garlic before adding the potatoes. I also put in a sprig of rosemary while the potatoes were cooking and removed it before pureeing. I used dried beans and cooked the whole bag with a bayleaf and froze what I didn’t use (we’ll see how they stand up post freezing!) I measured out about 2 c. of soaked beans and added them to the pot with the tomatoes because they’d need the extra cooking time. I also salted during the cooking process because (in retrospect) everything I used was homemade and had little to no salt in it.

    Maybe this will give some vegetarians out there some ideas about how to modify.

    All in all, the soup is fantastic! Thanks Elise.

  36. Sarah He

    Elise, I saw on this site some info about the Blue Danube china and it appears that there are differences based on the backstamp. Do you know which backstamp the bowl has? Knowing that will make it easier to find

    Hi Sarah, the back of the bowl reads, “W Wedgewood England 1759 The Scandic Blue Collection Oslo Fine Porcelain dishwasher-safe”. Hope that helps! ~Elise

  37. amanda

    Just wanted to chime in on how much we enjoyed this recipe. We used garden fresh tomatoes and the last of our homegrown potatoes and some veggie stock I had made the day before. This soup was so incredibly warming and filling. We served it with grilled ham and gruyere sandwiches. A perfect fall dinner! Thanks for sharing!

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