Cannellini Bean Soup
Quick & flavorful soups are a staple in our house! And this comforting cannellini bean soup is one we love and eat on repeat. It’s lightly creamy in consistency and layered with flavor. It takes less than 10 ingredients to prepare and only 30 minutes to cook!
If you’re unfamiliar with this humble bean, cannellini beans (also known as white kidney beans) are popular in the southern region of Italy for soups, stews, and even salads! One of the reasons I love to use them in recipes is their creamy texture and nutty flavor.
In this specific recipe, these beans shine as the main ingredient!
The result is surprisingly filling, and deep flavors are infused throughout each bite without needing hours of simmering time! It’s a quick soup to whip up and is simply divine in every way.
When I made this soup for my husband, he said it was a dish he could eat every day and be happy. And although we don’t plan on eating this soup every day, I wouldn’t complain either if we had to!
The amount of flavor in this soup is so impressive and it’s achieved by using less than 10 ingredients! You’ll need a healthy mixture of pantry staples and fresh produce.
Besides olive oil and salt & pepper, here is the full list of ingredients needed…
Cannellini beans: make sure they are cooked, rinsed thoroughly, and drained!
Carrots: for a sweet taste and a pop of color!
Onion & garlic: yellow onion and fresh garlic are always needed to flavor a good soup.
Fresh sage & rosemary: so much flavor is infused into this soup by using whole fresh herbs to simmer in the soup while it cooks. I do not recommend swapping for dried herbs!
Broth: a quality vegetable broth is used for the base – low sodium is best so you can adjust the salt level yourself.
Garlic powder: on top of fresh garlic, I love to add additional garlic powder to layer more flavor into the soup. It’s a simple ingredient but one you can’t skip!
Parmesan cheese rind: one of the key ingredients in this soup is using a parmesan rind to simmer with the soup. This is the hard outer shell of parmesan cheese that will not melt but soften while it cooks with the soup! It infuses a TON of flavor and is my secret ingredient for so many delicious soup recipes.
Red pepper flakes: for a small kick of heat! (I promise it’s not spicy at all).
How to Make Cannellini Bean Soup
First, saute the aromatics! In a large pot with olive oil, saute the onion and carrot until soft (about 3-4 minutes) with a pinch of salt. Then add the minced garlic, fresh sage, and red pepper flakes and saute with the onions & carrots for about 30 seconds.
Next, add the remaining ingredients. Then add the beans, parmesan rind, garlic powder, and broth into the same pot. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt & generous pinch of black pepper.
Cook the soup. Next, cover the pot and let the soup cook on a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove some of the soup to blend. When the soup is finished simmering, remove the fresh herbs and parmesan rind with a fork or tongs. Then use a measuring cup to scoop out about 2 1/2 cups of soup from the pot and transfer it to a blender.
Blend it! Then, blend the soup that was divided for about 5-10 seconds at high speed or until creamy.
Add the blended soup to the unblended soup. Then pour the blended soup back into the pot with the rest of the soup, and stir together. If you would like to soup to be thicker, you can place it back on the stovetop after this and simmer it uncovered for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, taste and add additional salt if needed – then serve!
Tips for Success
Beans to use. I like to use cooked cannellini beans that have been soaked overnight because they’re easier on digestion – this is my favorite brand to use. And even though this soup is specifically for cannellini beans, you can also use white navy beans, northern beans, or garbanzo beans too.
Fresh herbs are best! For this soup specifically, I recommend using whole fresh herbs for the best flavor! Dried herbs will not work the same nor have the same bright flavor.
Ways to blend the soup. I like to blend part of the soup in a high-powered Vitamix blender, but you can use any blender or even a food processor. If you’d like to use a hand immersion blender in the pot, pulse a few times in the soup until about half the ingredients are creamy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a parmesan cheese rind? (And why we love to use them!) If you’re unfamiliar with this ingredient, a rind is a protective layer that forms on the wheel of parmesan cheese. Rather than throwing the rind away after the cheese has been grated, I save the rind and toss it into Italian soups, stews, and sauces! It doesn’t melt, but becomes soft and infuses rich parmesan flavor into the whole dish. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to use in Italian dishes!
Can I make this soup without a parmesan rind? Yes, you can! The rind isn’t essential, but it does add a ton of flavor. Leaving it out makes this soup vegan and dairy-free friendly!
What to Serve it With
The soup is on the filling side, but if you’re like us and need a little something else to fill you up we opt for carbs! Our 10-minute naan pizza is perfect if you want something homemade without the fuss or serve it with crusty homemade bread.
If you’re wanting a salad to pair on the side, we love our Tuscan artichoke salad or this Italian salad!
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Cannellini Bean Soup
Quick & flavorful soups are a staple in our house! And this comforting cannellini bean soup is one we love and eat on repeat. It's lightly creamy in consistency and layered with flavor. It takes less than 10 ingredients to prepare and only 30 minutes to cook!
- 2 14 oz canned cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, stems removed and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 fresh sage leaves
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- generous pinch of black pepper
- parmesan cheese rind see notes
Saute aromatics: In a large pot on medium to low heat, saute the diced onions and carrots in olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft (about 3-4 minutes). Then add the minced garlic, fresh rosemary & sage, and red pepper flakes, and saute for 30 seconds.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook: Then, add the cannellini beans, broth, parmesan rind, garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt & generous pinch of black pepper. Cover the soup with a lid and let cook on a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every so often.
Blend part of the soup: When the soup is finished cooking, use a fork or tongs to carefully remove the parmesan rind and fresh herbs. Then use a measuring cup to scoop out about 2 1/2 cups of the soup and add it to a high-powered blender. Blend on high for about 5-10 seconds until it's creamy in consistency then add that back to the pot with the rest of the soup and stir it together.
Note: if you would like to soup to be cooked down even more, you can place it back on the stove uncovered and simmer it for 10 additional minutes.
Serve: When ready to serve, taste the soup, add a pinch of salt if needed – then serve!
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Parmesan cheese rind is definitely NOT common Ingredient for most people unless you live near a whole foods or a cheese market!
Hi K, I understand not everyone has a parmesan rind available. A lot of time its optional in my recipes because of that! Aside from whole foods, they are available at my local grocery store and costco. I find them to be more available than they used to be 🙂
This looks so good!
Sounds yummy, Bethany! I would need to make it without the parm rind and the garlic because of food sensitivities, but there is tons of flavor from the other ingredients. Thank you!