Nourishing White Bean and Lemon Soup is a vegetarian, fiber-filled meal ready in just 40 minutes. A one-pot meal perfect for make-ahead lunches or easy weeknight dinner.
Easy White Bean Lemon Soup:
This soup is equal parts hearty and healthy, and perfect for cozy weeknight cooking. Two types of beans lend fiber and protein to make this vegetarian soup super satiating. Also in the mix is a slew of aromatics, bright strokes of lemon, and woodsy notes of rosemary. Escarole adds bulk to the broth, which becomes soft and mellow after being simmered. And to finish, Parmesan cheese lends savory depth and richness.
As with most soups, the longer it sits, the better it gets, making it a great make-ahead candidate. Serve with crusty bread and a final flourish of cheese, and this soup will become an instant family favorite.
How to Make Soup Creamy Without Dairy:
I have a special trick for turning broth-based soups into creamy pots of bliss. While there IS dairy in this soup (ahem, Parmesan cheese), there’s no need for milk or cream to achieve the creamy consistency. So, what’s the secret? …Blended beans!
That’s right: blend one can of Cannellini beans with 1 cup of broth and you get a velvety-smooth base to bulk up the body of soups. I typically do this in my Nutribullet, however you could also use a countertop blender or food processor. Not only does this method help scale back on saturated fat, it adds even more fiber and key nutrients! Any soft white bean will work: Cannellini beans (or White Kidney beans), Navy beans, or Great Northern beans.
What is a Good Substitute for Escarole?
Let’s start by talking about what escarole even is. You may know it best as the wilted green in Italian Wedding Soup.
Escarole is part of the chicory family, which means it’s a bitter green in the same category as endive and radicchio. Flavor-wise, it’s not as bitter as the other chicories, however is more assertive than, say, romaine. It’s sold in bunches that look similar to a head of lettuce with wide, wavy leaves. If your grocery store carries it, it’s typically stocked in the bins by the heads of romaine and kale.
However if your grocery store doesn’t carry it, don’t freight! You can substitute the escarole for kale, chard, or even mustard greens.
How to Freeze Homemade Soup:
Eat a bowl tonight—and freeze a batch for later! Freezing leftovers of this soup will boost your meal prep game, and keep weeknights simple. Plus, this soup can be thawed and reheated in right around 30 minutes.
To Freeze: Cool soup to room temperature, and then seal it a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Lay bag flat in freezer, and freeze for up to 2 months. To Thaw: Microwave soup in bag at 50% power for 3 to 4 minutes, or until pliable. To Reheat: Pour soup into a saucepan and heat over medium until soup is warmed through. At this point, I love to add fresh garnishes to give it a facelift. For example, lemon zest, freshly grated Parmesan, and/or chopped herbs.
Family-Friendly, Gluten-Free Soup for Dinner:
This soup is gluten-free, fiber-filled, and heart healthy. It’s also brimming with good-for-nutrients, including vitamins C and K, beta carotene, and plant-based protein. If making dairy-free, you can swap the Parmesan for nutritional yeast and still get that savory edge. Another option is to drizzle some olive oil overtop right before serving to add extra body and richness. Either way, this soup will satisfy vegetarians and omnivores alike. As always, if you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag @dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations! And be sure to follow dishingouthealth on Pinterest and Facebook for the latest recipes, food and nutrition inspo, and more.
More Healthy Vegetarian Soup Recipes to Try:
- 2 (15-oz.) cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth, divided
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. each kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 bunch escarole, roughly chopped (sub lacinato kale or chard)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- Combine 1 can of Cannellini beans and 1 cup of broth in a blender; blend until completely smooth. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium. Add onions and carrots; cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 6 or 7 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add remaining can of Cannellini beans, chickpeas, and rosemary; stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in blended bean and broth mixture, remaining 3 cups broth, and chopped escarole. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until soup slightly thickens. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Gradually sprinkle in Parmesan cheese, stirring continuously (don't add it all at once or it may clump).
- Ladle soup into each of 6 bowls, and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and chopped rosemary, if desired. Serve with crusty bread.