Nourishing White Bean, Escarole, 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.
This white bean escarole soup is equal parts hearty and healthy--perfect for cozy weeknight cooking.
Two types of beans lend fiber and protein to make it super satiating, even for the most devout meat lovers.
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.
This soup has been made and adored by thousands of readers, and I just know you'll love it!
- And if you're a white bean soup lover like myself, be sure to my Chorizo White Bean Soup next.
How to Make White Bean Soup
As with most soups, the longer it sits, the better it gets, making it a great make-ahead candidate.
I love serving it with crusty bread for dipping, and final flourish of Parmesan.
- Beans: Any creamy white bean will work, such as cannellini beans (white kidney beans), navy beans, or Great Northern beans. You also need 1 can of chickpeas, which are heartier than most variety of white beans.
- Broth: Use vegetable broth if making vegetarian, or chicken broth if otherwise.
- Aromatics: A mix of onion, carrots, and garlic create the aromatic foundation of this soup.
- Greens: I love using escarole when it's in season. Otherwise, any hearty green such as kale or chard will work.
- Lemon: You need the zest and juice of 1 lemon, which adds brightness and acidity.
- Rosemary: The woodsy herbal notes of rosemary complement the fresh lemon beautifully. Alternatively, you can use fresh thyme leaves or a little oregano.
- Parmesan: I strongly suggest splurging on a block of Parmigiano Reggiano for this white bean soup. The nutty flavor and notes of umami are truly unparalleled.
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.
- Another classic white bean escarole soup you may be familiar with is Italian Wedding Soup.
However, if your grocery store doesn't carry it, don't freight! You can substitute escarole for kale, chard, or even mustard greens.
Step 1: Blend Beans
Step 2: Sauté Aromatics
Step 3: Simmer Soup
Stir in blended bean and broth mixture, remaining 3 cups broth, escarole, salt, and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until soup slightly thickens.
Step 4: Add Lemon and Parmesan
Stir in lemon and Parmesan cheese, ladle into bowls, and finish with garnishes of choice!
FAQs and Expert Tips:
How to Thicken White Bean Soup:
I have a special trick for turning broth-based soups into creamy pots of bliss.
So, what's the secret? ...blended beans! Here is how it's done:
- Blend 1 can of cannellini beans with 1 cup of broth and you get a velvety-smooth base to bulk up the soup.
- I suggest doing this in a small blender, such as Nutribullet, however you can really use any countertop blender.
Not only does this method help scale back on saturated fat, it adds even more fiber and key nutrients!
What can I add to my Bean Soup to Give it More Flavor?
The best flavor boosters for white bean soup are herbs, oils, acids, and hard aged cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.
- Herbs: fresh rosemary, oregano, or thyme.
- Oil: fruity olive oil or truffle oil.
- Acid: lemon juice, sherry vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
- Cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or Manchego Cheese.
Is White Bean Soup Healthy?
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. Plus, it's less than 360 calories per cup with a whopping 15 grams of plant protein.
How to Make Dairy Free:
If making dairy-free, you can swap the Parmesan for nutritional yeast and still get that savory edge.
Another option is to stir 1 Tablespoon of white miso paste into the aromatics. This will lend the same salty notes of umami as Parmesan.
How to Freeze, Thaw, and Reheat:
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, it can be thawed and reheated in just 30 minutes.
And since it's vegetarian, it will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Here is how to freeze, thaw, and enjoy all winter long:
- 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.
- Thaw: Microwave soup in bag at 50% power for 3 to 4 minutes, or until pliable.
- 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.
More Popular Bean Soup Recipes to Try:
Chorizo White Bean Soup
Butternut Squash, Kale, and White Bean Soup
White Bean Enchilada Soup
If you give this white bean escarole soup 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.
Nourishing White Bean and Lemon Soup
- Large stockpot or Dutch oven
- Small blender, such as a Nutribullet, or standard blender
- 2 (15-oz.) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth divided
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 large carrots finely chopped
- 1 tsp. each salt and cracked black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 small 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 7 or 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 more 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, chopped escarole, salt, and black pepper. 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 bowls, and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and chopped rosemary, if desired. Serve with crusty bread.
- 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 3 months.
- Thaw: Microwave soup in bag at 50% power for 3 to 4 minutes, or until pliable.
- Reheat: Pour soup into a saucepan and heat over medium until soup is warmed through. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave.
Oh wow this soup is so tasty! I’m generally not a huge fan of lemon flavour in savoury foods but this is superb - it just makes it - as does the black pepper which gives the soup a lovely lively finish. We will definitely be having it again- thanks so much!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! Thank you for leaving a review!
So glad you enjoyed it, Chelsea! Thank you for leaving a review!
This soup is da bomb lady!!! I’m so glad the Instagram algorithm sent me something for good in my life, your posts! My family is wowed with every new recipe, I’m happy because I sometimes find myself out of ideas in the kitchen and you’ve always got something new and healthy and approachable, not like my Ottolenghi cookbooks that always have some esoteric ingredient that most of us don’t have just layin around in the pantry! Thank you!!!
So glad you enjoyed this one, Francesca! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
My most favorite food blogger! LOVED this recipe!! Added a little butternut squash because it was laying around, but the fam really enjoyed this soup! Thanks for keeping it unique, fun, and easy, Jamie!
Pamela T. Bogdan-Massa
This soup was amazing…I did not use the lemon but I will the next time…I made it with barley and topped it off with a good olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese….delicious!!!
Hi Pamela - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review!
Perfect and bursting with flavor
Woohoo! So glad this one was a hit, Meredith!
I’m just curious how changing the brith to chicken over veggie would change the flavor. Help me out please. Usually veggie is too straong for me! Thanks-
One of my favorites! The lemon makes all the difference! I’m tracking my macros, how many cups is a serving? I see a serving is one gram. How many cups is that?
So delicious! I will definitely be making this one again.
Oh I'm so glad to hear, Andy! Thanks so much for coming back and leaving a review!
what if i dont have a way to blend anything 🙁 can we still make it?
Use a potato masher and just a little broth.
Perfect for post-partum or illness recovery...or anytime. Love this soup and kale works well for replacing escarole.
I agree, Mary! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
I look forward to making this soup every year once the temps start dropping! It’s so cozy and nourishing!
Hi Rachel - I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!
This looks delish!
Easily the best homemade dish I’ve ever done!!! Amazing
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for taking the time to leave a rating and review!
This soup is perfect year round. My co-worker asked for the recipe. My Father asked for the recipe. I was never a lover of chickpeas but this recipe converted me. Amazing. Vibrant. I love it.