This simple, warming Escarole White Bean and Tomato Soup, full of complex flavors, is so nourishing and easily adapts to whatever you’ve got on hand. Make this your go-to winter soup. Naturally vegan with gluten-free options.
I make soups so often, then always wonder why there aren’t that many soup recipes on my blog. Truly, soups can pretty much come together with whatever you’ve got on hand and without any recipe at all, don’t you think? Yet, a few weeks ago, while making a pot, in a clean-out-the-fridge moment, my daughter took one taste and said that this needed to be on the blog. So…here it is, as closely resembling that pot as it gets, since I don’t tend to measure when not recipe developing.
Personally, I think of this as a Tuscan-style soup, but I tread lightly when referencing regional dishes, for fear of being called out as an unknowing fraud. Still, I dared to ask Alexa to play an Italian Dinner Music playlist as I broke out my biggest pot and may or may not have danced through the kitchen while making this soup. Those who’ve seen me dance, know just how ridiculous the image of that really is.
What makes this soup so good…
This vegan soup is so filling, nourishing and adaptable. I love the background flavors of the wine, a sauvignon blanc. Herbaceous and green. You can certainly omit the wine, if desired, but, if you do, be sure not to skip the squeeze of fresh lemon. It will provide a crisp pop that balances this soup nicely.
If you think you’re not into dark greens because of their sometimes bitter bite, give escarole a try. I think you’ll love it! Escarole has a mild taste and is one of the least bitter of the dark greens. As most dark greens are, escarole is a great source of fiber, Vitamins A, C, K and folate, minerals like iron and antioxidants. If you can’t find escarole, add spinach instead. It’ll be wonderful.
Fire roasted tomatoes add a bit more depth than regular diced tomatoes, but use what you have on hand. Hand crushed San Marzano tomatoes are also amazing in soups like this.
I love using cannellini beans, they are nutty, tender and creamy. But, since we are keeping this recipe easy and simple, we are using canned beans. Canned cannellini beans tend to be a bit overcooked for my taste. If you’ve found that too, try using Great Northern beans. They are similar to cannellini beans, but are slightly more dense and smaller in size. Great Northern beans seem to hold their shape just a bit better.
What makes this soup even better…
A hot, crusty loaf of bread is essential when serving this soup. Whether served alongside it with a fruity olive oil or ripped in chunks and dropped into a steaming hot bowl like a Ribollita, the bread simply completes this meal.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 3 medium carrots, sliced
- few pinches sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 14 to 15 ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup dry white wine (I like sauvignon blanc)
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 medium fresh or dried bay leaf
- 64 ounces vegetable broth
- ⅓ cup acini di pepe (see Notes)
- 10 ounces escarole, coarsely chopped
- 15 ounce can cannellini or Great Northern white beans, drained and rinsed
- For Serving:
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh lemon wedges
- red pepper flakes
- Parmesan (see Notes)
- crusty bread
- In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots and a few pinches of salt. Cook until the onions and celery have softened for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for just 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes reduces, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and the thyme, oregano and bay leaf. Cook until the wine reduces by half, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth and increase the heat to high. Cover the pot and bring the broth to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the carrots have become tender. Add the acini di pepe and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the escarole. Bring the pot back to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook for just 5 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf before serving. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
- Serve with your choice of a drizzle of fruity olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or nutty Parmesan and always, a loaf of crusty bread.
If you'd like to make this gluten-free, use a gluten-free pasta or omit it entirely. The soup is still delicious without it.