Recipe: White Bean Soup

Recipe: White Bean Soup

This white bean soup is full of irresistible flavor, thanks to kale, lemon, and tarragon! This healthy recipe will become an instant favorite.

Here’s a healthy soup you’ll immediately add to your regular rotation…because it’s just that good. Try this White Bean Soup recipe, full of humble ingredients and huge flavor! It’s a new favorite over here, especially now that soup season has arrived. Tender white beans float in the cozy broth with soft potatoes and leafy kale. Lemon zest lends brightness and tarragon brings an herby nuance. The best part? It’s made of 100% vegetables and tastes like a dream. We tested this one out on friends and family, and they immediately asked for the recipe!

Ingredients in this white bean soup recipe

This humble white bean soup is built for speed. In fact, it takes just over 30 minutes to make (or less, if you’ve got quick knife skills). Because it’s speedy, you’ll want to use canned beans here. Use your favorite type of canned white bean! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Vegetables: onion, carrot, garlic, yellow potatoes, and kale
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable broth
  • Canned or cooked white beans: cannellini, Great Northern, navy, butter, or other
  • Lemon zest
  • Dried tarragon: this absolutely makes the flavor! This spice is worth grabbing at the store if you don’t already have it on hand. In a pinch, dried sage, dill, or thyme can stand in, but try to grab the real thing if you can.
  • Salt and pepper
White Bean Soup

Types of white beans

You can use any type of white bean in this recipe! We like using cannellini beans because of their creamy texture and large size. But any type works! Here are a few of the major white beans you’ll find at the store:

  • Cannellini: Cannellini beans (can-a-leen-ee) are an Italian variety that is large and kidney-shaped, with a creamy texture and mild flavor.
  • Great Northern: These are smaller than cannellini and have a brighter white color. They also have a mild flavor with a nutty undertone.
  • Navy: Navy beans are the smallest of the types of white beans. They have a mild flavor and got their name because they were a popular staple for the US Navy in the early 1900s.
  • Butter: Butter beans are the largest of the white bean family, with a creamy, rich flavor. Butter beans are sold in many grocery stores dried and canned. Their large size makes for a stunning look in this soup!

Can you use dried white beans in this soup?

Yes! Simply cook up a pot of white beans using your favorite method: we like the Dutch oven method or Instant Pot method. Then use 4 ½ cups cooked white beans to substitute for the 3 15-ounce cans.

White Bean Soup

Blending this white bean and kale soup

The key to this tasty white bean soup? Blending the broth to get it lightly creamy! Here are a few notes on that step:

  • The key to the lightly creamy broth? Take out 3 cups of the soup and blend it, then return it to the pot! You can use a standard blender or immersion blender for this job.
  • Feeling lazy? You can skip this step. The soup still tastes great! We prefer it with the textured broth, but it’s great either way.

A note on serving size

This white bean soup is designed for a big pot of soup with 4 to 6 ample servings. Because here’s the thing. We originally made a modest 4 serving recipe version of it, but the pot disappeared too quickly! In our opinion, if you’re going to make a pot of soup, you’ve got to have leftovers. And these leftovers keep well!

Want to make the 4 serving version of this soup? Simply multiply everything by 0.75 below and it comes out to round numbers! For the vegetable broth, you can use 1 quart broth and 1 cup water.

White Bean Soup

Leftover storage

Got leftovers of this white bean soup? It works great for lunches the next day, and the flavor gets even better over time! Store it refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Sides to serve with this soup recipe

What to serve with soup? There are lots of ways to make it into a healthy meal! We like pairing it with a fresh salad with a little extra protein, or a piece of crusty or toast. Here are some ideas:

More healthy soup recipes

Love soups? This one is incredibly healthy: it’s vegan, vegetarian, and full of nutritious vegetables! Here are a few more of our favorite healthy soup recipes for soup season:

White Bean Soup

This white bean soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.


This white bean soup is full of irresistible flavor, thanks to kale, lemon, and tarragon! This healthy recipe will become an instant favorite.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound yellow or Yukon Gold potatoes, small diced
  • 3 15-ounce cans (4 ½ cups cooked) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or Great Northern, navy, butter, or another white bean)
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried tarragon*
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 leaves Tuscan kale, chopped into small pieces

  1. Prep the fresh ingredients (see above).
  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic and cook until just browned for about 1 minute. Add the potato, drained and rinsed white beans, vegetable broth, water, lemon zest, dried tarragon, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Remove 3 cups of the hot soup (including broth and vegetables) and carefully blend it in a blender or immersion blender. Then pour it back into the pot to create a lightly creamy broth (you can skip this step if you prefer and it still tastes great!).
  5. Stir in the chopped kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Taste and add any additional salt, to taste (depending on your brand of vegetable broth). Eat immediately or save leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.


*We highly recommend grabbing dried tarragon at the store if you don’t regularly stock it in your pantry: it makes the soup! In a pinch, substitute dried sage or thyme.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Soup

Keywords: White bean soup, white bean soup recipe, white bean, and kale soup

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