I love soup season. Soups are incredibly versatile and easy to make. And who doesn’t love a one-pot meal? Today I’m sharing my recipe for one of my all time favorite soups. Its an Italian classic, and for a good reason. Italian White Bean and Escarole Soup.
Soups are a staple of my Autumn and Winter meal planning. Not only do they taste amazing, they also keep and freeze well, and are endlessly customizable.
Staples of Soup Making
Making soups and stews should be easy! And to help with that, I like to keep a few staples on hand. All of these items can be stored in the refrigerator or panty for weeks and are inexpensive. These items can come together to make endless soup combinations.
Onions, garlic, carrots and celery are the base of almost every soup. They help build layers of flavor, and as a bonus, they are cheap. And onions and garlic store in the pantry for weeks, while celery and carrots store in the refrigerator for weeks. We will use all of these for this Italian White Bean and Vegetable Soup.
Potatoes or other starchy vegetable are another great thing to have on hand for soups. My pantry is always stocked with potatoes and sweet potatoes and during this time of year, I almost always have a winter squash as well. These items add heartiness to the soup and also store in the pantry for weeks.
Beans and Grains
Beans and grains are perhaps the most important item to have on hand. Not just for soups, but for all meals! Every single meal I make as at least one bean or grain in it. They add heartiness and protein to soups so they will keep you powered up. A few of my favorites to keep around are: lentils, white beans, chickpeas, farro, barley and quinoa.
Last but not least, vegetable stock! I used to purchase boxes of vegetable stock. But then I found Better Than Boullion. Its a stock concentrate that comes in a paste form. It stays fresh in your refrigerator for months. You can make exactly how much stock a recipe requires without opening big box of stock. I usually get the Reduced Sodium Vegetable Base, but they have a bunch of vegan varieties to choose from!
This Italian White Bean and Escarole Soup is made of staples plus one ingredient that I don’t always keep on hand. And that ingredient is Escarole. Escarole is a green that looks kind of like green leaf lettuce. Its technically a bitter green, but has a very mild flavor. Its much lighter than kale in both taste and texture. For me, escarole is easy to find, but you can substitute Kale here if your local market doesn’t have escarole.
Italian White Bean and Escarole Soup
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil plus more for serving
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion, small dice about 1 1/2 cups
- 2 ribs Celery, small dice about 3/4 cups
- 2 medium Carrots, peeled and small dice about 3/4 cups
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced about 1 tablespoon
- Pinch Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 4 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable Stock I used Better Than Boullion
- 2 15oz Cans White Beans, drained and rinsed I used navy, but cannellini, or northern beans will work too!
- 1 Pound Escarole, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped See note!
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- In a large dutch oven or pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. About 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for 1 minute.
- Add vegetable stock and stir.
- Add drained and rinsed white beans. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the all the vegetables are soft.
- Add escarole to the pot a couple handfuls at a time, stirring to push the greens down. It will look like SO much, but it will cook down.
- Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the escarole has wilted and cooked through.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a big hunk of crusty bread.
Let me know how you liked this recipe!