Ready in just 30 minutes, this Tuscan soup with white beans has a rich savory flavor thanks to smoked paprika and fennel.
When I first started cooking, I followed recipes to a T. It’s natural when you start learning how to cook, since it’s hard to know what changing an ingredient might do. But as we cooked more and more recipes, I gradually started to understand how to create my own. Now there’s nothing Alex and I love more than trying to come up with a way to use the ingredients we have on hand or see at our local market! This Tuscan soup was inspired by some greens from a local food delivery, combined with the memory of a soup made by a good friend a while back. It turned out so delicious that we had to make it again just to convince ourselves that it was actually THAT good.
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How to make Tuscan soup
True to form, I pulled out the superlatives tasting this Tuscan bean soup (“this is the best soup…ever!”). But honestly – this Tuscan soup is over the top delicious. Some people tell us is tastes like liquid pizza! The pizza flavor is due in part to the San Marzano tomatoes: San Marzano tomatoes are a variety of tomato that’s grown in Italy. They’re now pretty readily available canned in most stores in the US.
Other ingredients that are essential in this Tuscan soup are the fennel and the smoked paprika. We don’t cook with fennel often, but we love the subtle hearty flavor it gives here. If you don’t think you like fennel based on raw fennel, give this cooked fennel a chance! It doesn’t have any of the licorice flavor that raw fennel has.
The smoked paprika in this Tuscan bean soup makes a huge difference to the final flavor of this dish. However, you only need the tiniest amount to achieve a slightly smoky, umami flavor. Too much smoked paprika will overwhelm the other flavors, so use it sparingly! If you don’t have any smoked paprika, you can use regular paprika, but the final flavor will not be the same. It’s worth buying some smoked paprika for this Tuscan soup: and you can use it in so many more recipes!
How to eat more greens: Tuscan soup!
This Tuscan soup is super nutritious, especially since it’s loaded with dark leafy greens. This is one of our favorite ways to eat greens, and we recommend this soup often. Because the cooked greens easily take on the flavor of the soup, you feel like you’re eating pizza when you’re really eating kale or chard! It’s a magic tip, in our house.
When making this soup, feel free to use whatever leafy greens you have on hand. Heartier greens like kale, collards, or Swiss chard work wonderfully here. But adding a few handfuls of baby spinach leaves during the last few minutes of cooking will also work. Serve this Tuscan bean soup with homemade focaccia bread, multigrain bread or sourdough bread if you have extra time on your hands, or pair it with a simple side salad.
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Looking for smoked paprika recipes?
Did you buy some smoked paprika for this Tuscan bean soup and not sure how to use it up? Here are some recipes that use it: we use it all the time in our recipes since it adds a smoky undertone to vegetarian recipe!
- Easy Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika
- Spanish Patatas Bravas
- Open Fire Seafood Paella
- Smoky Instant Pot Lentils and Rice
- Smoky Ranch Wedge Salad with Potato Chips
- Lentil and Rice Summer Salad
- Simple Shrimp and Artichoke Paella
- Vegan Split Pea Soup
Looking for more vegetarian bean recipes?
Outside of this Tuscan soup, here are a few more bean recipes:
- Seriously Simple Three Bean Salad
- Homemade Sopes with Black Beans
- Refried Bean Tacos
- Quinoa Black Bean Vegan Chili
- Loaded Sweet Potato Skins with Black Beans
- Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
This recipe is…
This Tuscan soup is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy free.
Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!Print
Ready in just 30 minutes, this Tuscan bean soup has a rich umami flavor thanks to the addition of smoked paprika and fennel.
- 1 bulb fennel
- 2 bunches Tuscan kale or other dark leafy greens (Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens)
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes (San Marzano, if possible)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or canned broth)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pecorino cheese to garnish (optional)
- Chop the fennel bulb (reserve some sprigs for a garnish). Wash and roughly chop the kale. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then sauté the fennel for 5 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes with their juices and simmer for 8 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth, water and cannellini beans. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and add the red pepper flakes, dried basil, smoked paprika, and kosher salt.
- Add the kale and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Serve garnished with grated Pecorino cheese and fennel sprigs.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: tuscan bean soup
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.