Tuscan Soup with White Beans

Ready in just 30 minutes, this Tuscan soup with white beans has a rich savory flavor thanks to smoked paprika and fennel. 

Tuscan soup | Tuscan bean soup

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.

Related: Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Lives

Tuscan soup | Tuscan bean soup

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!

Related: 28 Day Healthy Meal Plan | 12 Best Kale Recipes | Golden Vegetable Soup Recipe

Tuscan soup | Tuscan bean soup

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.

Related: 10 Romantic Dinner Recipes

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!

Looking for more vegetarian bean recipes?

Outside of this Tuscan soup, here are a few more bean recipes:

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!

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Tuscan Soup with White Beans

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (95 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x


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)


  1. Chop the fennel bulb (reserve some sprigs for a garnish). Wash and roughly chop the kale. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then sauté the fennel for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes with their juices and simmer for 8 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth, water and cannellini beans. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and add the red pepper flakes, dried basil, smoked paprika, and kosher salt.
  6. 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

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

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

Cookbook Author and photographer

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.


  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 10:25 am

    That look so fresh soup and thaks for share your recipe, wanna be try it.


  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

    This photograph is just so beautiful. Makes me want to dig right in!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Mmmmmm.. this looks so good, I have to make it!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Looks so healthy and delicious !

  • Reply
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
    March 11, 2011 at 1:04 am

    This looks amazing! SO glad I found you blog. Love the addition of fennel and the soy sauce suggestion. San Marzanos are def the best. Liquid pizza, indeed!

    • Reply
      Yolanda Miller
      December 4, 2020 at 8:42 pm

      what is the soy sauce suggestion?

  • Reply
    Stephanie Lang
    March 12, 2011 at 1:19 am

    I made your soup tonight!! So simple and divine. And yes, the San Marzano tomatoes are key.


    I want to make your tamale pie next. Keep up the great recipes!

    • Reply
      March 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for trying it :)

  • Reply
    March 12, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Love it!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2011 at 11:33 am

    This looks gorgeous. Super nutritious to boot! :)

  • Reply
    March 14, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I loved this soup. It was very delicious and healthy. I didn’t alter the receipe other than halving it as I have a small family, and it turned out great! Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

    What a delicious soup! After a week of cooking so-so recipes (none of which were from this site), your soup made my night. Thanks for sharing! Your blog is a slam-dunk source for nutritious veggie meals (and especially soups).

  • Reply
    March 17, 2011 at 3:53 am

    L’hai preparata molto bene, brava ♥ ciao

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    This sounds absolutely wonderful! It’s actually cold here in San Diego today, I can’t think of anything better to warm up with, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Sarah A.
    January 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, I have made this a couple of times and have enjoyed it every time! Last time, I added balsamic vinegar, garlic, onions, and celery and it was absolutely delicious… As someone just learning how to cook, I really appreciate that you guys have been offering up healthy, straight forward recipes, I’ve really enjoyed your blog.

  • Reply
    Kathy A.
    February 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Made this soup tonight and it was delicious. A nice keeper in the recipe folder. Didn’t use the cheese because it is not vegetarian due to the animal rennet. But loved the soup. Thank you!!!!

  • Reply
    Eddie Aitken
    March 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Made this over the weekend for a Godfather marathon, everyone was supposed to bring an Italian dish, it was gone by the first credits rolled!

    • Reply
      March 13, 2012 at 7:49 am

      Awesome! Any other creative recipes for the party?

  • Reply
    January 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Can’t wait to try this tonight!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    This is really good! Thank you.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I made this recipe the other night and my family just absolutely loved it. My one-year old can be a bit of a picky eater and I was a little hesitant to give her some due to the red pepper flakes, but she ate it all up! And for those of y’all in the Tennessee region (especially new moms), I’ve been using Carrot Krate ever since Avie was born and have not been disappointed. Fresh, organic food delivered right to my front door!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    Would collard greens be okay in this recipe or will they be too bitter?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      September 25, 2019 at 9:13 am

      They should work, but might need just a little more time to get tender!

  • Reply
    January 7, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Do you ever make this up ahead of time? I was contemplating making in the morning, then reheating once I get home from work?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 7, 2020 at 10:54 pm

      Yes, this one reheats well!

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      January 7, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      Yes, you can definitely make this ahead of time and refrigerate, then reheat. The flavors taste even better!

  • Reply
    Nicole Maresca
    January 25, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Wow! Your beautiful photo caught my attention but the taste of this outstanding soup will keep me returning to your website for many more recipes. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      January 25, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      :) So glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply
    April 1, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Looks great! What are the macos on this?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 2, 2020 at 9:10 am

      Nutritional info is added!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Amazing soup! Easy to make and so delicious!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Can I make this without the fennel? I’m not a huge fan of that flavor.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      April 27, 2020 at 1:22 pm

      Yes, you could make it with onion instead.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    This is AMAZING!!! SO DELICIOUS! THANK YOU! 😋🍴😋 I have a pic of your tuscan soup that looks pretty and yummy! I’d add it to this post if I could!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    This was delicious! Had some fennel and kale from my CSA and wanted to do something different. Followed the recipe as is and everyone chowed! Thank you.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    Found the tomatoes overpowered the soup. Used fennel and sauteed onion and garlic

  • Reply
    November 12, 2020 at 6:23 am

    First time trying a recipe with fennel and Swiss chard! I normally won’t eat anything with cooked tomatoes but it looked so good and healthy I just had to try it! It was AMAZING! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 13, 2020 at 7:41 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2020 at 10:16 am

    When do you add the fennel?!?!? You only mentioned it as garnish at the end, but the recipe requires an entire bulb! Help – making this as we speak!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      December 9, 2020 at 4:17 pm

      Hi! You saute it in step 2!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    I made this soup and it is delicious!!! I will make it again and again.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    I like the fennel in this. But I omitted the smoked paprika and added a lot of minced garlic. I also used escarole instead of kale. I guess I made something more traditionally Italian!

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