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

White Bean Soup

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 spices 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 are 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 1900’s.
  • 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.

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White bean soup

White Bean Soup


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

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


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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 other white bean)
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried tarragon*
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 leaves Tuscan kale, chopped into small pieces

Instructions

  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, about 1 minute. Add the potato, drained and rinsed white beans, vegetable broth, 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.

Notes

*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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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11 Comments

  1. This was delicious and easy! I will definitely be adding this to my regular rotation. I’m not a big fan of tarragon so I used dried thyme instead and it still came out delicious!

  2. Would love to see nutritional information on more of your recipes. My husband is on a restricted diet so it is important to my menu planning.

  3. First, I am a huge fan and follower. Your recipes, without fail, are always delicious so have become my go-to’s. I do feel like I’m missing something on this one, though. Step 3 of the instructions say to add water but there is no volume listed in the ingredients. Can you please clarify for me? Thank you!

      1. Thank you for asking! We’ve updated the recipe to remove the water mention; it was a typo from a previous round of testing. Thanks for letting us know!

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Ruth! And thank you for this: the water mention is a typo (from a previous round of testing) — we’ve removed from the recipe! Thanks for letting us know. Hope you like the soup!

  4. I love this soup! The only thing I did at all differently was using baby kale from my farmer’s market. The combination of lemon and tarragon really take this to another level. Thank you!!

  5. Planning to make this delicious sounding soup in the next few days & I have two questions. Are there changes if I make it using a slow cooker? And do you think it would work well using spinach instead of kale? I can get kale but I just have a ton of spinach that I need to use up. Thanks in advance!

    1. We don’t have a ton of slow cooker experience… I’m not sure exactly how I’d change it up. You may want to add the beans towards the end so they don’t get too soggy.