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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


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 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


  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.


*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
  • Diet: Vegan

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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. I made this and it was absolutely delicious! My husband also loved it. I also added some juice from the lemon, and a can of coconut milk to make it extra creamy. Will definitely be making this again!!

  2. When you say in the instructions’ step #3: “bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.” Do you mean bring to a boil? Simmering, and then simmering again/some more did NOT yield tender potatoes…

  3. Daughter loved it, I was having problems at first with the flavor but by second bowl I loved it, wife soso, too perfumy for her, she did eat it.
    Very refreshing and light for bean and potato soup.
    I used fresh tarragon had some growing, used about 1/2 as much as recipe maybe Ill use less next time

    1. You could try adding sausage or plant-based sausage for heartiness, or add some shredded green cabbage to the mix. You could also add dumplings or meatballs!

  4. Loved the soup, but I am trying to eliminate sugar from my diet. Where are the 6.3 grams of sugar coming from?

  5. Cheers from Dallas y’all! If I used Fresh Tarragon, how much do you suggest? 1 TBS? Granted, I am Lebanese and will use a whole head of smashed garlic! :)

    I am a makeup artist and pastry chef with auto immune and your recipes are so cool. Can’t wait to try this soup and the Green Goddess I saw.

    P.S. Any tips on how to grow my channel in times as these is also appreciated.


  6. This soup is amazing – simple and delicious! It was such a good find-thank you so much!!

  7. Made this soup tonight and it was a huge hit! So hearty! I substituted the tarragon for basil and it was delish!

  8. Sonja and Alex,
    Love loved loved this delicious healthy soup. Was so different then what we are used to cooking. Adele

  9. I LOVE your recipes, and your cooking tips and tricks (hello sweet potatoes!;-) I’ve recently had food sensitivity blood work and garlic came up as a BIG no no :( This is very sad because garlic is in just about every recipe and makes EVERYTHING taste soooo good. Any suggestions? I want to make this delicious looking soup but it calls for 6 cloves :( Thanks!

    1. OH no, I’m sorry to hear that! Yes we put garlic in a lot of our recipes :) I think you could try minced shallot here! Though it’s similar to the onion, it could bring in an interesting flavor. I’d go with 1 minced shallot. You could also add a little onion powder for more savory flavor – like 1/2 teaspoon. Good luck!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

      1. Nice soup! Fairly labor intensive with all the chopping. Definitely took longer than 10 min. Makes enough to freeze lots of leftovers for winter, depending on family size.

    1. Thank you for this recipe. I appreciate simple and delicious recipes and this one is now part of my regular soups for fall and winter!

  14. 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!

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