Dec 12, 2022

Simple Creamy White Bean Soup with Gremolata

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
This simple yet flavorful soup comes together with just a few inexpensive ingredients.

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This velvety, creamy white bean soup is made by coaxing the flavor out of just a few humble and inexpensive ingredients, then served with a garnish of gremolata to brighten the flavors.

Shallots are sautéed until golden to create a flavorful base. Rather than using Parmesan or cream to create a creamy texture for this soup the beans are cooked until extremely tender and blended for a vegan soup.  I use canned beans as a shortcut but provide instructions for using dried beans below. 

Simple Creamy White Bean Soup with Gremolata

What is Gremolata? 

Gremolata is a classic Italian condiment made from garlic, lemon zest and finely chopped parsley leaves. I stir them together with a bit of olive oil so it can be drizzled over the soup. Gremolata is typically served to brighten up recipes like oosso bucco. In this soup it adds dimension to this simple recipe. 

Key Ingredients in This Recipe 

  • Shallots – Shallots have a delicate and slightly sweet flavor less intense than other members of the allium family, onions. I slowly cook them until golden to bring out these flavors and create the base of the soup. 
  • Vegetable broth – Vegetable stock is typically made from a base of carrots, celery and onion and can include additional ingredients to flavor it. While store bought broth works well, vegetable broth is easy to make from leftover kitchen scraps. 
  • Beans – Cannellini beans are frequently used in Italian recipes and are the main ingredient in this soup. I love using them for their smooth, slightly nutty texture.
  • Red pepper flakes – Red pepper flakes (in the US) refer to dried and crushed chilies, typically cayenne peppers. 
  • Lemon Zest – Lemon zest is the grated outer skin from the lemon. Use a zester or microplane to remove the zest. If you don’t have a zester use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the rind and finely chop it for the gremolata. 

How to Make Creamy White Bean Soup

Sauté shallots for creamy white bean soup
Step 1: Sauté shallots.

Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat through then add the shallots to the pot. Sauté the shallots, stirring frequently until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning down the heat if the shallots cook too fast. Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant.

Step 2: Simmer soup. 

Add the beans, broth and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans start to fall apart, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and let the soup cool slightly.

simmering soup on pot for creamy white bean soup
blended soup for creamy white bean soup
Step 3: Blend soup. 

Either add the soup to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth.

Step 4: Make the gremolata.  

In a small bowl stir together the garlic, lemon zest, parsley and olive oil until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

gremolata for creamy white bean soup
served creamy white bean soup
Step 5: Assemble and serve.  

Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve drizzled with the gremolata. Serve hot.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

How to Make This with Dried Beans 

You will need about 1½ cups (270g) of dried beans to make about 4 cups (680g) of cooked beans.

Add the beans to a large pot and cover by several inches of water. Bring the beans to a boil over medium heat then lower heat to medium-low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 3 hours. Add more water if necessary to keep the beans covered by about ½” (1.3cm) of water. You can cut the cooking time down by soaking the dried beans overnight. 

Swaps and Substitutions 
  • Other white beans like Great Northern Beans, white kidney beans or navy beans can be used interchangeably for the cannellini beans in this recipe. 
  • While I prefer this soup blended, it can be left unblended for more of a stew.
  • Try adding greens like kale or chard and simmering until wilted.
  • While this recipe is written to be vegan you can serve it garnished with grated Parmesan cheese if desired. 
  • Add ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
How to Store Leftover Soup

Let the soup cool and store refrigerated in a resealable container. To reheat the soup, either add to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat or add to individual bowls and microwave in 30 second increments until heated. 

creamy white bean soup in a bowl

Other Recipes to Try 

If you enjoy this creamy white bean soup recipe, I recommend giving these recipes a try and follow me on Instagram for more updates: 

Simple Creamy White Bean Soup with Gremolata

Print Pin
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the creamy white bean soup:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, as needed

For the gremolata:

  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ½ cup packed flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

For the creamy white bean soup:

  • Heat a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat through then add the shallots to the pot. Sauté the shallots, stirring frequently until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning down the heat if the shallots cook too fast.
  • Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant. Add the beans, broth and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans start to fall apart, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and let the soup cool slightly.
  • Either add the soup to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth.

For the gremolata:

  • In a small bowl stir together the garlic, lemon zest, parsley and olive oil until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

For serving:

  • Ladle the soup into serving bowls and serve drizzled with the gremolata. Serve hot.

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  1. 5 stars
    What a great dinner to have after getting off a food feast lol It’s a perfect soup to have on the cold winters night Really good Have ride 4 of your recipes and all have been fantastic Thank you for giving us a place to try new dishes

    • That makes me so happy to hear Marie! Thank you so much for sharing and giving my recipes a try!!