This recipe for white bean soup is deeply nutritious, incredibly delicious, and best of all, totally kid friendly. It’s gluten free and packed with vegetables – the perfect soul food for chilly grey winter days.
Nothing perks me up more in the dead of winter than a steamy bowl of soup or stew. This white bean soup with Italian sausage checks all the boxes – salty sausage, colorful vegetables, lots of herbs, and deeply nourishing bone broth. It’s the perfect soul food for these chilly grey days. It’s also super economical, a complete meal on its own, and easily doubles for a freezer stash. All of the winning.
White Bean Soup with Italian Sausage Recipe Notes
I often reach for this white bean soup recipe when I have no idea what to cook (or, ahem, failed to plan ahead). I almost always have the basic ingredients on hand, and what I don’t have readily available can be easily substituted by whatever’s in the pantry or the fridge. This soup is the perfect place for those odds and ends you have hanging around – a loose leek, a handful of fresh herbs, some leftover kale or spinach. It’s a terrific recipe for experimentation, so get a little wild!
I cook this start to finish in my trust 6-quart Lodge dutch oven. If you’d like to double this recipe for fast weeknight freezer stash, there’s plenty of room in the 6-quart pot. No fancy equipment required, 1 pot only, and easily doubles? That’s my kind of recipe.
I cook this with dried beans from scratch because (1) they’re super tasty and ridiculously economical this way; and (2) the cooking liquid makes for a fabulous base. Never cooked dried beans from scratch before? I got ya’ covered. Keep reading for my foolproof method. If you’d rather use canned beans, just double the broth in lieu of the cooking liquid.
How to Cook Dried Beans for White Bean Soup (or anything else!)
Beans, beans, they’re good for your…yeah, okay I’m not going there. I get enough fart jokes in this house living with a 6-year old and a husband. His (the child’s) crowning achievement these days is learning how to arm fart while burping at the same time. Needless to say, it was fairly easy to coax some of this soup into his piehole after I sang him the aforementioned song. But I digress. Again.
I soak my beans from scratch. Yes, this is time-consuming. Yes, this is the best way to do it. The jury’s out on whether or not it’s a more nutritious method (you may google that at your leisure), but I personally think they are tastiest from scratch, and they are definitely more economical. You can make a ginormous batch and freeze them in 1-2 cup portions which will keep you from wanting to curse my name every time you decide to make this soup.
Gettin’ Your Dried White Bean Game On
(1) Obtain a 1-lb bag of dried beans. Or 2 pounds. Or five!
(2) Pour said beans into a strainer and rinse; pick through and discard any broken or nasty ones.
(3) Place your super clean beans into a large container with a fitted lid. I like glass mason jars, but you do you. Pour enough filtered water over the beans to cover them by about 2 inches, and leave it to sit overnight, or up to 24 hours (if you go longer than 8 hours, change the water you filthy heathen).
(4) Strain your beans, and give them another good rinse under cool water.
(5) Pour your beans into a large pot on the stove, and pour in enough filtered water until they are submerged by about 2 inches. Alternatively, you can cook these in a crockpot! I love my 6-quart programmable version.
(6) Get your aromatics on! Take a moment to season yo’ beans. This is where you get the supreme flavor that is absent from the canned stuff. For white beans, I like to add a couple smashed garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, some fresh thyme, and a bay leaf.
(7) If using a crockpot, simply set to low/8 hours and walk away. If cooking on the stovetop, bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and set a timer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check for tenderness. I do this by removing a couple beans with a slotted spoon, running them under cool water, and then taking a bite. You’ll know if they’re done or not. They’re probably not done yet, but you don’t want to risk overcooking them. After that, check every 15 minutes.
(8) Once they are bite-tender, turn off the heat. At this point, you can either use them or store them. To store long term, strain – reserving the cooking liquid! – into 1-2 cup portions, add some cooking liquid, and stick them in the freezer. They’ll keep at least 3 months and up to 6. I use the cooking liquid for half my soup broth and it’s damn tasty.
Want to use up all of those white beans in one go? Tuck ’em in the fridge and make this white bean butternut squash ragout later in the week. You’re welcome.
Now what are you waiting for – get into the kitchen and get cracking on some white bean soup!
White Bean Soup with Italian Sausage
This recipe for white bean soup is deeply nutritious, incredibly delicious, and best of all, totally kid friendly. It's gluten free and packed with vegetables - the perfect soul food for chilly grey winter days.
- 2 tbsp grass fed butter
- 1 lb Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 large sweet onion coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery ribs coarsely chopped
- 1 spring fresh thyme
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 cups bean cooking liquid
- 2 cups chicken bone broth or vegetable stock double if omitting cooking liquid
- 3 cups fresh cooked cannellini beans or 2 cans, drained and rinsed
- fresh chopped parsley
- fresh lemon
- shaved raw parmesan cheese
Heat butter in a 6-qt dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat until it foams. Add the Italian sausage in 1/2" pinches and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes.
Add the onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Push the onions in the center of the pan aside and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Deglaze with the white wine, stirring up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until the wine stops bubbling, 3 minutes total.
Add the carrots, celery, thyme, salt, and pepper. Then add the cooking liquid and broth and give everything a good stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 20-25 minutes.
Add the beans, increase heat to medium, and heat until warmed, 5 minutes.
Remove the thyme spring and serve immediately, topped with fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon and some fresh parmesan.