When it comes to broth-based soups, I have three parts I focus on to make it great. There’s the flavor base, the core ingredients, and finally, the final add-ins. This white bean soup has all my favorite parts. Onions and garlic form the base, the carrots and white beans bring the bulk, and herbs, miso, and lemon round out the flavor.
I make a batch or two of beans on the weekend and use through-out the week. This way I can control the flavor and salt-level of the beans. Plus, I aim to create flavorful beans and bean broth. This soup leans on the flavor of both and using canned beans isn’t quite the same. I talk about how I cook my beans in the notes of this recipe.
However, I can’t rightly expect everyone to cook beans from scratch (I, too, turn to cans). So, if you’re using canned, there’s a couple of things to consider.
One, the liquid is often really salty (to help preserve the beans). If you use the liquid from the canned beans, adjust the salt/miso as necessary (as in, wait until the end to add both). There are also many opinions about what the liquid contains, whether it’s from the beans or the can itself. There’s no right or wrong here. If you decide to drain/rinse, add extra vegetable broth and mash a few beans to get a slightly creamy texture.
Carrots are perfect for soup. You can cook them to where they are just-tender. There are not many vegetables that act in the same way. However, you could use butternut squash, sweet potato, green beans, or potatoes. This recipe also works well with the addition of greens (kale, spinach, chard, or collards) thrown in at the end.
Miso or Parmesan
I went back and forth with this recipe but ultimately left the recipe vegan. However, if you have any parmesan rinds, toss them in while the carrots are cooking. If you don’t have the rinds, grate about ½ cup of so of parmesan in at the end of the soup. Or if you’re feeling it, dial back the miso a bit and add the parm with it. Just don’t skip both- this bit of saltiness brings everything together.
This hearty white bean soup is filled with sliced carrots and finished with fresh herbs, a splash of lemon, and a bit of miso. Use other beans or vegetables as needed or add shredded greens at the end of cooking.
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup cooked small white beans, with their broth (see note)
1 to 2 cups vegetable broth
2 to 3 teaspoons light miso
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ cup lightly packed fresh dill
¼ cup light packed flat-leaf parsley
Zest from half a lemon
Pepper, for topping
- Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the minced onion and celery. Add the salt and cook until the onion and celery are translucent and softened, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the carrots and continue to cook, until the carrots start to soften, just a few minutes.
- Stir in the white beans, their broth, and 1 cup of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes (depending on how thick your carrots were sliced). Towards the end of cooking the carrots, add more broth as needed to thin the soup to your liking. I like a broth with a bit of creaminess, not too thin.
- While the soup is cooking, mince together the dill, parsley, and lemon zest until combined and minced well. When the soup is done, remove from the heat and stir in the miso, lemon juice, and the minced herbs.
I cook these beans from dried, which always me to control the flavor and what’s in the bean broth. If you’re using canned beans, you can keep/use the bean liquid but know it won’t quite taste the same (you might have to up the onions/garlic a bit). You can also drain the canned beans and used vegetable broth in place of the bean liquid. If you go this route, mash a few beans into the broth once the beans are hot. This will help create a bit more creaminess to the broth.
Keywords: white bean soup