This vegetarian Italian Cannellini Bean Kale Soup recipe is healthy and made with carrots in a tomato broth topped with Parmesan cheese.
This Italian soup came about as a 'clean out the fridge' recipe a few years back and to this day remains one of my go-to soups. It's light yet filling, vegetarian, gluten free, and full of fresh vegetables.
It's not yet soup season here in Minnesota but it is the season of garden vegetables. One of the best ways to use up that seemingly endless supply of veggies is to toss them into a homemade soup.
This soup is made with white beans, kale, carrots, and Italian herbs cooked in a tomato broth. It's great any time of the year and perfect served with some warm, crusty bread.
It makes a great weeknight dinner or may be prepared as a batch and separated out for meal prep.
This soup can also be frozen and served at a later time. It's a great soup recipe to have on hand!
- Are White Beans The Same As Cannellini Beans?
- Ingredients For Italian Cannellini Bean Soup
- How To Make Cannellini Bean Kale Soup
- What Kind Of Pot Is Best For Homemade Soup?
- How Long Does White Bean Soup Take To Cook?
- What Is A Substitute For Cannellini Beans?
- What To Serve With Italian Carrot Kale Soup
- Can Cannellini Bean Soup Be Frozen?
- Cannellini Bean Kale Soup with Carrots
Are White Beans The Same As Cannellini Beans?
This Cannellini Bean Kale Soup is made with humble ingredients like vegetables that you can pull right out of your garden, grab from a local farmer's market, or pull out of a CSA box.
It's naturally vegetarian, gluten free, and can be made vegan by leaving off the Parmesan cheese or substituting the Parmesan for a vegan brand.
There is some confusion over the different varieties of white beans out there. This recipe uses cannellini beans, which is a large white bean that's mild in flavor and creamy in texture. Cannellini beans are easy to find in your local supermarket.
Cannellini beans fall under the category of 'white beans'. Other beans that fall under this category include Great Northern Beans and Navy Beans. Any variety of white beans may be used in this recipe if you are unable to local cannellini beans.
To clarify, all cannellini beans are white beans but not all white beans are cannellini beans.
Ingredients For Italian Cannellini Bean Soup
Here's what you'll need to make it.
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1 Onion (any color)
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper (seeds removed for less heat)
- 4-5 large Carrots
- 2 15 oz. cans Cannellini Beans
- 4 cups Vegetable Broth
- 16 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
- 2-3 packed cups chopped Kale
- 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- 2 tsp. Sugar (or sweetener of choice)
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- ¾ tsp. Kosher Salt (split)
- ½ tsp. Pepper (split)
- Parmesan Cheese for topping (optional)
How To Make Cannellini Bean Kale Soup
The soup is made by first mincing and chopping all the aromatics and vegetables, then simmering them in a tomato broth in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot.
It's easy to think that soup is time-consuming and laborious and I am here to prove that this is NOT always the case. Soup often cooks faster than we think and makes for great leftovers.
- The first step is to mince 6 cloves garlic, 1onion (any color), and a jalapeno pepper. (Be sure to remove the seeds and membranes if you do not care for spice, or leave half of them in the recipe for some spice).
- The next step is to chop 4-5 carrots into slices. (This yields 3-4 cups of chopped carrots).
- Roughly chop 2 cups of kale. You can use any variety of kale you like (I prefer curly or lacinato kale for this soup).
What Kind Of Pot Is Best For Homemade Soup?
I love to use a cast iron Dutch oven or any variety of heavy-bottomed pot when making soups. Cast iron is great because it distributes heat evenly, ensuring that all the ingredients are cooked through evenly.
Soup pots do not need to be fancy but the bottom of the pot should not be thin or the ingredients may burn when sautéed and it should be big enough to fit everything comfortably.
- Place a soup pot on the stove top and heat to medium-high. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil.
- Once the oil is heated, add the garlic, onion, and jalapeno. Sauté the aromatics for 2-3, stirring often. They will begin to caramelize a bit and of course make your house smell fantastic.
- Now it's time to add the carrots. Throw all of them in there along with ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper. Saute the carrots for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. The carrots should be slightly softened at this point.
How Long Does White Bean Soup Take To Cook?
Now we're actually going to turn it into a 'soup'.
- Add 4 cups of vegetable stock and 16 oz. crushed tomatoes to the pot.
- Stir together and then add ½ tsp. kosher salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, and 2 tsp. of sugar. (It might seem strange to add sugar to a savory soup, but it helps to balance the acid in the tomatoes).
- Stir once again and place the cover on the soup pot.
- Cook the soup on medium heat (a low boil) for 25-30 minutes with the cover on. Check the soup and stir every 10 minutes or so. Cooking times may vary a little - you want the carrots to become soft and easily pierced with a fork.
The overall cooking time for this soup is around 45 minutes.
What Is A Substitute For Cannellini Beans?
The last step is to add the cannellini beans and chopped kale.
- Drain and rinse 2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans (this will help to remove any excess salt).
- Roughly chop 2-3 packed cups of kale.
- Add the rinsed cannellini beans and the chopped kale. You just want the greens to wilt a little bit. I find it best to add greens at the very end of the cooking time so they stay nice and hearty.
- Stir all of these ingredients together and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The salt and pepper levels may be adjusted at this time. Feel free to add a bit more sugar if the broth tastes too acidic.
If you don't have cannellini beans you can substitute any variety of white beans such as Great Northern or Navy beans.
Dried beans may be soaked and used in place of canned beans if you prefer. Check out this tutorial to learn How To Cook Dried Beans.
Alternatively, you can use any variety of beans you like such as kidney, lima, or chickpeas.
Any variety of greens such as Swiss chard, escarole, arugula, or spinach may be used in place of kale.
Looking for more hearty soup recipes? Don't miss these!
- Dairy Free Ham Potato Soup
- Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Kale Soup
- Turkey Rice Soup
- Leftover Turkey Stew
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Lentil Chicken Sausage Soup
- Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
- Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup
- Wild Rice Turkey Soup
What To Serve With Italian Carrot Kale Soup
Once the carrots are softened and the kale wilted it's time to serve the soup!
There is nothing like a hearty bowl of Kale and Carrot Soup with a side of crusty bread on a cold winter night (or anytime of the year, really). We live for soups during the winter in Minnesota.
I love to grate some fresh Parmesan on top of my soup.
This soup can be enjoyed as-is or alongside a grilled cheese sandwich or panini. A baguette, garlic bread, biscuits, savory scones, or these cheese breadsticks are all delicious choices (make sure the bread is gluten free if you'd like to keep this meal free of gluten).
I love soups with a sandwich like these:
- Italian Grilled Cheese
- Chipotle Chicken Panini
- Dijon Chicken Grilled Cheese
- Turkey Rachel
- Corned Beef Sandwich
- Lemon Basil BLT
Can Cannellini Bean Soup Be Frozen?
Recipes like this Cannellini Bean Kale Soup make excellent freezer meals!
It will keep 4-5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to allow the soup to cool completely before transferring the fridge for storage.
How To Freeze:
- Prepare the soup as directed (leaving off the Parmesan cheese) and allow it to come to room temperature.
- Once cooled, place in heavy-duty freezer bags (squeezing any air out of the bag), label with the date, and freeze up to 3 months.
How To Reheat:
- Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove top.
- You can also place the frozen soup in a Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed soup pan, add some water or broth, thaw and reheat on the stove top.
Love healthy soups? Check out these recipes!
- Harvest Vegetable Soup
- Roasted Carrot Soup
- Thai Potato Corn Chowder
- Tuscan Vegetable Noodle Soup
- Sweet Potato Chickpea Soup
- Chunky Italian Vegetable Soup
- Root Vegetable Soup
- Hearty Lentil Soup
- Italian Veggie Soup
- Curry Potato Cauliflower Soup
- Vegetable Dumpling Stew
Looking For More Healthy Soup Recipes? Don't Miss These!
Keto Low Carb Vegetable Soup
Shishito Sweet Red Pepper Soup
Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
Cannellini Bean Kale Soup with Carrots
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 onion any color
- 1 jalapeno pepper remove seeds and membranes for less heat
- 4-5 large carrots
- 2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans
- 2-3 packed cups kale
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 16 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt split
- ½ tsp. pepper split
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese optional
- Mince 6 cloves of garlic, 1 onion (any color), and 1 jalapeno pepper (remove seeds and membranes for less heat).
- Roughly chop 2-3 packed cups of kale.
- Chop 4-5 large carrots into slices (yields 3-4 cups chopped chopped carrots). Feel free to peel the carrots if you like. If you do not peel the carrots be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly before chopping.
- Drain and rinse 2 15 oz. cans of cannellini beans (or canned beans of choice).
- Heat a cast iron Dutch oven or heavy bottom soup pan to medium-high on stove top. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil.
- Once the oil is heated, add the minced garlic, onions, and jalapeno. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the chopped carrots to the pot along with ¼ tsp. each kosher salt and pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes or so, stirring often. The carrots should be slightly softened at this point.
- Add 4 cups vegetable broth, 16 oz. crushed tomatoes, 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 tsp. sugar (or sweetener of choice), ½ tsp. kosher salt and ¼ tsp. pepper to the pot. Stir until combined.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low boil. Cover and cook for 25-30 minutes on medium heat. The carrots should be soft and easily pierced with a knife by this point.
- Add the drained beans and the chopped kale to the soup. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes, uncovered, or until the kale has wilted a bit.
- Adjust salt, pepper, and sugar levels.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmesan if desired.
Christine. This looks so delicious and healthy. I'm on my last day in Copenhagen today. Maybe I'll forward this receipe to Bill and he can have it ready for when I return
Great idea - You're coming back to some pretty cold temps!
Elaine @ Dishes Delish
I love your approach of making a clean out the fridge soup! I do that too. But these ingredients together look delicious!
Thanks, Elaine! It's kind of fun to create something out of random ingredients.
I love the complex flavors you're presenting in this simple soup; it's perfect for fall!
This looks like such a comforting recipe, but the kale take it over the top! Totally yummy!
Do you rinse the beans?
Hi Pamela - I don't rinse the beans for this recipe because the liquid tends to 'thicken' the soup up a little bit and I like that. But, you can totally rinse them if you'd like to get rid of some of the excess salt. It will work either way!
I got a larger can of beans and mashed part of them to thicken the broth.. so tasty. I've made this a couple times for my family.. they love it. Especially my son.
Hi Lacey - So glad your family enjoys this recipe! I love the idea of thickening the soup with the beans - I'm going to try that next time! 🙂
I absolutely love your recipe! I am writing vegetarian recipe round ups on my blog in 2018 (to encourage people to try meatless monday- everyone has to start somewhere) and would love to feature you. You can check out my blog (for beginner environmentalists) at sunshineguerrilla.com. Is it alright if I share this link to your recipe?
Hi Barbara - Sure, I would love if you shared a link to my recipe! I love the idea of getting people excited for Meatless Monday and will be sure to check out your blog.
Because I was out of vegetable broth, I used chicken broth in its place. I used a small can of V8 juice in place of the crushed tomatoes. This is a very tasty and nutritious low fat meal. And it is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!
Awesome - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I love to hear how people adjust the recipe and make it their own. Thanks for the feedback!
Super excited then I got to the canned beans part 🙁 I don’t do any canned food. Help with beans from scratch recipe please?
Hi Carolina - I definitely prefer dried beans to canned beans as well! My husband and I have been making a lot of dried beans in the Instant Pot. It's really fast and they end up tasting really good! Here is a great all-purpose guide from The Kitchn - They are a great resource for things like this. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-beans-in-an-electric-pressure-cooker-234851
Just made this in the instant pot with the sauté setting and manual for 3 minutes! Turned out beautifully!!!
3 minutes?! That's awesome! I love the Instant Pot. Thanks for letting me know - I'm going to try it next time I make this soup!
Made this tonight and it was amazing! Skipped the oil and sautéed the veggies in a little water.
Hi Crissie - Thank you for the feedback and I'm so glad you enjoyed this soup!
That looks lovely. Thank you
Thank you, Fotini! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this amazing and really tasty recipe! Will surely have this again, fam really loves it! Well done!
Nart at Cooking with Nart
White beans and kale sound like a great combination in a soup. I've never thought about combining them together this way before. I'll have to give this a go as I grow a lot of kale in my garden!
This soup is a great way to use up garden kale! Thanks, Nart! 🙂
This sounds delicious! A perfect fall recipe!
Thanks, Liz! It's a favorite at our house! 🙂
Love this soup
Hi Judie - I'm so glad to hear that! This one is a favorite in our house as well. 🙂
Had no canned tomatoes used cherry I did onion,garlic, like 7 carrots and only had chicken broth...handful of fresh parsley...some tumeric...oregano...thyme..at the end I threw in 2 cans of cannellini and kale o and added like 3 scoops of cooked quinoa mmmmmmmm
Hi Jillian - That sounds awesome! I'm so glad you enjoyed this soup! 🙂