Yes, I threw in the word “Tuscan”. It has a way of making everything sound a bit more lovely, doesn’t it?
Actually, I realized this month that it was exactly half a year ago that my sister and I were in Tuscany. In some ways it feels like ages go. Yet as usually the case with Italy, the memory of it all can come flooding back to me in a heartbeat. The feel of the cobblestones under our feet, the pillowy softness of the homemade gnocchi, the flourish of everyone’s accents, the laughter and music ringing through the narrow streets, the smoothness of the wine, the respectfulness to generations of art, the creaminess of the gelato, the simplicity of it all.
Oh, Italy. There are a million reasons to love it, each of them worthy. But this past summer, I think it was the simplicity of the place was what made me love it all the more. Because it takes a certain kind of confidence in life to keep things simple, to trust the goodness and beauty when it’s found, and not cave to the pressure to add and garnish and modernize and keep accumulating more, more, more. Italy does simplicity well. And it does simplicity deliciously, especially when it comes to food like white bean soup that was inspired by one I enjoyed in a cafe on the streets of Florence.
As a recipe developer, one of the things I always can’t help but notice about good Italian food is how simple the ingredients often are. While I’m one who’s often tempted to finish off a recipe by adding a little bit of this, and a little bit of that…and then a little bit more of this and that…I feel like I’ve learned a lot from Italian cooking over the years about trusting the main ingredients to stand on their own.
The key, of course, is to be sure to invest in good-quality ingredients so that you can rely on them. But in a soup like this with just 7 ingredients, that’s actually pretty easy to do.
All you need is some good-quality chicken stock, your favorite pancetta (or bacon), white beans (I went the extra “simple” way and used canned beans), fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, and some onion and a bay leaf to help season the soup. And then I highly recommend some freshly-grated Parmesan and rustic bread to go with it.
And about 30-40 minutes later, this delicious, flavorful, and oh-so-comforting soup will be ready to go.
It’s simplicity at its best. And I would say, most delicious.
This 7-Ingredient Tuscan White Bean Soup is simple, hearty, surprisingly flavorful. It’s the perfect winter comfort food.
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely diced
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 cups good-quality chicken stock
4 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
(optional but highly recommended for serving: freshly-grated Parmesan, Italian bread)
Heat pancetta (or bacon) in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Transfer the bacon to a separate plate, using a slotted spoon, reserving about 3 tablespoons of bacon grease in the stockpot. (Discard any extra grease, or you can substitute olive oil in place of the 3 tablespoons of bacon grease.)
Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
Add chicken stock, beans, bay leaf, rosemary and half of the cooked pancetta (or bacon). Stir to combine. Continue cooking the soup until it reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and let the soup simmer for 10-20 minutes so that the flavors will meld.
Add salt and pepper to taste. (I definitely recommend a generous pinch or two of black pepper, and extra salt if needed, depending on your chicken stock.) Remove the bay leaf and rosemary.
Serve warm, topped with the extra pancetta (or bacon). Garnish with Parmesan and serve with Italian bread if desired.
Looks delicious– I’m a sucker for any bean soup, though! I love how easy it looks, too!
Tuscan DOES make everything sound lovely! And I would love to run through the streets of Tuscany, bowl of soup in hand, and declaring my love for it! This soup sounds so comforting and perfect!
And, I’m totally jealous of your Italy visit. My dream!
This soup sounds amazing and your photos are GORGEOUS!! Who knew beans could look that good?! I’ve wanted to visit Italy since reading Eat, Pray, Love. It sounds like such a cool experience!
Ahhhh there’s really nothing like Italian food — real Italian food. And I agree, most of the time, it doesn’t require a 1,000 ingredients or complicated preparations. I think the Italians would be proud of your with this one — simple, flavorful and just perfect.
SO HOT AND TASTY!!! Yum!
So simple yet so perfect. I love the rosemary in this.. can I come have a bowl with you?
This is 100% random, but I just had to tell you that I have that spoon! ;)
Looks amazing! I love bean soup, and this looks so filling and tasty!
Soup-lover in me is begging to make this recipe. Will do! Thanks for sharing, Ali!
Loving the flavors in this beautiful soup recipe Ali! As the days get colder here in NC I could use a warm hearty soup like this!
This soup looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it!
I’m in the process of making this right now (it’s simmering away after just adding the beans.) It’s already delicious.
I used Great Northern beans (soaked overnight and cooked) because I had them in my pantry. I also added a Parmesan rind because I happened to spot them the other day in my local supermarket – and more Parmesan couldn’t possibly be wrong.
Great recipe. Deceptively simple. Thanks.
You’re right…this is definitely the perfect Winter comfort food! We got about a foot of snow here in upstate New York and this will make the perfect lunch! Super easy because I always have these ingredients on hand!
going to try this for sure! it’s interesting that friends of mine just returned from tuscany and said exactly what you did! cool!
If I wanted to do this in the crock pot would the bacon just need to be cooked off and everthing else thrown in? I’m really tempted to add some chicken also. We are going skiing this weekend and I love coming home to hot crockpot full of food.
Tuscany is totally on my bucket list! Love this soup, so simple, so perfect and so gorgeous!
This recipe is perfect for a chilly day. Love the simplicity, but yet so hearty and filling!!
I’ve been on a white bean kick lately (in a poor attempt to “diet”-ish. I’ve been eating them with a sweet red pepper relish that I recently made. This recipe is going to be put to great use in my house! I needed a bit more flavor in the bean base. Cheers!
This soup is both delicious and simple. Thanks Ali for another hit at the dinner table!
I found this to be too salty even though I used low sodium chicken stock
….also too much garlic
We’re sorry to hear you didn’t care for this, Christine. We appreciate your feedback!
One of the most characteristic cities that I visited in Tuscany is San Gimignano, nearFirenze. I stayed there during my last holiday in Tuscany, in a farmhouse really beautiful. There was a restaurant and a swimming pool overlooking sille towers. It’s called Farm Raccianello and both me and my parents really enjoyed it.
Thanks, and that sounds lovely! Italy is so dreamy…
This is so delicious! I saw it and had to make it right away. I used some white beans and some pinto beans because I am at home with 4 kids and no car and didn’t have enough white beans. I also added some cooked chicken. I made it and had a bowl for lunch and now dinner is ready! Thanks for the great recipe!
Thanks Jamee, we’re so glad you liked it!
I made this for dinner last night and it was a hit. Even my 11 year old son loved it. I did add some potatoes to make the soup a little more hearty and the next time I will add more beans. The flavor is really good. I highly recommend some good bread as well. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Jenny, we’re so glad this was a hit, especially with your son! :)
I just love soup! Super easy! Made a few additions after crispin the bacon bits added a handful of “trinity” sautéed down, added 2/3 cup of white wine (whatever your drinking will do) reduced then added Tbls of butter, fresh garlic, Rosemary,fresh majoron, then added the beans and broth! Delicious!!!!
Thanks for sharing your take on this, we’re glad you enjoyed it! :)
Made a couple of changes to make it vegetarian, but otherwise, perfect! I love bean soup on a rainy day!
Awesome, we’re glad you enjoyed this Lindsay! Isn’t soup on a rainy day just the best? :)
I really like this receipt. It would be great if you could add nutritional information to your dishes.
Thanks Lawrence! The reason we currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site is the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
The best bean soup I have ever made…I think! It is fabulous.
Thanks, we’re so happy you loved it! :D
On the Fast Metabolism Diet what Phase would this be?
Hi Melissa! Unfortunately we’re not familiar with that diet, so we have no idea. We hope you enjoy the soup though!
I’m almost drooling over this recipe! Can’t wait to make it!
Awesome — we hope you love it, Traci! :)
This was delicious, and so easy to make. I added about 4 cups of chopped tuscan kale to get the greens in, and it was wonderful!
Thanks for sharing, Jamie — we’re so glad you enjoyed it!
I love soups and this one is delicious and easy to make!!
Easy, simple, and delishes. Made two changes. Instead of the pancetta or bacon I sprinkled smoked bacon chipotle sea salt on the onions in the beginning. And I threw in two rosemary springs. Liked the outcome.
We’re glad you enjoyed it, Judith, and we love the adjustments you made! :)
I love pureeing half of the soups I make in a blender to make them more creamy than broth-y. Would that work for this recipe? I know that would change it quite a bit.
Hmmm, we haven’t tried that, but we would think the beans in this would help make it creamier once blended. We hope this helps and that you enjoy the recipe!
I also added a rotisserie chicken to this to make a little heartier soup.
I’ve made this soup at least 10 times now and absolutely love it. I usually add a spoon of Greek yogurt to my bowl when I serve it, so good! Thank you for sharing this simple but 5 star recipe.
I made this as written. Delicious. Then I added chopped kale because I had it. Would make it again.
This has been a favorite go to soup! So simple, yet so flavorful! It freezes super well and is absolutely a fall/winter go to.