Two Bean Soup Recipes to Refresh Your Pantry Routine

When Chef Alex Saggiomo found himself with an excess of beans, he turned to Nancy Silverton. Her book A Twist of the Wrist is full of recipes that can be executed with mostly pantry staples. There, he found two recipes for bean soup: one Italian, one southwestern. Between the two, you’ll find the perfect beans for any occasion.

Black bean soup recipe with avocado relish
Black bean soup with avocado relish

These recipes use canned beans, which means they come together quickly. From shelf to bowl, each soup takes about 20 minutes. While there are some fresh elements, the bulk of both soups can be made with pantry staples. Just think of the fresh ingredients as optional added flair. 

Tuscan Bean Soup

yields 4 servings 

  • 4 15-ounce cans creamy beans (great northern beans, cannellini, giant white beans)
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 4 large basil leaves
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Prosciutto slices (optional)

1. In a large pot, combine the beans (and their liquid), garlic, salt, thyme, basil, and 2 cups of water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until the flavors meld. 

2. Remove 1 1/2 cups of beans from the soup; set aside. Using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender, puree until smooth. 

3.Add the reserved beans and shredded cabbage to the soup; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Divide the soup evenly among four bowls. Top each with 1TB of Parmesan cheese. If using, add a drizzle of olive oil and a slice of prosciutto.

Finish with prosciutto and a little olive oil
Finish with prosciutto and a little olive oil

Spicy Black Bean Soup

yields 4 servings

  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped 
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 4 15-ounce cans black beans
  • 1 cup green chile salsa
  • 2TB cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, ripe
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Hot sauce (optional)

1. In a large pot, heat 3TB of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. 

2. Add the beans (and their liquid); season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Add the salsa; stir to combine. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender, puree until smooth. 

4. In a small bowl, combine the cilantro, lime zest and juice, scallion, and avocado; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the soup evenly among four bowls. Top with the relish, and drizzle with sour cream and hot sauce if using. Enjoy!

Thank you to Nancy Silverton

In the mood for dessert? Try this sweet and savory shortbread recipe.