From the very first time I tried a bite of this soup I was hooked! The texture is incredibly smooth and creamy, and the taste is amazing – this is real comfort food right there!!!
Plus: this soup is super easy and super affordable – and it is a perfect make-ahead or meal prep option since the flavor is even better the next day, or the day after, or the day after. The soup will hold well for 5-6 days if stored in a container with a tight lid in the fridge.
And if you are looking to throw an Italian-inspired party, this soup served with a tossed salad and fresh bread will do the trick! Vegan and non-vegan friends and family will just love it, especially those among them who seem alarmed by some of the less common vegan ingredients, like nutritional yeast, or unfamiliar add-ons. This soup is plain and simple – white beans (homemade or canned), tomatoes, baby spinach, olive oil, onion, garlic, oh and some pasta – THAT’S IT!
If you are wondering whether you have to use cannellini beans, the answer is no. Any small white bean will do – and you can definitely cook the beans yourself. About half a pound (225-250 g) of dried beans will probably be just about right for this soup. Quite frankly, the convenience of canned beans can’t be beat, ad that’s a fact – with a snap of a lid you are already there. And these days you can find most beans in “no salt added” version, in case you are monitoring your sodium intake. The same is true for crushed and diced tomatoes – in my grocery store you can find both in “no salt added” variety. Whether you prefer to skip salt or not, I should note that a little bit of salt goes a long way towards making this soup have a really exquisite flavor.
The pasta that I recommend for this soup is ditalini, small pasta that looks like very small and short macaroni. This type of pasta is commonly used in traditional Italian bean soup, Pasta e fagioli, which is really pasta and beans. Ditalini works well in bean dishes because it’s size is well matched to the size of the beans, so it harmonizes with the rest of the dish. If you can’t find ditalini, you can use any other short and tubular pasta, or even something like rotelle – the wheel shaped pasta which is kinda fun.
One huge trick for making this soup is to blend half of it and then add more chunkiness to it as it simmers. Blending part of the beans, sautéd onions and garlic, and crushed tomatoes makes for a perfect creamy base. You will think you are eating a soup made with a pile of butter and cream, or a heavy roux, or both – and none of this is true! one thing to be careful about is blending the hot mix – you can get burned so pay attention!!!
White Bean and Spinach Soup
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 15.5 oz (440 g) cans cannellini bean, divided
- 1 28 oz (800 g) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz (411 g) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup ditalini pasta (or other smaller pasta, like short macaroni
- 1 lbs (454 g) baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
What you’ll do:
- Place the oil into a large pot and place it over the medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add 1 1/2 can of cannellini beans and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes, then turn the heat off. Add the crushed tomatoes and mix well.
- (TAKE EXTRA CARE) Pour the mix into a blender – take care as the soup will be very hot. Don’t use the blender unless the instructions state explicitly that it can be used with hot liquids. Make sure to use precaution to prevent burns. Blend the mix until smooth and silky. (You can also use a stick blender if you have one and blend the soup directly in the pot!)
- Pour the blended soup back into the pot, and use 1 to 2 cups of water to rinse out the blender. If you used a stick blender, do add 1-2 cups of water. Add diced tomatoes, and the rest of the beans. Bring to boil.
- Once the soup is boiling, add the spinach and wilt for 2 minutes or so. Finally, add the pasta (detalini), mix well and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the pasta finish cooking. Serve with fresh salad, a piece of bread, and some vegan parmesan.
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