white bean rosemary soup

16th October 2009


It was still Summer in Israel before I left for India, and it doesn’t cool down until at least late October. But I won’t complain because we had some cooler days to break the humidity….so you must think I was crazy to be making soup in that sort of heat.  Just before I left, I had been feeling a touch under the weather with a sore throat, so I really felt like something soothing, and also hearty to feed the rest of my family.  This also happens to be one of my daughter’s favourite soups.

The recipe came from my friend, Anna who found it in an old Italian cookbook.  The original recipe has onion, sautéed at the beginning, and garlic, sautéed with oil and parsley, added at the end. I omitted both the onion and the garlic.  I serve it with a big bowl of guacamole and sourdough parmesan toasts.

Update: Now that I live in Europe, I love making this soup in late summer, when the evening starts to cool. I make it with fresh shelled beans, which can be found in the markets.

white bean rosemary soup

Serves 6

I always keep 2 cup measurements in ziplock bags of the pre-soaked beans in my freezer, ready to use. dI also add a pinch of bicarbonate soda to beans while soaking, this helps to soften them. If I am out of home-made vegetable stock, add the rind end of a wedge of parmesan – it adds a savoury, salty flavour to the soup. Remove before blending.


2 Tbsp olive oil

4 sticks celery(thinly sliced)

1 fresh bay leaf

2 sticks of rosemary, each about 10cm long

2 cups cannellini beans (soaked overnight) or fresh shelling bean pods (no soaking required)

8 cups vegetable stock

4 carrots, roughly chopped (it is nice to keep them chunky)

1 bunch of parsley (tied together with kitchen string)

1 – 2 tsp fine rock salt

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

parsley pesto

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ cup parsley, finely chopped


1.  In a soup pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, celery, bay leaf and rosemary – saute for 5 minutes until the celery is soft.

2.  Add the soaked beans, vegetable stock, carrots, tied parsley and bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered with a lid for 2-3 hours, or until beans are tender.

3.  Remove and discard the parsley and the rosemary twigs and puree about 1 cup of the soup using an immersion blender.  If it is too thick, you could add an extra cup of vegetable stock, but take care as you don’t want to lose the flavours. 

4.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. 

5.  To make the parsley pesto, heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the parsley, stirring.  As the oil becomes hot and the flavours start to meld, take off the heat and add to the soup. Ladle into warmed soup bowls and add an extra drizzle of olive oil.


Shared goodness from Stacey

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