It would be wrong to assume that vegan food is somehow more complicated in its preparation than the regular omnivore grub. Enter this simple cannellini bean soup: it’s quick, easy, filling, and oh so heartwarming – a perfect comfort food, I think! And if you pair it with a really simple cucumber-tomato salad as an appetizer, you’ve got a perfect late summer meal!
Recently I was on a quest to create a dinner that would consist of simple and quick to prepare soup and salad. The idea of a bean soup with not a lot of other ingredients had been following me for a while: I like a side of braised white beans at Zoe’s Kitchen, but they add a bit too much oil in their preparation, plus I really wanted to recreate them as a stand-alone entree soup. While this cannellini bean soup doesn’t taste exactly like the beans at Zoe’s, it’s nevertheless delicious, oil-free, and very filling. The addition of carrots and celery makes it look a little more festive too!
If saving time is not a concern for you, you can use dried cannellini or navy beans, soak them overnight, and then cook the soup in a crockpot with drained beans and the rest of the ingredients. It will be easy to assemble everything in the crock pot, but will take a while (up to 8 hours on low) for the soup to be done.
If time saving is a priority, your best bet is to use canned beans, drained and rinsed well. This is what I did to make the soup in these pictures.
Since things were taking place in the summer, I decided to whip up a batch of this super-easy fresh cucumber and tomato salad. In fact, this salad is almost an exact replica of the salad that my mom used to make for our family back when we lived in Uzbekistan and later in Russia. I only slightly adjusted that recipe by adding avocado and lime juice and subtracting unrefined sunflower oil.
Serve this meal with the salad first, followed by a warm bowl of soup and some crusty bread. By the way, you can use just about any kind of white beans here: navy, cannellini, Great Northern, etc.
If you look through the list of soup ingredients, you’ll see kombu – a Japanese sea vegetable that is supposed to slightly enhance the flavor of beans and make them easier to digest. Kombu is believed to have a number of good-for-you properties, but it doesn’t turn the flavor of your dishes into a swamp-tasting mess, so no need to worry! You can find it in health food stores or online. If you don’t have kombu in your pantry, you can omit it for this recipe.
Oh, and did you know that you can print out any recipe from my blog without all of the preceding yada-yada-yada or pictures? Just press the Print button below on the right!
This vegan cannellini bean soup is my definition of comfort food! Serve with fresh cucumber-tomato salad as an appetizer, and some crusty bread for dipping in the broth.
- 2 cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 inch piece kombu - an Asian sea vegetable (optional)
- Water or vegetable broth - the amount equal to 2 empty bean cans (here's an easy way to make your own veggie broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 Tbsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- Salt, pepper to taste
- 2 small fresh pickling cucumbers, sliced into rounds
- 2 small tomatoes, sliced into wedges
- 1/2 avocado, chopped
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1-2 chopped scallions
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice
- In a medium-sized Dutch oven or other thick-bottomed soup pot, heat up 1-2 Tbsp water on medium heat until bubbly. Add chopped onion, celery and carrot. Cook for about 5 min, stirring occasionally, adding more water to prevent vegetables from sticking to the pot. Add minced garlic and cook for another 1 min.
- Add the rest of the soup ingredients except for salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary (if using dried rosemary, halve the amount and add at this time with the rest of the ingredients). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20-25 min.
- Taste the soup to check if all the flavors have blended together. If not, simmer for another 5 min. If they did, take out about 1/3 of the soup into a bowl, mash with a potato masher until the components of the soup are broken down and look like gravy (this can also be done in a food processor, but I didn't want to have too much dishes to clean afterwards).
- Return the mashed soup to the pot, add salt, pepper and fresh rosemary, stir well, simmer for another 3-5 min.
- Just before taking the soup off the heat, check for seasoning. Take out bay leaves and combu. That's it!
- Arrange all of the ingredients equally in 2 bowls. Squeeze some lime juice on top, using more or less to taste. Serve right away.
I hope that the goodness of slow-cooked cannellini beans and root vegetables in this soup finds its way into your heart! As fall approaches, I will be experimenting with more and more bean soups and seasonal vegetable salads, so stay tuned!