Last Updated on October 27, 2022
Vegan white bean soup is perfect for cold winter nights, comforting and satisfying. Better still, this vegetarian white bean soup recipe is really good for you!
Delicious vegan white bean soup is packed with protein from super-healthy beans, one of the top vegan protein sources. Add this easy white bean soup to your rotation of meatless meals, and you’ll get asked to make it often. It’s that good!
VEGAN WHITE BEAN SOUP MAKES A FRUGAL BUT SATISFYING MEAL
Vegan white bean soup is one of my all-time favorite soups, a delicious and satisfying meal all by itself, or served with some fresh-baked bread. It’s perfect for feeding a crowd, since you can easily double the recipe with minimal extra effort. (Just use a really big stockpot!) And because the ingredients are so affordable, you won’t need to spend a fortune getting dinner on the table.
White bean soup also freezes well, so make more than you want for one night and you’ll get at least two dinners for your family, likely more.
Why make vegetarian white bean soup? So many reasons:
- Vegan white bean soup is a hearty and satisfying meatless meal, providing plenty of protein from plants
- It’s super affordable, just a few dollars for a giant pot that easily makes 8 servings
- It’s a great way to get those less enthusiastic about getting in their servings of vegetables to get a meal packed with veggies, fiber, and other nutrients including potassium and magnesium (nutrition data here)
This vegetarian white bean soup recipe keeps fuss to a minimum, and still comes out utterly delicious. I’ve kept the ingredient list as short as possible, and I skip the step of sauteeing the vegetables in oil ahead of cooking the soup. By all means do that if you prefer.
I always seem to be running behind at dinnertime, so just dumping the veggies in the pot with the beans and not having to tend the stove has always worked best for me. Try it and see if you notice a difference.
INGREDIENTS FOR VEGETARIAN WHITE BEAN SOUP
All you need for white bean soup is some simple ingredients:
- white beans
- vegetable stock
- dried thyme
- black pepper
- Vegan parmesan cheese alternative — optional, but highly recommended!
WHICH WHITE BEANS CAN YOU USE IN VEGAN WHITE BEAN SOUP?
Cannellini, navy beans, or great northern beans all work well for this white bean soup recipe. Keep some on hand in your real food pantry and you’ll always have a key ingredient for a healthy vegetarian dinner.
You’ll likely find them least expensively at your grocery or natural foods store. My local co-op carries dried organic white beans for about $2.50 per pound. In pre-COVID days, I could bring my mason jar and fill it up with the right amount for a big pot of soup. I look forward to the return of zero waste shopping options when this is all over!
Amazon carries organic dried white beans at much higher prices. Vitacost carries non-organic navy beans for just over a dollar per pound.
CANNED OR DRIED BEANS?
I always favor using dried beans when possible, for several reasons.
- Cooking with dried beans reduces your exposure to chemicals from can linings
- You reduce your ‘foodprint’ by skipping heavy cans
- Dried beans cost considerably less than canned. Organic beans typically cost only a couple dollars per pound. Each pound yields about the same as 4 cans. Depending on prices, this could mean savings of 50-75%.
Soaking and/or sprouting beans, grains and nuts is reemerging as a popular practice as more of us have learned about the benefits of traditional food preparation and lowering the amount of phytic acid in our diets.
If you’re someone who’s had trouble with beans in the past, preparing dried beans with extra soaking time may make all the difference between becoming a bean fan and staying a bean-avoider.
Here’s a guide to soaking and sprouting. You can soak your beans longer than the minimum 8 hours, changing the soaking water, in order to further reduce the gas-producing carbohydrates called oligosaccharides.
You’ll likely also save energy, as your beans won’t have to cook as long — win-win!
While cooking dried beans takes some planning and time, most of it is hands-off. Once your beans are cooked, the soup comes together in about half an hour.
Growing your own herbs can slash your foodprint further. Here’s a list of herbs to consider growing in your kitchen garden, even if it doesn’t get a lot of sun.
Want to expand your bean repertoire? Here are 50 more healthy bean recipes to inspire you, everything from salads to desserts. If you love homemade soups, try my easy-peasy homemade pea soup recipe also.
VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN OR WHITE BEAN SOUP
While many white bean soup recipes call for chicken broth, this vegan white bean soup recipe uses vegetable broth instead. You can purchase vegetable broth or make your own using collected vegetable scraps for some seriously low-waste eating.
If you’re buying vegetable broth, you might want skip those overpriced cartons of veggie-flavored water and go with a concentrate. I keep Better Than Bouillon ‘No Chicken Base’ on hand so I’m always ready to throw together a soup with great flavor for minimal cost. Instead of a couple servings for several dollars, this little jar makes 38 servings for under $5. (I’ve found the best prices on their bouillons — and so many other ingredients– at Vitacost.)
Another reason to consider broth concentrate: It comes in a glass jar rather than a plastic-lined carton, helping to keep plastics from leaching into your food, while cutting packaging waste and the footprint of shipping heavy liquids.
If you eat cheese, a nice sprinkling of grated parmesan gives this white bean soup an extra kick of umami flavor that makes it truly delicious. If you prefer to make it a vegan white bean soup, you can try a vegan parmesan or use nutritional yeast instead.
- 3 cups (about 1 pound) cooked dried white beans or 4 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- salt and ground pepper, to taste
- Optional add-ins:
- Parmesan cheese (or vegan alternative) for serving
- 1-2 cups fresh or frozen spinach
- If using dried beans:
The night before you want to make your white bean soup, rinse and pick over your beans, taking out small stones and beans that look shriveled or brown. Place in a large stockpot and cover with filtered water and soak them with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight. For even greater reduction of the compounds that cause gas and increased nutrient availability, soak longer, changing the water after 10-12 hours.
You can also add a little kombu or epazote to your soaking beans for further reduction of the problematic compounds.
- Drain and rinse your beans and place in a large stockpot. Refill the pot with fresh water till beans are covered by a few inches of water and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
- When beans are fully cooked, add all remaining ingredients. (If using canned beans, rinse them well and add to the pot.)
- You can mash some of the beans if you'd like a soup with a creamier texture and don't want to bother with a blender.
- Simmer, covered, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Check seasoning and consistency and add more stock or thyme according to taste.
- Soup that’s too thick benefits from some more liquid; if it seems too thin, remove the cover to let some liquid burn off.
- Serve with a big spoonful of grated Parmesan (or a vegan version) to give it extra richness and flavor.
I make this soup as a chunky stew, but if you want it creamier, you can blend half the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender.
In the last 5 minutes of cooking, you can add ½ cup fresh or frozen spinach or cooked kale for an extra nutritional boost.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 347Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1091mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 16gSugar: 4gProtein: 24g
Nutritional information was auto-generated based on serving size, number of servings, and typical information for the ingredients listed. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, please calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients and amounts used, using your preferred nutrition calculator. Under no circumstances shall this website or author be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the given nutritional information. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate and complete.
I hope you love this vegetarian white bean soup recipe! Let me know what you think 🙂
Vegetarian soups are an easy and delicious way to eat healthy on a budget. Want more tips for making the healthiest food affordable? Grab The Savvy Guide to Eating Healthy on a Budget here.
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Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.