Looking for a bowl of healthy comfort food? Try this lemony white bean soup, it is so delicious! Made with lots of fiber-rich beans, yummy vegetables, healthy kale and plenty of garlic, with the addition of zesty lemon to brighten up the whole dish. Perfect plant-based lunch or dinner to meal prep ahead!
There is nothing better than a nourishing and healthy cup of warm soup to cozy up over during cold winter days.
But recently I somehow accumulated an exaggerated number of canned white beans that I wanted to use up. So I whipped up a batch of this lemony white bean soup, which was in perfect timing to bring comfort to our day as it has been very chilly and stormy recently here in Maine.
Packed with wholesome white beans (3 cans!), colorful vegetables and nutrient-dense kale, this super simple soup gets its amazing Greek-inspired flavor from the addition of bright lemon juice, aromatic garlic and fresh dill.
The contrast of texture from the chewy kale, tender veggies and hearty yet creamy white beans makes this soup so irresistible. Plus, they elevate this soup with more fiber, complex carbs and plant-based protein, which will help keep you full and satisfied longer.
We also loved the fact that it is made so much healthier without adding any cream or butter. What makes the broth a little creamier and thicker is by blending a portion of the white beans with some of the broth. Such a simple trick to thicken a vegetable stock in a wholesome way!
Let me know if you give it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy recipe (one-pot meal) and quick to prepare
- Filling and nourishing soup
- Made using convenient and simple ingredients
- Well-balanced and a full meal on its own
- Loaded with fiber, plant-based protein and tons of vitamins (such as vitamin C) and minerals
- Versatile and easy to customize
- Amazing soup for when you feel under the weather
- Great for meal prep and freezer-friendly
- Naturally vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free
Ingredients you will need
(See below in the recipe card for the measurements)
- White beans: I like using canned beans for convenience. I used a combination of cannellini beans (2 cans, also called white kidney beans) with navy beans (1 can). Other types of beans work well too, such as butter beans or great Northern beans. Chickpeas would be fine, although they are less tender than other kinds of white beans, which would change the texture slightly.
- Vegetables: onion, carrot and celery make for such a great combination to boost the flavor of the broth.
- Fresh garlic: important to bring more flavor to the broth. I added 3 cloves, but feel free to add more.
- Vegetable stock: use your favorite brand that has great flavor. This time I used the vegetable broth from Hannaford, but I often also use the concentrated vegetable broth that I mix in with water for making soups.
- Kale: this amazing leafy green is packed with nutrients, which brings more wholesomeness to this soup, but I also find the chewy bite from cooked kale to be addictive here. I used Lacinato kale (or dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale), although curly kale is fine too.
- Dill: perfect in this Greek-style soup! The dill works so well with the garlic and lemon flavor, but you can swap it for oregano, thyme or rosemary if you prefer.
- Lemon: don't omit the fresh lemon juice, it brightens up the whole soup! You can start with the juice from ½ of a lemon, but keep some extra wedges on the side when serving to make your bowl of soup extra zesty if needed.
How to make this lemony white bean soup recipe
(See below in the recipe card for the full recipe)
This soup makes for a fast meal you can prep during busy weeknights. It also stores well, making it a great make-ahead dinner recipe.
Prep the ingredients
Start by draining and rinsing the white beans. Peel and chop the carrots, then dice the celery and onion.
Clean the kale, remove the larger stem in the middle and chop the leaves.
Add 1 cup of the white beans to a tall container and pour 1 cup of the broth over. Use an immersion blender to blend to smooth. You can also use a regular blender if you prefer. Set aside.
Cook the aromatics
Warm up a large pot (Dutch oven works well) over medium-high heat with a little oil (about 1 tablespoon of olive oil or use oil-spray) and then, add the onion, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt.
Cook for about 7 minutes stirring often. Then, add the garlic and cook for about 1 more minute stirring constantly.
Pour the blended bean-broth mixture over the pot with the vegetables and add the remaining 4 cups of broth, the remaining of the white beans and then the fresh dill. Stir to combine, cover and simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Once the vegetables are tender, then add the chopped kale and lemon juice, stir and simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered. Let it simmer a little longer for a thicker soup so the extra moisture can evaporate or add more broth for a brothier soup. Taste and adjust salt.
Serve while still warm with a side of crusty bread or crackers and extra lemon wedges.
- Try to cut the vegetables into bite-size pieces so they cook quicker, plus it just makes for a better overall texture.
- If you are looking for a thicker soup, then simply leave the pot uncovered the whole time the soup is simmering.
- This recipe makes enough for 4 bowls, so if you want to serve more people or simply want extra to serve for lunch the next day, then make a double batch. It stores so well and the flavor gets even better over time.
- You will need 5 cups of broth to make this soup. You will easily find 32-ounce containers of broth at the store, which is about 4 cups. Instead of opening another box for the extra cup you will need, simply use water.
- For an extra lemony soup, then add the juice of a whole lemon and feel free to also include some lemon zest.
When serving, garnish your bowl with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes for a little heat and some more fresh dill, if desired.
We love ours extra zesty, so if you do too, then make sure to serve with extra lemon wedges.
If serving as a full meal, then you can also pair your bowl of cozy soup with crusty bread or a few crackers. Makes for such a perfect lunch!
This easy white bean soup can be customized in so many ways. Here are a few variation ideas:
- Vegetables: add more veggies that you like or that need to be used up! Great ideas include cauliflower, sweet potatoes, white potatoes or zucchini. You can also add some chopped tomatoes for a tomato-y broth!
- Greens: you can swap the kale for other sturdy greens, such as collard greens, chard or mustard greens. Or for a more delicate green texture and flavor, then choose baby spinach.
- Seasonings: you can play around with the fresh herbs and spices! I love mine with lots of fresh dill, but dried herbs or other spices work too. Try oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin, paprika, dried dill or Italian seasonings.
- Cheesy: a sprinkle of nutritional yeast would be amazing to add more depth of flavor.
- Grains: to make your soup even more hearty and filling, you can add some brown rice, farro, barley or quinoa (about ¼ or ⅓ cup). Add more broth to help cook the grain and prevent the consistency from becoming too thick and adjust cooking time accordingly.
Once the soup has cooled down, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This soup makes for a great meal prep lunch recipe. You can make a large batch, transfer it to individual containers and simply grab and go to work.
Reheat using the microwave or the stove.
You can also freeze this soup in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
How can I make a thicker broth?
1- Blend: as described above, I like to start by blending some of the beans with a little broth to help thicken the soup (it acts like a cream). If you were looking for an even creamier result, then you can blend more of the beans (maybe half of it). I will also sometimes use an immersion blender and pulse a few times right into the large pot of soup until the desired consistency (although try to do this before adding the kale so the soup does not turn green).
2- Cornstarch: you can also add some cornstarch to your soup for an easy and quick way to thicken the broth. In that case, mix about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl with a little water (about 2 tablespoons) until smooth, then pour the cornstarch slurry into the soup while it is simmering. It should thicken very quickly.
Can I make it oil-free?
Yes, you can certainly make this recipe oil-free by cooking the vegetables in a small amount of water instead of oil.
More vegan soups you might like
- Lentil barley minestrone soup
- Creamy oyster mushroom soup
- Dairy-free tomato soup
- Broccoli pea soup
- Carrot celery soup
- Zucchini potato soup
- Creamy broccoli almond soup
- Vegan enchilada soup
I hope you like this white bean soup recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Lemony White Bean Soup with Kale
- Blender (or immersion blender) optional
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 2 celery sticks - diced
- 2 carrots - diced
- 3 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 3 x 15 oz canned white beans - such as cannelini or navy beans
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup fresh dill - chopped
- 4-5 leaves of kale - stems removed and chopped
- ½-1 lemon - juiced
- salt and ground black pepper - to taste
- Add one cup of the white beans to a tall container, then pour 1 cup of the broth over. Use an immersion blender to blend the beans to smooth, then set aside. You can also use a regular stand blender.
- Warm up a large pot on medium-high heat with a little oil and then, add the onion, carrot, celery with a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes or until browned and softer.
- Add the garlic, stir and cook for one more minute.
- Then, add the remaining of the white beans, the blended bean mixture, dill and the extra 4 cups of broth. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes on medium heat stirring once in a while.
- Then, add the lemon juice and kale and keep simmering for another 5 minutes or until the kale is wilted. You can simmer uncovered at this point if looking for a thicker soup. Adjust salt to your liking and you can also add more broth if needed. Enjoy!
- Storage: keep the leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat using the microwave or the stove. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Customize: you can add more vegetables (sweet potatoes, cauliflower, white potatoes, zucchini, etc), whole grains (quinoa, farro, barley, etc) or herbs/spices (cumin, dried oregano, fresh parsley, etc). Check out the blog post for more ideas!