Escarole Soup with White Beans

An entire head of curly-leaved escarole goes into this pot.  The slightly bitter flavor of these winter-loving greens compliments creamy Italian beans.  If you have a hard Parmesan rind left after the cheese has been grated away, don’t toss it out, throw it into the pot.  It’s an old trick that add lots of deep flavor.  Be sure to fish it out before serving though, or someone will receive a gooey surprise.

If you cook your own beans rather than using canned, save the cooking liquid and substitute some for the broth.

Freeze leftover soup in plastic containers for a quick dinner or lunchbox choice.

Serves 8


  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 fat cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 fennel bulb (or 2 celery stalks), diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 2 medium-sized waxy potatoes, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 head escarole
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, carrot and fennel and cook until onions begin to brown.  Stir frequently.  Reduce heat a bit and continue cooking until vegetables become golden brown and very soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add tomatoes, stir and cook until tomatoes are soft.
  2. Add broth, Italian seasoning, potatoes and salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. While soup is simmering, rinse escarole leaves well in the sink.  Remove leaves from the stem base and make sure any trace of dirt is gone.  Roughly chop greens.  Warm a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add red pepper flakes, then escarole (a bit of water left on the leaves is good).  Cook until greens are wilted and have begun to take on a bit of brown color.
  4. Add greens to the soup pot, along with beans.  Cook for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and add more as necessary.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with a sprinkling of cheese.
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