Friday, January 11, 2013

Tuscan Bean Soup

Nothing beats a bowl of soup on a cold winter day. And one of my husband's favorite soups is bean soup.

I've never been a fan of bean soup. I've tried several recipes, most of which had a ham bone simmered in the soup, and I just didn't care for it.  I always thought I did something wrong, but Ed thought it was good, so maybe I just didn't like bean soup.

But I still wanted to find a bean soup that I did like. And now I did.

I adapted this recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine. I say adapted, because I rarely go out and purchase specific ingredients but just use what I have. The bacon gave this soup wonderful flavor, the slow cooking method made the beans perfectly soft and buttery, and the one pot meal makes the cook happy.

I now have a bean soup that I love!

Tuscan Bean Soup

1 lb dried white beans (navy, white kidney, or great northern)
8 oz bacon, cut into small pieces (can also replace with sausage)
1 large onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 lb (about 8 cups) kale or collard greens, chopped (I used cabbage.)
1 can diced tomatoes

Soak beans in 3 T. salt and 2 quarts cold water for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.

In large oven proof pot (such as Dutch oven) fry bacon on the stove top. Remove bacon and saute onion and celery in drippings. Add garlic for the last minute. Stir in bacon, carrots, broth, water, bay leaves, and soaked beans. Bring to simmer. Cover pot with lid and place in 250 degree oven for 1 hour or until beans are almost tender.

Remove pot from oven and add greens and tomatoes. Return to oven for 30 more minutes until fully tender.

Remove from oven. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Remove bay leaf. Serve.


  1. How would you adapt that for the crockpot and still use the dried beans?

    1. I haven't tried it yet, but I think it would be easy to adapt to a crockpot. I would still soak the beans overnight, then cook in the crockpot most of the day, adding the tomatoes and greens after the beans are soft. Check some other crockpot recipes to get an idea for how long the beans will need to cook.

      If you try it, let me know how it worked for you.

  2. I never cared for bean soup, either, although I like bean casseroles. I look forward to trying this recipe; maybe it will be the one for me, too. Thanks, Gina.

  3. I love bean soups and this one sounds delish! Can't wait to try it. Love the extra veggies added ~


  4. I have always enjoyed a good bean soup and I really like the idea of the bacon instead of the ham. Got this recipe copied down, so the next soup day, I'll be trying this one. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great weekend.

  5. We try to eat beans regularly since they are inexpensive and we do grow Jacob Cattle. I'll need to try this recipe soon. Sounds really yummy!

  6. That looks good! I have 2 bean soups on my blog: the one is my mom's traditional bean soup with a ham hock that actually looks similar to this one (, and the other is what we call Tuscan bean soup (

    We also love black eyed peas cooked by themselves until very soft. Occasionally I throw in an onion near the beginning, or thicken it up at the end with some milk and flour shaken in the batter shaker. Salt and pepper, of course. Then we eat it with cornbread and greens on the side. SO good.


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