Tuscan White Bean Soup is a comforting soup that’s loaded with flavor from roasted garlic, pancetta, veggies, and herbs.  This soup is great as a precursor to a larger meal but is bold enough to shine by itself, or alongside a salad or sandwich. 

White bowl of Tuscan white bean soup.


Tuscan White Bean Soup may be one of the easiest soups you can make.  

We love it because it is nourishing, filling, and completely budget-friendly. 

It’s also customizable so if you want to make it vegetarian, or vegan you can do that by omitting the chicken stock, pancetta, and Parmigiano Reggiano rind.  It will still have incredible flavor thanks to the roasted garlic!

Roasted garlic Tuscan white bean soup is great with a side of garlic bread and a green salad with Italian vinaigrette but also pairs well with sandwiches, like our hot roast beef sandwich with onion jam.

Recipe ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: chicken stock, cannellini beans, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, olive oil, pancetta, rosemary, and Parmigiano rinds.
  • Garlic. An entire head of garlic is roasted for this recipe. This simple addition is easy to make and amplifies the flavor of this soup.  The roasted garlic can be made in advance and saved for up to 1 week. 
  • Beans. I used a bag of dried cannellini beans for this Tuscan white bean soup.  If you’re doing the same, be sure to soak and soften the beans overnight or they will not be tender enough for the soup.  A great alternative is to use canned cannellini beans that have been drained of their liquid, but not rinsed.  
  • Pancetta. This adds great flavor to the Tuscan white bean soup. You can also use bacon if you can’t find pancetta. If you’re making vegetarian, omit the pancetta and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
  • Stock. Use homemade chicken stock, or a stock made from low-sodium chicken base.
  • Rosemary. Roasted garlic and rosemary make a perfect combo and I love how the flavors complement each other in the soup.
  • Parmigiano rinds. These are optional but highly recommended!

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to make it

First, roast the garlic

  1. Preheat your oven to 400f and slice off the top 1/4 inch of a head of garlic to expose the top of the cloves.  Place the cut side up on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Wrap the garlic in the foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes. (Photo #1)
Roasted garlic process collage with sliced head of garlic raw, and after roasting.
  1. Remove the garlic from the oven and allow it to cool.  Once cool, gently squeeze the bottom of the garlic head to release the cloves.   Note: The roasted garlic can be made up to 1 week ahead to speed up the process. (Photo #2)

Next, make the soup

  1. Dice 4 ounces of pancetta, 1 large onion, 4 celery ribs, and 3 medium carrots. (Photo #1)
Tuscan white bean soup recipe process shot collage group number one showing diced pancetta and pancetta in pot with oil.
  1. In a large pot, saute the pancetta in a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat until most of the fat has rendered (about 10 minutes).  (Photo #2)
  2. Next, add the celery, onion, and carrots and continue to cook for 10 more minutes or until the veggies have softened. (Photo #3)
Recipe process shot collage group number two showing sauteed carrots, celery, onion in pot, and adding roasted garlic to pot.
  1. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds, then add the roasted garlic cloves. (Photo #4)
  2. Add 6 cups of low-sodium chicken stock, 1 Parmigiano Reggiano rind (optional), 1 large bay leaf, 3 sprigs of rosemary, and 1 pound of cannellini beans.  Note: If using dried cannellini beans, use 1 pound and soak them overnight in a pot of water prior to using in the soup.  If using canned, use 3 16-ounce cans that have been drained of their liquid. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. (Photo #5)
Recipe process shot collage group number three showing beans, stock, rosemary in pot, and pot simmering after all is cooked.
  1. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the beans against the side of the pot to help thicken the soup.  As an alternative, you can use an immersion blender or regular blender to further thicken.  If using either type of blender, remove the rosemary, bay leaf, and Parmigiano rinds prior to blending.  Taste test the soup and adjust salt and pepper levels to taste.  If you’ve not already done so, remove the rind, rosemary, and bay leaf prior to serving in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, and crusty bread.  Enjoy! (Photo #6)
How do I soak and soften dried beans?

The best way to soften dried beans is to soak them overnight. Then in the morning, rinse the beans and place in a pot and add water about an inch higher than the beans and bring to a moderate simmer for 10 minutes. Then, turn the burner to low and cover the pot. Allow them to sit on low heat for an hour or so and check every 30 minutes for tenderness. If your beans are old, they may never soften so make sure the beans you’re using aren’t expired.

Top tips

  • Consistency. Some people prefer a looser white bean soup, while others like it on the thicker side.  Customize this to your preference when mashing or blending the beans.  Blending the beans will yield a thicker, creamier soup.  If you wind up with a soup that’s too thick, simply add a touch of water or chicken stock to loosen it back up.
  • Parmigiano rinds. We always recommend saving your Parmigiano rinds as they add great flavor to soups, like pasta e fagioli, or sauces. Some Italian grocery stores will sell just the rinds in their cheese section. If you don’t see any, ask the cheesemonger and they’ll likely have some for you.
  • Use homemade stock. Homemade chicken stock not only adds superior flavor, it also gives you greater control over the sodium level in your food and I always recommend using it if you can!
Tuscan white bean soup in black bowl with Parmigiano Reggiano block in background.

Our favorite soups

We love soup, especially in the cooler months.  Here are a few of our absolute favorites that we know you’ll love. 

If you’ve enjoyed this Tuscan White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

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Tuscan White Bean Soup

4.91 from 33 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Roasted garlic time: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Tuscan white bean soup is a hearty soup that's loaded with great flavor from roasted garlic, pancetta, rosemary, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve with crusty bread and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 ribs celery diced
  • 3 medium carrots diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans soaked overnight and softened, or 3 16-ounce cans
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock plus more for thinning
  • 1 head garlic roasted
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 small Parmigiano Reggiano rind optional
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

For the roasted garlic

  • Preheat oven to 400f. Cut off the top 1/4-inch of the garlic, exposing the top of the cloves. Place the head cut side up on a sheet of foil and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Wrap tightly with the foil and place onto a baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden and soft.

For the soup

  • In a large heavy pot saute the pancetta in olive oil over medium-low heat until most of the fat renders (about 10 minutes). Next, add in the celery, onion, and carrots and continue to cook for about 10 more minutes or until the veggies are softened.
  • Add in the crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the roasted garlic cloves, chicken stock, Parmigiano rind, bay leaf, rosemary, and beans. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Mash the beans with a wooden spoon against the side of the pot to help thicken the soup. For a thicker soup use an immersion or regular blender.
  • Taste test the soup and adjust salt and pepper levels to taste. Remove the Parmigiano rind, rosemary stem, and bay leaf before serving. If the soup is too thick, thin with a bit more stock or water.
  • Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan, and crusty bread on the side. Enjoy!

Notes

  • This recipe assumes that the dried beans have been soaked and softened. See the FAQ above on how to soften beans for more information. You can also use canned beans which are already soft and require no prep other than draining.
  • Greens like escarole, spinach, or kale can be added to brighten up the soup.
  • The roasted garlic can be prepped in advance and saved in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • For a vegetarian dish use vegetable stock and omit the pancetta, chicken stock, and Parmigiano rind.
  • Make sure to serve with plenty of crusty bread, grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and hot red pepper flakes.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.6g | Protein: 27.6g | Fat: 8.6g | Saturated Fat: 2.7g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 578mg | Potassium: 1411mg | Fiber: 20.8g | Sugar: 5g | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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76 Comments

  1. We have made this soup several times and it has become a family favorite! So far, we have always used canned beans as I haven’t been able to find dried cannellini beans in our area. We have also made it without the pancetta for our vegetarian daughter and she loved it! Note: The first time I made this I used bacon because I didn’t have pancetta and it was excellent!

  2. I can’t wait to try this soup! I wanted you to know that last week I made your pot roast recipe. It was, hands-down, the most delicious pot roast we’ve ever eaten! Jan Sowalsky Clifton Park, NY!

  3. Hey James — love l your recipes and looking forward to trying this soon. But a question…. I’m confused on the cooking time. Using dried/soaked cannellini beans, is this really done in 20-30 minutes?

    1. Hi John, thanks for the question. If the beans are tender after soaking, yes. If the beans aren’t soft, then it will take longer. Hope that helps!

  4. I made pasta fazool came out excellent last week I made lentils w sausage it was best I ever made never put sausage in it before but will continue to make it that way thank you I use your recipe often and am never disappointed thank you Jim and Tara🥰🐝

  5. 5 stars
    This is the best soup I have ever tasted! My husband liked it so much that I’ve made it three times in the span of about two weeks! Incredibly satisfying. This is now one of our routine recipes. Thank you!

  6. 5 stars
    This soup is Bomb! I made a garlic confit, and used the cloves and oil from that in the soup. The addition of Parm Reg rind was absolutely smashing. I baked rosemary focaccia and made croutons to garnish the soup. Thank you for this recipe! xx Sara

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and it’s always a winner. I changed it up this time. I prepped last night and threw it all in a crockpot this morning. It was a little thin so next time I’ll use less stock for crockpot. I thickened with a few slices of torn bread. Added some spinach that needed used. Very good. This will be in rotation this winter for sure.