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4.97 from 33 votes

Escarole and Bean Soup

Escarole and bean soup with potatoes and pancetta simmered in a chicken-based broth is nourishing, delicious, and can be ready in under an hour.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta diced
  • 3 ribs celery diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans soaked overnight, or 3 16-ounce cans
  • 1 head escarole washed and chopped
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock plus more to thin as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small Parmigiano Reggiano rind optional
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano for serving


  • In a large heavy pot saute the pancetta in olive oil over medium-low heat until most of the fat renders (about 10-12 minutes). Next, add in the celery and onion and continue to cook for about 7 more minutes or until the veggies are softened.
  • Add in the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to coat with the oil.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, then add the chicken stock, Parmigiano rind, and beans. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.
  • Let the soup simmer for around 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes and beans are tender. Using a wooden spoon, mash some of the beans and potatoes against the side of the pot to help thicken the soup.
  • Next, add the escarole and cook until tender. Once tender (about 5 minutes) season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock or water to thin to desired consistency.
  • Remove the cheese rind and serve in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano. Make sure to serve with plenty of crusty Italian bread as well. Enjoy!



  • Outer leaves and the core of escarole should be discarded.  To clean escarole, use a large salad spinner or soak leaves in a large bowl with cold water for 5 minutes then remove and change the water 1-2 more times.  The dirt and grit will move to the bottom of the bowl.
  • If using dried beans that have been soaked overnight, be sure they've softened a bit before adding to the soup.  If they haven't, boil them in a separate pot for 5 minutes, then simmer until softened.
  • For a vegetarian dish use vegetable stock and omit the pancetta and chicken stock.
  • Make sure to serve with plenty of crusty bread, grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and hot red pepper flakes on the side.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.


Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 432mg | Potassium: 1320mg | Fiber: 18.1g | Sugar: 2.4g | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 6mg