Tuscan Three Bean Soup

30 Mar

tuscan three bean soup

One of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned about cooking is to be adaptable. Being able to read a recipe and then adjust it to the ingredients you have on hand and to your taste preferences will help you enjoy cooking more and yield some amazingly delicious results in the kitchen (even if there are a few disasters now and again). Take this soup, for instance. When I set out to cook it, it was intended as a chickpea soup. While I’m normally quite good about gathering all my ingredients before starting to cook (another valuable lesson), I somehow didn’t realize until halfway through cooking this that I didn’t have enough chickpeas. No matter, though, I quickly grabbed a few different cans and changed this to a three bean soup. That kale about to go bad in the fridge? Might as well toss that in too! The end result was hearty, tasty, and, dare I say, probably even better than what I’d have made if I’d had enough chickpeas in the first place!

Although the ingredient list looks long, they’re mostly basic ingredients that you probably have around (or am I the only one who has a cupboard filled with cans and cans of different varieties of beans?). And if you happen to have a different set of beans in your cupboard, feel free to adapt and use whichever beans you like best (although if you’re looking at a whole lot of black beans, I think you’ll be better off with my chipotle black bean soup). The flavoring in this soup is fairly traditional: mirepoix (onion, carrots, and celery), garlic, thyme, rosemary, and balsamic vinegar to finish it off. You’re going to want a really large pot to hold all of this soup. Great if you’re trying to feed a hungry family (with all the beans in there plus the kale, it’s sure to fill everyone up) or just want to have enough leftovers for a week or two.

Tuscan Three Bean Soup (adapted from Daily Waffle)
Yield: 8 – 10 servings


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil*
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 whole cloves garlic (optional)**
  • 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large (28 – 32 oz) tomatoes***
  • 1 bunch kale, torn or chopped
  • 4 – 6 cups stock****
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 4″ stalks rosemary*****
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

*This is a good place to substitute bacon fat if you keep it around.
**I love tossing these in because they get all soft and mellow and can either provide a fun bite in the finished soup (if you leave it less pureed) or a little extra garlicky sweetness (if you puree it more).
***Diced, whole, or crushed all work.
****Adjust depending on how thick you want your finished soup to be.
*****Or substitute 1/2 Tbsp dried rosemary.


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then add 1 onion, diced, 1 carrot, diced, 2 ribs celery, diced, and sautee until the onions are translucent, about 5 – 10 minutes.
  2. Add 3 cloves garlic, minced and 4 whole cloves garlic, and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, 1 large (28 – 32 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed, 1 large (28 – 32 oz) tomatoes, 1 bunch kale, torn or chopped, 4 – 6 cups stock, 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme, and 2 3″ stalks rosemary. Stir together, and bring to a boil, then lower heat, and let simmer until the beans are softened and kale is cooked, about 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard the rosemary stalks, then transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency.
  5. Stir in 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve topped with parmesan cheese and an extra drizzle of balsamic.

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2 Responses to “Tuscan Three Bean Soup”

  1. Stephanie May 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    I made this soup, and OH MY, it is fabulous!! It has an incredible depth of flavor from the Rosemary. My boyfriend and I have been licking the bowls clean all week. Thank you for a great recipe!

    • Claire May 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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