Sunday, December 21, 2014

White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Lemon: A Simple Mark Bittman Recipe for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Looking for a quick and simple soup for a busy holiday weekend, I went to the master, Mark Bittman and his How To Cook Everything Fast. I have paged through the book several times since I got it and it is studded with colored tabs. I have had a hard time making it out of the soup section alone with the sheer number of recipes and their variations. It seems like the recipe variations are what attract me the most. I made his Spanish-Style Pasta e Fagioli a couple of months ago and although I contemplated making his Spicy Black Bean Soup this week, it was the White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Lemon variation that I wanted. 

I love white beans with rosemary and thought that the lemon would add a nice bright touch to the mix. I did make a few changes to the recipe--noted in red below. 

White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Lemon
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman 
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp olive oil (I used 1 Tbsp)
1 large onion, chopped
(I added 1 carrot and 1 stalk celery, chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4 cloves of caramelized garlic)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I used about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
4 cups cooked or canned white beans (I used 3 cans--about 6 cups mixed small white beans and cannellini beans)
4 cups veggie stock or water (I used 6 cups mixed veggie broth and water)
salt and pepper
1 lemon

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened--about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook another minute or so. 

Add the beans, stock or water, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the pot. Raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beans begin to break down, 5-10 minutes and vegetables are tender. (Bittman notes that if you have time, the longer you let the soup simmer, the more flavors will develop. Up to an hour is fine; just add more liquid if the soup starts to look dry.)

When the beans are beginning to break down, run a potato masher or immersion blender through the pot, just enough to mash or puree about half the beans. 

Squeeze in the lemon juice and taste and adjust seasoning. Serve, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil if desired. 

Notes/Results: Light but satisfying and good flavor. The lemon and rosemary are both so aromatic but are not overpowering to the beans. This is a quick pantry soup, even if you want to cook it longer for more flavor. It's a good base soup--in addition to the celery and carrot I added, other veggies like fennel, potato, spinach or other greens would work well. I think it tastes great on its own but adding a bit of grated Parmesan would be a nice touch. I would make this again. 

I am linking this recipe up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this coming week is Potluck week. The chance to make any Diana Henry recipe or a recipe from any previous IHCC chef. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post when it goes live.

If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share and have featured on A Souper Sundays post, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I've been trying to decide if I need that cookbook. It sounds like it's pretty good. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. White beans and rosemary is brilliant - I totally agree that the bit of lemon is just the thing!

  3. You might *need* it Pam. Not for the detailed time saving instructions for the recipes since you are an accomplished cook but for the number and variety of quick and tasty recipes. ;-)

  4. Yes Alicia, the lemon just brightens it up so nicely. ;-)

  5. It is Joanne. It's pouring down rain here today and I am looking forward to a big bowl for lunch. ;-)

  6. White beans, rosemary and lemon sounds like a winning combination (and that book sounds like a winner too!)

  7. This is just the right soup to warm up after a long walk at low temperatures. Winter has finally arrived here! Happy New Year!

  8. I still have the spanish style Bittman soup pinned and now this one looks like another winner! I like that you added the carrot (both because I love carrots but also because it adds a wonderful color). A squeeze of lemon and some parmesan cheese and I'd be all set!

    I've actually been buying those parmesan crisps that are like crackers in the cheese shop and putting them on top of soups. So good!

  9. I need to try the parm crisps--yum! ;-)

  10. Yes, it is a very snuggly, warming bowl of soup. Happy New Year!

  11. It's a great book Zosia--so many good recipes and variations. ;-)

  12. Your soup looks delicious, Deb! Comforting and satisfying! Thank you for linking my post to IHCC! Happy New Year!

  13. Couscous & ConsciousnessJanuary 6, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    White beans, rosemary and lemon sounds like a such a great combo, I'm sure I would gleefully slurp up every last mouthful of this.

  14. This is exactly what I am looking for now the weather has turned chilly. Thanks!


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