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Cannellini Bean Soup with Garlic and Chile

by Ben LeBlanc November 22, 2020

Cannellini Bean Soup with toast croutons

For the past few months at home, we’ve been cooking a side dish of cannellini beans in a garlic-and-chile flake-infused olive oil from Alison Roman’sDining In. The strong aromatics pair so well with the earthy and subdued taste of the beans. I had been thinking that this could work really well in a soup too, and after not being able to find a comparable soup recipe on the internet, I decided to write my own. 


1 medium Onion, diced
6 Cloves of Garlic, sliced
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cans Cannellini Beans (with their liquid)
1 quart of Water or Homemade Chicken or Vegetable Stoc
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Black Pepper


Add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to a heavy-bottomed pot. Turn heat to medium low, stirring the garlic and chile flakes as they heat up and infuse the olive oil with their flavors. Carefully watch the pot, as you don’t want to let the oil get too hot and cook the garlic or red pepper flakes too quickly, or too much. Each can burn and give an acrid taste to the soup. 

When the garlic is a light golden color and the chile flakes still have some red to them, add the diced onion, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat to medium, stir thoroughly, and saute for 5 minutes. Again, watch the garlic to make sure the garlic does not burn. 

Add the water or stock and two cans of beans and their liquid, turn heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. When the soup starts to bubble, turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Using an immersion blender, or in a traditional blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add remaining can of beans and their liquid and cook for 5 minutes. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed, then serve.

You can top this soup with so many things. A drizzle of good olive oil, grated parmesan, gremolata, crisped pancetta, or garlic croutons are all excellent calls.



  1. Feel free to use more or less garlic to match your love of that allium. 
  2. Also feel free to use less red pepper flake if you prefer less heat in your soup.
  3. If you’d like to add some greens, add 1 cup of your preferred green, chopped, when you add the last can of beans. Softer greens like spinach will only need a few minutes to cook, while heartier ones like kale will need 10-15. 
  4. Puree the entire soup if you like a fully pureed soup. Conversely, puree none if you like your soup chunky, or if you don’t feel like dirtying up a blender.
Ben LeBlanc
Ben LeBlanc

1 Response


March 04, 2021

You are truly missing the mark on this soup Ben. Just close your eyes and imagine gently sautéing the cannellini beans while they are swimming in a bath of fine EVOO with SLICED Garlic,, not chopped with shallots, red pepper flakes and pancetta. Then adding the inner leaf’s of a head of escarole not the outer tougher green leaf’s. When everyone in the pan is happy add your stock and toss in a couple of parmesan cheese rinds. Let everybody get to know each other for about 30 min and voila!!!!! Scarole and beans, Granda Ma style. Oh I didn’t tell you my one secret ingredient to put it over the top……. That’s going to cost you a couple bags of free soup!!!!!

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