Cannellini Bean Soup with Wilted Greens

A hearty white bean soup is the perfect winter meal for me. P and I have tried many recipes over the years and have never found them satisfying. Finally, with this recipe from Alice Waters' always-brilliant Chez Panisse Vegetables, we have found the Cannellini bean soup for us. We had to share with you.

We used two different greens for our soup and doubled what the recipe called for. I bought some vibrant dandelion greens at Monterey Market and we grew these stunningly dark and delicate mustard greens in our backyard. It feels good to finally be able to eat something from our sleepy winter garden.

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 small carrot, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup dried Cannellini beans (or Great Northern Beans)
  • one chunk of prosciutto
  • 2 medium tomatoes (we used cherry tomatoes instead)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 bunch spicy greens: dandelion, mustard, arugula, turnip... (Waters only called for one bunch of greens, but I think this soup can handle two.)
  • olive oil
  • dozen sage leaves
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved

Submerge beans in water and soak overnight.

In your soup pot, cook carrots, onions, and garlic with 1/4 cup olive oil and a splash of water. Stew until translucent. Add soaked beans, bay, prosciutto and cook a few more minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and cook a few more minutes. (Waters calls for the tomatoes to be peeled and seeded. We skipped this step and the soup was still delicious.)

Add chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 1/4 hour until beans are cooked through but not falling apart. (We needed to cook our beans longer than this because they were still underdone.)

Meanwhile remove the stems from greens and cut leaves into 1 inch strips. When beans are cooked, add the chopped greens, and simmer for another 10-20 minutes until greens are tender. Remove prosciutto and discard. Salt soup to taste.

While greens are cooking, in another pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and quickly fry sage leaves. Set them aside on a piece of paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Top the finished soup with fried sage leaves, Parmesan shavings, and freshly ground pepper.

Serves 6


  1. Such a pleasure to read Yummy Supper. I'm sick in bed with a soar throat and purusing you soups. THIS is what I am going to make for tomorrow's dinner. I have all the ingredients, mostly from the yard, except the prociutto. A walk down to Magnani's and I can do it even on a school day.
    Thank you!

  2. Laura, I'm sorry to hear you are feeling sick! Not a great way to start the year. I hope you enjoy this soup - it is a favorite of mine. And with your own garden veg... yum! Wishing you well,

  3. Wow, I would think this amazing soup recipe would have about 100 comments by now. I just finished eating a bowl and my boyfriend and I agree that this is the best soup I have ever made. Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe.

    1. Marry M, it has been years since I've made this soup and I'm so glad to have you remind me just how delicious it is!


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