Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe – a Completely Different Twist on Vegetable Soup

What recipes do you do by rote, on auto pilot, with your eyes half-closed? My daily vegetable soup is one of the ones in my repertoire, as automatic as putting the milk back in the fridge. But to keep myself in a positive relationship with my favorite jeans with healthy lunches, I need a little novelty in my lunch bowl. This week, I’m kicking things up Emeril style, with his Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe. This is one of the recipes that he developed for the #SoupinaSnap Soup Month Snapware campaign.

bowl of tuscan white bean soupThis Tuscan White Bean soup was downright thrilling. I doused it with lemon juice and liberally sprinkled shredded parmesan on top. My mouth was singing with flavor. It was the perfect antidote to keeping my spirits up amidst the piles of graying snow outside.

Make soup singI’ll share the recipe with Emeril’s instructions exactly as I received them. I changed a few things, due to time and lack of ingredients. I’ll note that in the ingredient list as you decide what substitutions you want to make. The most significant time-saver was to use canned beans instead of beans soaked overnight. I’d gotten Emeril’s blessing on it during the hangout: he guaranteed there would be no loss in flavor or texture as long as the canned beans were well rinsed.

mashed up cannelloni beansIn addition to the canned beans, I used homemade chicken stock, another ig topic in our hangout last week. I am sadly lacking in fresh herbs in my freezer and kitchen right now so opted for dried ones, something I plan to remedy as soon as the construction crew has left our house. And lastly, instead of broccoli rabe, I used fresh broccoli florets, a substitution that worked well and that I’ll be repeating. Whatever hearty green you have on hand will work in this flavorful Tuscan vegetable soup.

When you roast a chicken, don't throw out the bones! They make great homemade chicken stock that you can freeze into cubes to make soup or sauces.
When you roast a chicken, don’t throw out the bones! They make great homemade chicken stock that you can freeze into cubes to make soup or sauces.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for Emeril’s Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe. It’s destined to become a soup by rote recipe in my house, and I hope yours too. You’ll find another one of Emeril’s zingy soup recipes, Creamy Tomato, on Julie’s website, Red Head Can Decorate.

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe - a Completely Different Twist on Vegetable Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Italian American
Serves: 10 cups
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cups onion, diced small
  • 1 cup celery, diced small
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock, homemade or canned
  • 1 quart of water
  • 2 pounds of dried white beans (cannelloni, baby lima, or great northern), rinsed, picked over, and soaked overnight, drained (I used canned beans, rinsed thoroughly and cut the soup cooking time down to 20 minutes)
  • 1 piece parmesan rind, about 1 to 3 inches
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ pounds of broccoli rabe, tough stem ends trimmed, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 ounces of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Heat the olive oil in an 8 quart pot over medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, dried Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the chicken stock, water, beans, parmesan rind, and bay leaf and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove about 1 cup of beans from the pot and smash them with the back of spoon. Return the smashed beans to the soup and add the remaining salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until the broth slightly thickens, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the broccoli rabe, rosemary sprig and continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is just tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove the parmesan rind, bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Serve and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, as desired.


One Response to Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe – a Completely Different Twist on Vegetable Soup

  1. This looks so amazing, Vanessa! It was such a pleasure meeting you last week. I was sooo nervous, and you really helped by opening up the conversation. Thank you for that! I will look for you on FB, and I am pinning your soup! XO ~ Julie Redhead Can Decorate

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