This super simple potato and white bean soup is healthy, filling, and vegan. With nutritious cannellini beans and a hearty serving of kale, this easy soup recipe doesn't require a long simmer time. Ready in 45 minutes!
A distant cousin of family-favorite escarole and beans, this potato and white bean soup recipe has taken on many forms in my kitchen throughout the years. I usually have some form of potato, broth, canned white beans, non-dairy milk, and leafy greens on hand, meaning this tasty, healthy soup is only 45 minutes away at all times.
Not to sell the actual soup itself short, but I am ALL about the toppings here. Lemon juice, olive oil, or good-quality balsamic vinegar (or all three!) transform a solid base recipe into something we absolutely crave.
Note: The photos in this post were updated in September 2023 from its initial publish date of January 2017. Over the years I've slightly adapted the recipe: I now double the beans, use a pre-made spice blend, and add a few extra toppings. The changes are reflected in the recipe card below.
Reasons to Love This Soup
- Blending the potatoes, onions, and one can of beans is a healthy way to thicken up a creamy soup without adding cream.
- Adding the other can of beans after blending adds welcome texture.
- Using a less-expected seasoning blend adds a unique and tasty flavor, but your favorite all-purpose spices totally work in this versatile recipe.
- The serving suggestions! Over the nearly seven years I've been making this soup I've perfected the finishing touches that truly take this potato bean soup over the top.
- Potatoes: This potato and white bean soup is blended, so it's not important to use a variety that holds up well to a brisk simmer. Russet or Yukon gold are my usual picks.
- White Beans: Cannellini beans (also known as white kidney beans) are a popular option for their mild flavor, though great Northern beans are very similar and work, too. Rinsing and draining canned beans removes a sizable amount of sodium.
- Broth: Either vegetable or chicken broth mesh nicely with these flavors. I always choose a reduced-sodium variety.
- Milk: Using non-dairy milk ensures this recipe remains vegan. I've come to love oat milk in this soup, especially "extra creamy" oat milk. Unsweetened almond milk is another good option.
- Garlic: And a lot of it!
- Seasoning: The base flavor of this soup is mild, so you have creative license to mix and match dried herbs and spices as you like. Herbes de Provence is my secret ingredient in Guinness beef stew, and adds a special touch to creamy white bean soup.
- Kale: Wilted in at the end of the cook time to provide bite and a whole host of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A and K, fiber, and folate. Kale has a huge benefit over spinach in soups in that it doesn't get overly wilted and slimy. Curly kale or Lacinato (also known as dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale) are all fine.
- Sauté - Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until golden and becoming tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer - Pour in the broth and add chopped potatoes and seasoning. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Blend - Add one can of the beans and milk and blend to your preferred consistency.
- Wilt - Stir in the other can of beans and the chopped kale, then cook until the kale is wilted and tender.
At its base this potato and white bean soup is nutritious with a satisfying and hearty texture, but doesn't have a bold flavor. Understandable, given that potatoes and white beans aren't exactly pungent powerhouses!
Over the years I've landed on three delicious add-ins for serving that truly take this soup to the next level. Choose one, two, or all three (usually me) in line with your tastes.
- Lemon Juice: I will squeeze the juice from half of a lemon into the pot of soup before ladling into bowls. It doesn't really add any lemon flavor, but provides a noticeable background brightness.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Forever a favorite for drizzling on creamy soups.
- Balsamic Vinegar: With its rich, smooth flavor, good-quality balsamic is a game-changer when it comes to accent touches for serving. I keep a bottle of condiment-grade balsamic vinegar on hand for dipping bread, finishing risotto (and farrotto!), topping soups, and more. It's a great middle ground between pricey real deal traditional balsamic and the standard supermarket stuff.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Blending - If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully transfer a portion of the soup at a time to a stand blender to puree, then return to the pot. Make sure to do this in batches so the blender doesn't overflow with hot soup.
- Blender Alternative - Use a potato masher to break up the potatoes and beans. The soup won't become as smooth as it would with electric blending, but will have a more rustic but still enjoyable texture.
- Storage - Store leftover soup in air-tight containers in the refrigerator and consume within 3-4 days.
Potato and White Bean Soup FAQs
Yes. Add leftover portions to a freezer-safe air-tight container or freezer bag. Cool in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer for up to several months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Switching up the dried spices used is an easy way to take this soup in a different flavor direction. Italian seasoning or the individual dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc.) works well. Also consider adding crushed red pepper flakes or several dashes of hot sauce if you like heat.
More Creamy Soup Recipes
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Potato and White Bean Soup with Kale
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
- 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 pound Russet or Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence or your preferred dried seasonings
- 2 15.5-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 bunch (about 9 ounces) Lacinato kale or curly kale
- Half of a lemon juiced
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Condiment-grade balsamic vinegar for drizzling
- Add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot set over medium heat. Once heated, add the onion and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper.
- If there are browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, pour in a splash of the broth to deglaze it, scraping them up. Add the rest of the broth, the potatoes, and the Herbes de Provence (or whichever dried spices you're using). Cover the pot, adjust the heat so it's at a nice simmer, and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Use this time to prep the kale: slice away the leaves from the center tough stem and chop them into roughly bite-sized pieces. Discard the stems or reserve for another purpose. Set aside the kale leaves for now (do not add them to the pot yet).
- Once the potatoes are tender, add one can of drained and rinsed beans and the milk to the pot and let heat for 1-2 minutes. Immersion blend the soup until smooth or to your preferred consistency.
- Stir in the remaining can of rinsed and drained beans and add the chopped kale. Simmer uncovered for 8 or so minutes, or until the kale has wilted.
- At this point taste for seasonings: add more salt or pepper as desired, other dried spices, crushed red pepper for heat, etc. Stir in the juice of half of a lemon.
- Serve alongside crusty bread and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and/or condiment-grade balsamic vinegar.
- Store leftover soup in an air-tight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Once cooled, leftover portions can also be frozen for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Milk: Oat milk (extra-creamy or original) or almond milk work well. Lite coconut milk is fine to use if you don't mind its flavor.
- Leafy Greens: Fresh spinach is a good substitute for kale, but it will reduce more and can become a bit slimy. If going that route, it will only require a couple of minutes to wilt.
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer