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Vegetarian Escarole and White Bean Soup

Mangia bene! The classic Italian pairing of escarole and white beans shines in this hearty soup, a meal-in-a-bowl that’s guaranteed to brighten a dreary day. You can make escarole and white bean soup with collards or other greens as well. Cooler weather? You want this warming vegetarian soup on your menu!

Escarole and White Beans

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Around the world, many cuisines have recipes with greens like escarole or collards paired with white beans. Many include sausage, meatballs, or bacon/procuitto. I’ve even come across one that calls for sardines! This meatless escarole and white bean soup will delight vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters all.

What is escarole?

Escarole belongs to the characteristically bitter endive family. Like other leafy greens, this tangy only slightly bitter green is full of anti-oxidant benefits and vitamins, especially vitamins A and K. Escarole leaves are broad and look somewhat like green lettuce.

Simmered in broth, escarole greens becomes juicy, wilty and mild, all good reasons to make this fragrant stewy soup. When escarole isn’t available, make your soup with collard greens in place of the escarole.

Escarole and White Beans

This recipe comes from the Garafalo family. The week we found escarole in our farm share box, our local farmer’s mother sent me the recipe for her awesome white bean and escarole soup. Her recipe called for low-fat chicken broth–I just swap in vegetable broth.

Diane Garafalo suggests serving your escarole and white beans with a crusty Italian bread. Savory Cottage Cheese and Dill Muffins would also be good with this soup.

As the Garafalo family says, mangia bene–eat well!

**** If you want to give this vegetarian combo of greens and white beans a meaty sausage quality, by adding what we call “soysage”, a faux sausage meat substitute like Gimme Lean “sausage.”

Escarole and White Beans

How to Pressure Cook beans:

When you cook your own beans instead of opening a can, you will be amazed. The beans have better texture and the broth from cooking the beans is sooooo flavorful!

  • Start with 1 cup of beans and soak them overnight. Cook the beans with 2 cloves of garlic for 9 minutes in the pressure cooker, remove from the heat, and let the pressure come down naturally.
  • See my recipe for How to Cook Pinto Beans in the Pressure Cooker for more explicit directions for pressure cooking beans from scratch.

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook a delicious main course soup!

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5 from 2 votes
Escarole and White Beans
Escarole and White Bean Soup
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

This robust soup will warm you up on a dreary day. Make with collard greens if you don't have escarole. Use canned white beans or pressure cook the beans first, then build the soup on top of the beans and cooking broth. Serve with a large green salad and maybe something chocolate-y for dessert. Serves 6.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: escarole, white beans
Servings: 6 servings.
Calories: 128 kcal
  • 1 large bunch of escarole or collard leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (or more to taste) , minced
  • 3 cups cooked white beans from scratch, or 2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (see note)
  • fine sea salt , to taste (see note)
  • Freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • Crushed red pepper , to taste
  1. Cut off the bottoms of the escarole, wash the leaves thoroughly, but do not dry. Roughly tear or chop them into pieces. If using collard green, strip away and discard the stems, then chop the greens into 1-inch pieces.

  2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 15 seconds. Do not let the garlic brown.
  3. Toss the wet escarole or collards into the pot with the garlic (enjoy the sizzle), and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes.

  4. Add a few pinches of salt, grind in some pepper, and give it a pinch or two of crushed red pepper.
  5. Stir in the beans, the cheese, and the broth.
  6. Let simmer until escarole is tender and beans are soft, about 20 minutes.

  7. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings. If you wish, add more broth for a soupier consistency.

  8. Serve in individual bowls. Drizzle each serving with a splash of olive oil.
  9. Let guests add more grated cheese, if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • To cook beans from scratch: Start with 1 cup of beans and soak them overnight. Cook the beans with 2 cloves of garlic for 9 minutes in the pressure cooker, remove from the heat, and let the pressure come down naturally.
  • If using broth from beans cooked from scratch, you may not need additional vegetable broth. Taste before adding purchased broth.
  • Taste for salt after adding the cheese because the cheese is quite salty.

Nutrition information is meant to be an estimate only. The numbers will vary based on the quantity consumed, brands used and substitutions that are made.

Nutrition Facts
Escarole and White Bean Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 128 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 17mg6%
Sodium 843mg37%
Potassium 249mg7%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 2030IU41%
Vitamin C 5.2mg6%
Calcium 218mg22%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

** This is an update of the escarole and white beans soup I posted way back in 2014.


  • Love escarole! Soysages, I’m less sure about. However, it’s such a funny word that I might be willing to try them just say I can say soysages again. GREG Reply · 21 August, 2014

  • letty

    🙂 Reply · 21 August, 2014

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