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Escarole and White Beans

Mangia bene! Escarole and white beans–an Italian classic. They certainly make a hearty meal-in-a-bowl that will warm you on a dreary rainy day.

Escarole and White Beans

This recipe for delicious fragrant escarole and white beans soup comes from the Garafalo family. John Garafalo grows escarole for Ranui Gardens, our CSA, this summer the natacha varietal. His mother Diane, sent me the recipe. (I substitute vegetable broth for her low-fat chicken broth.)

A search on Pinterest will lead you to more pairings of escarole and white beans than you can ever possibly make. Many of the recipes include meat—like sausage, meatballs, or bacon/procuitto. There’s at least one that calls for sardines. Not to worry, the list is long and the photos are many–there are enough vegetarian escarole and white bean combos on Pinterest to keep us happy for a long time.

Is your menu meatless but sometimes you just hanker for sausage? When that happens to me, I bring out the soysage. Generally, I don’t go for meat substitutes, but sometimes…this vegetarian likes to pretend, so I add Gimme Lean “sausage” to my escarole and white beans.

Escarole and White Beans

Escarole belongs to the characteristically bitter endive family, but escarole leaves are more broad, lettuce-like. Like other leafy greens, escarole is full of anti-oxidant benefits and vitamins, especially vitamins A and K. When simmered in a broth, escarole turns juicy, wilty and mild–all good reasons to make this stewy soup.

Diane Garafalo says serve with crusty Italian bread–and mangia bene!

Escarole and White Beans

Note: You will be amazed at the difference when you cook your own beans instead of opening a can. Plus the broth is sooooo much more flavorful! (You want to drain off the liquid from the can.) 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.

More Escarole Recipes:

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This is an updated post with newer photos. The older soup photo at the bottom, below the recipe, was made with canned beans and vegetable stock. The updated photos show beans cooked from scratch and soup using the broth.

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Escarole and White Beans
Escarole and White Beans
This robust soup will warm you up on a cold and rainy day. Serve with a large green salad and something chocolate-y for dessert.
Author: Letty Flatt
  • 1 large bunch of escarole
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic or more to taste , chopped
  • 2 (15-oz) can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
  • Or 3 cups white beans cooked from scratch
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (see note)
  • Real 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.
  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 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. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings.
  7. Let simmer until escarole is tender and beans are soft, about 20 minutes. 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 stock.
  • Taste for salt after adding the cheese because the cheese is quite salty.

Escarole and White Beans


  • 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

  • […] herby croutons also pair well with young and tender bitter/sweet greens, like curly mizuna, and escarole’s cousin, frisée, also known as curly endive. Dress the greens with the vinaigrette and let them […] Reply · 9 September, 2014

  • […] This recipe is straightforward. You chop up a bunch of veggies, add some seasonings, cover with water, and leave to simmer on the stove for 45 minutes. Strain off the delicious liquid and stash away cold, ready for when you make a hearty soup, like this escarole and white bean soup. […] Reply · 17 October, 2015

  • […] Escarole and White Bean Soup […] Reply · 3 November, 2015

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