White Bean & Spinach Soup

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A while back, I got an issue of Real Simple in the mail that included a 4-week meal plan. I had been in a bit of a meal slump at the time, so the idea of having someone else plan out my menu for the month was something I eagerly embraced. 

Some of the meals turned out to be duds, or just plain old unspectacular. Other meals have worked their way into my staple recipes, surprising me by their ease of assembly and fantastic flavors. This White Bean & Spinach Soup is one of those recipes.

You know, this recipe is just so darn simple that I might not have thought twice about it. Yes, it's delicious and tasty, but is it something worth blogging about? But here's the thing: I happened to make this soup on a night when I was bringing a meal to a new mom. She loved it, and even asked for the recipe, remarking on how interesting and tasty it was. The compliment got me thinking. Sometimes simple ingredients can come together in a special way. Like this soup, where white beans and spinach in a broth--something completely unassuming and completely ordinary, something, in a way, completely "forgettable"--can be transformed into the extraordinary: warmth, comfort, satisfaction.

Really, this soup is so simple, so adaptable, but so delicious that I think, if you give it a try, it's a recipe you too might not forget. 

Just a note: Oftentimes, I'll throw in some leftover cooked chicken or turkey breast. And I like to serve this recipe with a loaf of fresh bread, or even better, frico-style grilled cheese (a technique I learned from Smitten Kitchen's Instagram feed). That's when you fry up the sandwich bread with cheese on the inside AND outside. It's pretty much amazing. Per Deb's recommendation, I made swiss grilled cheese sandwiches, frico-style, with a smear of dijon mustard (pictured). Heavenly. 

White Bean & Spinach Soup


  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped

  • 1 small garlic clove, minced

  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

  • 2 (15 oz.) cans cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

  • 9 oz. fresh spinach, chopped

  • salt and pepper

  • optional additions/toppings: sliced chicken or turkey breast, halved cherry tomatoes, a sprinkle of grated swiss cheese, or a few chopped deli-style red peppers (pictured)


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium high heat. Stir in the onion and cook until translucent and tender, about five minutes. Toss in the garlic and stir for one minute more.

  2. Pour in the broth and half of the beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for twenty minutes.

  3. Puree the remaining half of the beans. (An immersion blender comes in handy for soups like this!) Stir the pureed beans carefully into the hot soup. Add in the spinach and stir until it wilts, about one minute. Serve with toppings and a side of bread (or grilled cheese!).

Makes dinner for 4.  

Adapted from Real Simple Spinach and White Bean Soup (September 2016).