Feb 16, 2015

Creamy Escarole and Cannellini Bean Soup + Exciting News!

Hello, dearest readers! I have been away from you for tooooo long. But, exciting news… my first book is off to the publisher! It’s quite a process, let me tell you. So many details! But it’s worth all of the effort because I will have a series of beautiful cookbooks to share with you. The first one is loaded with satisfying, nutritious smoothies, some of the recipes being from this blog, and of course many new ones. It will be released some time in May—just in time for summer smoothie madness. Yippee!

On to today’s post… If you grew up in an Italian household, like I did, you are no doubt familiar with this rustic, “peasant food” dish. What are peasant foods? They are characteristically comprised of one-dish meals, that use ingredients which are accessible and inexpensive. In other words, instead of “eating like a king,” these types of dishes would be more suited for peasants. All in favor of peasant food eating say “aye!” Aye! Because foods fit for kings and queens are primarily what have caused the rampant rise in chronic diseases of the west. I’ll take a rustic bowl of beans and greens over a rich, artery-clogging meal any day.

Cannellini beans were originally cultivated in Argentina by Italian immigrants and later taken back to Italy, where they are now grown commercially. They contain high levels of protein, essential minerals and fiber while maintaining low levels of fats. Escarole is a lettuce and a member of the chicory family. Like romaine, leaf lettuce and other dark, leafy greens, escarole is a powerhouse of nutrition. It is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds.

With minimal ingredients, this dish is so easy to make and is the perfect “Italian greens and beans.” I puréed one of the cans of beans which created a wonderfully, creamy and nutritious soup base.  Mangia!


  • 1 large head of escarole
  • 2 cans no-salt-added cannellini beans
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼-½ tsp red chile flakes (or omit, depending on how hot you prefer it)


  1. Chop the escarole into about 2″ pieces and rinse well.
  2. Place in a soup pot with a few tablespoons of water, the garlic and red pepper flakes and simmer until the escarole is soft and wilted. Stir frequently, tossing for even cooking. Add more water if needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Blend or purée one can of beans with their liquid.
  4. Add the puréed beans, the remaining can of beans, including the liquid from the can, and the tomato to the soup pot.
  5. Simmer until heated through.
  6. Serve topped with some nutritional yeast if desired.

Serves 3-4. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

10 responses to “Creamy Escarole and Cannellini Bean Soup + Exciting News!”

  1. lightwork11 says:

    I can't wait to see your book, your recipes are fabulous!

  2. lightwork11 says:

    I grew up in an Italian family. This type of dish is one of many that perfectly fit my menus when I became a vegetarian twenty-one years ago, and then a vegan. My version of "fast food" is to combine frozen organic vegetables, beans and pasta (or other grain) for a quick, healthy meal. Grandma Rosy's excellent, rustic food was wonderful then and is still my favorite way to eat.

  3. moonwatcher says:

    Oh Helyn, this looks fabulous!! I am so going to make it. 🙂 Beans and greens and/or "pasta e fagioli" certainly remind me of my Italian background too! I am told parts of my Dad's family went to Argentina to settle instead of America so I was fascinated about this factoid about cannellini beans! AND. . .congratulations on your book! Very happy for you! And here's to "peasant food"!!

  4. Sara says:

    This soup is BEAUTIFUL! All the colors are just as they should be and it looks so fresh and delicious. Well done you… (as always!) I will be trying this in my own kitchen very soon as the cold weather has returned once again. Thanks for all that you do!

  5. Helyn says:

    I love your "fast food" combination. Brilliant!

  6. Helyn says:

    Yes, I believe many Italians settled in Argentina! Thanks so much for your good wishes on the book, Maria! :))

  7. Helyn says:

    You're so welcome, Sara! Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  8. Amanda Kay says:

    I love your site. My great grandfather came over from Italy as a child. This looks super yummy and super easy. Thank you!

  9. Helyn says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Amanda! I hope you try it!!

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