School’s Closed? Pass the Butter.

Tomato and White Bean Soup

There are some nice things about waking up to the automated phone message: Schools Closed Due to Inclement Weather. Sleeping in, for starters. (Though the novelty of this wears off at 8:01, which is usually about the time I first hear “Mom, I’m borrrrrred.”) Another nice thing: The realization that I was fired last year, so I am no longer required to report to an office, i.e. we are no longer gripped by panic about who is able to stay home with the kids and who absolutely cannot miss the status meeting at 10:00. (The novelty of this has yet to wear off.) And then, of course, there’s the warm-your-bones cooking. When I am snowed in my house with the kids, some primal instinct kicks in and demands that I make buttery cakes, cheesy pastas and fatty braised meats. Which, I think you’ll agree is pretty great, until the sixth time in fourteen days that you wake up to the automated message that School is Closed Due to Inclement Weather (not exaggerating) and realize you have gone through eight sticks of butter and feel like you can live off your fat until spring break. I think that’s why on Snow Day Six — which came exactly one day after Snow Day Five — I woke up determined to fight through my Land o’ Lakes hangover and replicate the tomato white bean soup my dad and I used to order at the Oyster Bar (minus the rock shrimp). The soup seemed to have all the hallmarks of a great snow day dinner (long cooking time, an ingredient list that is easy on the pantry, an aromatic oniony smell that could properly permeate an icicle-rimmed house) and none of the butter. Just a little tiny eensy-weensy piece of bacon.

Tomato and White Bean Soup
Though I haven’t tried it myself, I’m sure you could use canned beans and turn this dinner into a quick weeknight meal, i.e. the very opposite of a snow day cooking project.

Soak about 10 ounces of Great Northern or cannelini beans in water (covering beans by 2 inches) for 6 hours. Drain beans then add them to a large stockpot, covering them with water by two inches. (You can add a piece of bacon to the water here if you’d like, but I’d skip it in the next step if you do this. Remember — the name of the game is healthy!) Bring beans to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for an hour, adding water as they cook to keep the liquid level higher than beans. When beans have finished cooking, don’t drain — keep them in simmering liquid, but turn off the heat.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add a few glugs of olive oil and a slice of bacon. Add 1/2 large onion (chopped), 1 piece of celery (chopped), and 1 large carrot (chopped). Add salt and pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary (optional) and cook until vegetables are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes (I am writing this a week later, and I might have added a little less than that — can’t remember — but your pot should at this point look like the picture below.) Add a little more salt. Pour the beans and their liquid into the vegetables, reserving about 1 cup of beans. If the liquid level does not look like the picture above, add chicken or vegetable broth until it does. Remove the bacon, chop into small pieces and add back to pot. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup, adding water or broth until it reaches desired consistency. (Or, add to a blender in batches — keeping in mind you shouldn’t shut the blender lid tightly or you might have an explosion. Hold the lid with your hand and keep it slightly loose so some steam can escape as you blend. Place pureed soup in a large bowl and when you are finished, add the whole thing back to the pot.) Add your reserved beans and serve with lots of Parmesan, olive oil, and crusty bread.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 13 + 10 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)



What perfect timing! I was jumping up and down this morning when I got the call that school was closed (I am a teacher!) and I was just looking for a soup recipe. This looks delicious!


Mmm…I might just have to make this tonight! If you are substituting canned beans, how much would you recommend using?


This sounds great. As we’ve now eaten cookies, almond cake, pot roast and other assorted artery clogging goodies during the past 5 snow days I’m up for this on the next. Thanks!


I just made this!!! Thank you. It is easy, delicious, and perfect for my 3 year old. A good crusty rosemary bread and an avocado salad-perfect dinner. Thank you!


This soup sounds lovely and I will be sure to try it. But I must ask this as it seems like an ideal candidate for a slow cooker….would you, could you….explore the slow cooker with us? I have the say, especially in winter, it really helps crazed working parents have dinner on the table!! Would love, love, your take on this.


Tried this soup tonight. Big success. Thought I had bacon. Turns out I didn’t. And I used the canned beans & broth shortcut instead of cooking the beans myself. And you know what? It was great! Planning to try it again, with the bacon and the home cooked beans, but even with the changes, it’s a keeper. Thanks!


I made this last night–yum! I used canned beans and didn’t need any broth. I also used three slices of center cut bacon instead of just one. It was such a quick soup with big flavor.


Just made this soup for lunch today, sans bacon, and it was so easy and delicious!!! It was super light, super filling, and exactly what I need to keep on hand. Both kids (16mo., 3.5yrs) cleaned their bowls (perhaps that was the pasta I added to theirs?).


Crock Pot Bean Soup 1 bag mixed beans, rinsed2 leeks, cpehpod3 – 4 carrots, cut into coins4 – 5 stalks of celery, cpehpodveggie broth or water and 2-3 bullion cubes1 tbsp Herbs de Provencegreens, cpehpod. optionallemon, salt, and pepper to tasteHere’s how to make bean soup when you’re pressed for time. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes to prepare the night before, 5 minutes the morning of, and it’s pretty much ready to go when you’re back from work.The night before: To the crock pot, add the cpehpod veggies and rinsed beans. Cover with water an inch over the veggies and beans. Store in the fridge.Morning of: Pour off the water from the beans and veggies. Fill with fresh water and bullion cubes or broth to bd inch over the beans. Add the Herbs de Provence. Plug in the crock pot and turn on low. Will need to cook for 10 hours on low. Less if you do a combination of low and high.

Danielle Dall'au

I just made this last night and I AM OBSESSED. This is so delicious. I don’t have an immersion blender, so I used a food processor on everything before putting it in the Le Creuset. I also used canned white beans (one pureed, one not). This is a delicious white bean soup recipe. A classic! Thanks, as always, Jenny!


So for anyone who’s used canned beans, I’d love advice on how much to use (1 can? I know one commenter used 2) and whether to rinse the beans and use broth, or not rinse, or what. This looks delicious but my ability with a 4 y/o and toddler and working f/t to deal with dried beans is practically nil so would love to make with canned beans. Thanks!


We’re in CA, where the weather is mild, but this still looks irresistible! Making it tomorrow!


I found this recipe this week and decided to make it today. First time soaking beans. And making a soup like this. But I’m so proud of myself. Because it’s so good and I feel accomplished!