I hope your Thanksgiving felt as long and relaxing as mine did! It’s hard to snap back into routine…especially after those pumpkin cinnamon rolls! But this easy and delicious Creamy White Bean Soup with Spinach and Bacon makes the transition easier!
It’s a creamier version of Barefoot Contessa’s Rosemary White Bean Soup, and it’s even better, if I do say so myself! Pretty much anything she makes is sheer perfection, but I’ve added a splash of cream for….well, for creaminess, plus a little spinach for color and nutrition, and bacon crumbles and Parmesan cheese for a savory kick on top.
Tell me – how could cream, bacon, and Parmesan not improve even the best soup recipe on the planet??
Easy Creamy White Bean Soup with Spinach and Bacon
I’ve made this soup many times, and we like it more every time I serve it! It’s simple and satisfying, with the perfect balance creamy and savory flavors.
Plus, it’s super easy to make! Everything cooks in a single pot or Dutch oven for easy cleanup. And adding the spinach to wilt at the end sneaks in some veggies to instantly transform this into a one pot meal! Serve it with a batch of my easy, 15-minute crostini and you’re all set!
To save time, you can substitute canned beans for the dried (Navy, Northern, and Cannelini varieties all work well), and it’ll be ready in as little as 45 minutes!
It’s also easily adaptable for vegetarians. The bacon grease can be substituted for pastured ghee, chicken broth swapped out for veggie broth, and the crumbled bacon on top can be omitted (or replaced with toasted pine nuts!).
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It’s a creamier version of Barefoot Contessa’s Rosemary White Bean Soup, and it’s even better, if I do say so myself!
- 1 pound dried white beans* - I used Northern but Navy or Cannelini also work well Click to buy dried Navy beans here, or buy dried Cannelini beans here
- * See notes below for tips on substituting canned beans!
- 3 Tbsp reserved bacon grease or pastured ghee if vegetarian Click here to buy pastured ghee
- 2 medium white onions peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves minced or pressed
- 1 large rosemary sprig 6-7 inches
- 4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth if vegetarian Click here to get my easy homemade broth recipe!
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp sea salt or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper or more to taste
- 3-4 oz baby spinach
- 1/4 cup cream or half and half
- 1 pound bacon - I use thick cut uncured pastured bacon (omit or replace with toasted pine nuts for vegetarian)
- Parmesan cheese optional
To soak the beans, place them in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for an hour. Then drain and set aside for use in this recipe.
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the bacon grease or ghee. Add the onions and saute until translucent but not browned.
Reduce to low-medium heat and add garlic. Heat for 2-3 more minutes.
Add the soaked and drained beans, broth, rosemary sprig, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the beans are very soft.
While soup is simmering, preheat oven to 425 if using bacon. Cut bacon strips into large chunks and spread evenly across a roasting pan. Sprinkle generously with salt, then cook for 10-15 minutes or until browned to your liking (may need less time if using thinly sliced bacon). Remove from oven, drain the grease (I usually drain it right into the soup for added flavor, but you can reserve it for another use if desired), then salt the cooked crumbles again. Set aside.
Remove the rosemary sprig and bay leaf. Use an immersion blender** to puree to your desired consistency (I like mine almost smooth with a few remaining chunks of bean).
Season with salt and pepper, then add spinach. Cover and turn heat off to allow spinach to wilt (should only take a few minutes).
Stir in cream and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve hot with a few bacon crumbles or toasted pine nuts, shredded Parmesan, and a few more cracks of black pepper.
You can also used canned beans to speed up the cooking time - just substitute 4 cans of drained beans for the cooked beans, and shorten the simmering time to about 20 minutes.
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Rosemary White Bean Soup
Here Are a Few More Favorite Soup Recipes!