White Bean and Tomato Soup

This tomato and bean soup flavored with sage and thyme is an elegant alternative to minestrone soup. Tomato and white bean soup
Yield 4-6 servings
Time 1½ hours, plus soaking time
  • colander
  • stock pot or large soup pan
  • large bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • ½ c dry white beans, washed and soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 8 c water
  • 10 sage leaves or 1 t dried sage, divided
  • 3 bay leaves, divided
  • 6 branches of thyme or ¼ t dried thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 t salt, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped; 2 c canned chopped tomatoes; or 2 c plain tomato sauce
Directions Drain and rinse the beans and place in pot along with water, 5 sage leaves, 2 bay leaves, thyme, 3 whole cloves garlic, and 1 T oil. Bring to a boil, add ½ t salt, lower heat, and simmer about an hour, until beans are just tender.

Set the colander over a bowl; strain the beans; and remove/discard the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme stems. Reserve the separated cooking water and beans.

Heat remaining oil as you mince the last garlic clove. Add to pot along with rest of the sage and last bay leaf. Sauté a minute or two, add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes, until soft.

Add tomatoes, cooking liquid, and remaining salt, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and cook another 10 minutes.

Serve hot or set aside to cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container – the flavor will improve over the next day or two.


Adapted from The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary vegetarian cuisine from the celebrated restaurant, by Deborah Madison with Edward Espe Brown.

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White bean tomato soup