Chunky White Bean and Pancetta Soup

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This warming chunky white bean and pancetta soup blends the heartiness of cannellini beans with a rosemary-infused broth and crispy bits of pancetta. It’s the perfect comforting soup for a cold evening and pairs incredibly well with some fresh, crusty bread.

A photo of a bowl of chunky white bean soup

It’s not a secret I live for chunky, hearty soups, and my Red Lentil Potato Soup with Lemon and Greek Chickpea Soup with Lemon (Revithia) are proof enough.

So it was only a matter of time until I came up with a recipe featuring my absolute favourite type of beans in the world, cannellini. This Tuscan white bean soup with pancetta and rosemary is just the bowl of goodness you want to tuck in at the end of the busy day.

Making this soup starts with frying some delicious pancetta in a dash of olive oil and then cooking lots of veggies in the fat that remains in the pot after you take out the crispy pancetta bits. Everything is well-infused with a generous amount of fresh rosemary and splashed with lots of lemon juice to create a soup you’ll want to write home about.

I serve it with crusty bread, as I do with most soups of this kind, but it’s also great on its own or with some croutons.

A bowl of Italian soup

What do you need to make this chunky bean soup?

To make this pancetta soup, you need the following ingredients:

Pancetta — I use ready-diced pancetta forthis recipe. If you don’t have pancetta, you can use your favourite type of bacon instead.

Onion, carrots, and celery are the basis of the soup that you fry in the pancetta grease for extra flavour.

Garlic — I use more garlic than the average person because what’s bean soup without lots of garlic, but feel free to reduce the quantity to your liking.

Photo of a bowl of pancetta soup

Fresh rosemary — I love how the soup gets infused with the flavour of fresh rosemary, but if you don’t have it, use 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary instead.

Dried chilli flakes — these are optional, but I like how they add just a bit of the kick to the soup.

Cannellini beans — This is a quick and easy recipe, so I use tinned cannellini beans for convenience. You can use dry beans, but you’ll need to soak them overnight and then boil until tender before using them in the soup.

Cavolo nero — this type of Tuscan kale works great in this soup, but you can use a different kind of kale or even collard greens if you want.

How do you make it?

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the pancetta over medium heat for a couple of minutes until crispy. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set it aside.

Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and fry them for 7-8 minutes until they soften a bit. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and chilli flakes and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant.

Next, add the beans and stock to the pot and allow it to bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. If you want the soup to be a bit thicker, use a potato masher or the back of your spoon to break down some of the beans and veggies.

A photo of soup with beans and pancetta cooking steps

Add the cavolo nero, lemon zest and juice, and transfer the fried pancetta back to the pot. Simmer for 2-3 more minutes until the cavolo nero has wilted. Serve with crusty bread or croutons.

Make it vegan

You can easily transform this recipe into a vegan chunky white bean soup by eliminating the pancetta. Simply start the cooking process by heating the olive oil and skipping straight to the onion.

What can I substitute pancetta with?

You can substitute pancetta with your favourite bacon in this soup — it will still be delicious. Smoked bacon would work best here.

A photo of white bean pancetta soup

How to store cannellini bean soup?

The soup keeps well in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. You can reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The soup also freezes well; allow it to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-friendly container and freeze for up to three months.

If you liked this chunky white bean and pancetta soup, try some of my other delicious soup recipes:

Greek Chickpea Soup with Lemon (Revithia)

Red Lentil Potato Soup with Lemon

White Minestrone Soup with Barley and Beans

Instant Pot Vegan Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

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Yield: 4

Chunky White Bean and Pancetta Soup

photo of Italian food

This warming chunky white bean and pancetta soup blends the heartiness of cannellini beans with a rosemary-infused broth and crispy bits of pancetta. It's the perfect comforting soup for a cold evening and pairs incredibly well with some fresh, crusty bread.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 150 g (5 oz) pancetta, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 springs fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 x 400 g (14 oz) tins cannellini beans
  • 1 liter (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) cavolo nero
  • Zest and juice of one lemon

Instructions

    1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the pancetta over medium heat for a couple of minutes until crispy. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside.
    2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and fry them for 7-8 minutes until they soften a bit. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and chilli flakes and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant.
    3. Add the beans and stock to the pot and allow it to bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. If you want the soup to be a bit thicker, use a potato masher or the back of your spoon to break down some of the beans and veggies.
    4. Add the cavolo nero, lemon zest and juice, and transfer the fried pancetta back to the pot. Simmer for 2-3 more minutes until the cavolo nero has wilted. Serve with crusty bread or croutons.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 577Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 29mgSodium 198mgCarbohydrates 71gFiber 19gSugar 9gProtein 28g

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.

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