Three Bean Soup with Gremolata: A Vegetarian Favorite
Three Bean Soup with Gremolata: A Vegetarian Favorite

Did you know that beans are high in protein, naturally low in fat and full of important daily nutrients like fiber, iron and calcium? In short, they are really good for us. Give me a bean salad, a bean stew, a bean dip or pasta with beans, and I am happy. Bean soups are another favorite dish because they are substantial, inexpensive and delicious. And perfect for cool fall weather.

I like to blend different bean varieties together in this soup. Each bean offers its own distinct color and flavor. Remember that the age of the beans will determine how long it takes them to soften. It's difficult to know exactly how old your beans are, so be patient if the soup takes a bit longer to cook than the instructions suggest. I like to soften the beans overnight, giving them plenty of time to swell up to three times their original size. You can also use the quick soak method if you are in a hurry.

I am partial to this creamy bean soup accented with the herbal citrus notes of the gremolata topping. Traditionally used as a garnish for osso bucco, gremolata is a savory herb blend of lemon peel, garlic and parsley, and it's the perfect finishing touch to the subtle bean flavors in this soup.

This hearty vegetarian soup makes enough for a crowd, or you can freeze half of it for another meal. You can prepare this two ways: For a pleasantly coarse texture, follow the instructions exactly; for a smoother soup, thoroughly puree the ingredients in a food processor, blender or right in the pan with a hand blender. (The beans must be very soft for a smooth puree.) The soup is filling, so plan your menu accordingly.

Three Bean Soup with Gremolata

Serves 8

1 cup dried pinto beans

1 cup dried kidney beans

1 cup dried white beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped

1 (one pound) can diced tomatoes

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped

1. In a very large bowl, cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. If you prefer to do a quick soak method, bring the beans and water to a boil in a large pot, for 2 minutes, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

2. Drain soaked beans and set aside.

3. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add onions and saute about 3 minutes. Add celery and carrots, and continue to saute for about 3 more minutes.

4. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, water, garlic, parsley and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, about 1 hour or until beans are tender. (This may vary depending upon the age of the beans.) Remove bay leaf.

5. Place half of the soup in a blender or food processor and process until pureed. Return pureed soup mixture to pot containing the rest of the soup. Add salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning. Or, using a hand blender, process the soup until it is partially pureed, leaving some texture.

6. To make the gremolata: Combine the garlic, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl.

7. To serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with gremolata. Serve immediately.


Soup may be prepared 3 days in advance, covered and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It also may be frozen. Reheat on medium heat and season to taste before serving. Gremolata may be prepared 4 hours ahead, covered and kept at room temperature.


Available at

Be Good to Your Gut: Recipes and Tips for People With Digestive Problems

Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-Pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious, Low-Carbon Lifestyle

Savory Baking

Stonewall Kitchen Breakfast


Subscribe to Receive our Gourmet Recipes

Three Bean Soup with Gremolata: A Vegetarian Favorite

World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food share their passion on These chefs make great cooking easier than imagined. Each gourmet recipe features expert advice and an easy-to-make recipe. Exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable

© Tribune Media Services