White Bean Soup with Fennel Seeds and Broccoli Rabe

  • Serves

    serves 6-8

  • Cook

    1 hour 30 minutes


By David Tanis

Published on January 5, 2016

This kind of luscious puréed bean soup is made all over Italy with white beans or fava beans. It can be made a day or two in advance, but cook the greens just before serving.


  • 2 12 cups dried Great Northern white beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 12 tsp. whole fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, or Swiss chard, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 14 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced


Step 1

In a 4-qt. saucepan, combine the beans with 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook the beans until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the beans and reserve 2 cups of their cooking liquid.

Step 2

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the fennel seeds and onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the beans and 6 cups fresh water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the beans are falling apart, about 25 minutes. Using an immersion blender or working in batches with a standard blender, purée the soup until smooth. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

Step 3

Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling salted water, cook the broccoli rabe until crisp-tender and bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain the broccoli rabe and transfer to a bowl.

Step 4

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the chile flakes and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper, and cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Divide the soup among bowls and top each with some of the broccoli rabe and a drizzle of more olive oil before serving.

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