alive logo

Savoury Borlotti Bean Soup

Serves 12.


    Savoury Borlotti Bean Soup

    This is a delicious hearty meal in a bowl for lunch or dinner. We stirred kale into this recipe, but any chopped greens will do.


    Borlotti beans

    Beautiful climbing borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, are immensely attractive and easy to grow. The speed by which they pop out of the soil is reminiscent of a fairy tale. When conditions are right, they can grow a foot a night and peak at an impressive 6+ feet (1.8 metres) tall.

    They need to be sturdily staked and grown in full sun on the edge of a garden, as their thick foliage can cast quite a shadow that might affect other sun-hungry plants. Perfect for large areas, but also consider a couple of seeds for a patio. They create a great privacy barrier and produce an abundance of beautiful striped beans that can be eaten whole when small. Or let them continue to grow so that, once dried, they can be podded and stored until ready to cook.

    Tip: If a creamier soup is preferred, before adding tomatoes and kale, give soup a couple of pulses with a hand wand mixer.

    Cooking garden-fresh borlotti beans

    Wash and clean shucked beans and place in a saucepan with water to cover 1 in (2.5 cm) above beans. Boil beans gently, with lid ajar, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until tender.


    Savoury Borlotti Bean Soup


    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 celery stalks, finely diced
    • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
    • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced and smashed
    • 1 sprig rosemary, minced
    • 8 cups (2 L) low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 in (5 cm) piece Parmesan cheese rind
    • 1 lb (450 g) dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight (see box above for directions on cooking garden-fresh beans; for directions on cooking dried borlotti beans, see the recipe for Seared Tuna Loin Tip)
    • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) crushed dried chilies
    • 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt, plus extra, if desired
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 to 6 kale leaves, stems removed and leaves cut into thin shreds
    • 1/4 cup (60 mL) shaved Parmesan cheese
    • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped Italian parsley


    Per serving:

    • calories203
    • protein11g
    • fat8g
      • saturated fat2g
      • trans fat0g
    • carbohydrates23g
      • sugars6g
      • fibre5g
    • sodium427mg



    Heat oil in large heavy saucepan. Add celery, carrots, and onion, and sauteu0301 until soft but not browned. Stir in garlic and rosemary and sauteu0301 for a minute, until aromatic.


    Stir in stock, bay leaves, Parmesan rind, soaked and drained beans, and crushed dried chilies. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Add more water as needed.


    Remove bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Stir in diced tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and continue to simmer until tomatoes are heated through.


    Stir in kale and continue to cook until kale is wilted. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if you wish. Ladle into serving bowls and serve with Parmesan and parsley sprinkled over top.


    Like this recipe?

    This recipe is part of the Growing a Dream collection.



    SEE MORE »
    Salmon Tacos with Red Cabbage and Orange Slaw with Lime Yogurt
    Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

    Mussels with Tomato, Saffron, and Fennel

    B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.