We definitely have fall here in North Carolina, and it is great soup weather! I love traditional white bean and ham soup–studded with tender white beans and aromatic rosemary, this soup tastes and smells wonderful. The combination of garlic and rosemary is pretty magic, isn’t it?
Although this soup has a thick, creamy texture, it is dairy and gluten free! I get the creaminess from blending some of the beans with an immersion blender. Voila! Creaminess without the fat or lactose of cream! This time I also added some leftover quinoa that was parked in the refrigerator and I have to say, I like it! The quinoa didn’t add any flavor to the soup, which was already very savory, but it did add protein and thickened up the broth even more. It was also very filling. A two-cup serving kept me full from lunch until dinner (bonus–no 3:00 snack craving!).
I used dried beans for this recipe, but if you are in a hurry, you can substitute canned cannellini beans that have been drained and rinsed (look for BPA – free cans). Also, you could leave out the ham and use vegetable stock instead of chicken and make this a vegan dish as well!
You could double this recipe and freeze some for later. This soup freezes wonderfully!
White Bean, Ham and Quinoa Soup (makes 6 servings)
- 2 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans (white beans)
- 3 cups homemade chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cooked ham steak or 2 cups leftover cooked ham
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 1-2 cups cooked white quinoa (or 1/2 cup of uncooked)
- Kosher or sea salt and ground pepper
If using dried beans, prep the beans the night before by rinsing them and putting them in a bowl. Cover the beans with water + about 2″ of water above the top of the beans. Cover the bowl and let the beans soak overnight.
- Put the beans and the stock in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer and cook the beans for 20 minutes.
- While the beans simmer, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion for about 2 minutes or until soft. Add the carrot and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove 1 1/2 cups of the beans, plus some cooking liquid from the pot and set aside.
- Add the cooked vegetables to the pot and stir.
- In a bowl for an immersion blender, combine the beans, cooking liquid and rosemary. Blend until thick, about 5 seconds.
- Add the bean paste back to the cooking pot and stir well.
- Chop the ham into bite sized pieces and add to the pot, along with the quinoa.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer the soup for at least one hour if using dried beans (20 minutes for canned beans).
- Serve hot with crusty baguettes or with a tossed salad.