I start a lot of my vegetable soups with a ritualistic soaking of white beans. The white beans I like these days are Cannellini beans (also known as white kidney beans). To get the beans really creamy, after they’ve soaked for at least 8 hours, I cook them again the Instant Pot. You don’t need an Instant Pot here though. You can also cook them on the stovetop in a saucepan. I sometimes soak an extra batch and freeze a portion for later.
Another white bean option is Navy beans. If you’re making beans while following SCD, use Navy beans and make sure to wash the beans after soaking them overnight. I know some don’t want to use beans from a can when following SCD, but if it contains no additives and is washed you may be able to handle them.
Give me a moment to fan girl all the great things about white beans, because I’m a huge fan. They contain an array of vitamins, including B, E, K, and folate (part of the vitamin B family). Then there’s all the minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and iron. To take full advantage of the iron in these beans you need to also have vitamin C to aid in absorption, so I usually add tomatoes or a leafy green that has vitamin C. In this case, I added tomato paste to the broth, and the usual array of stock veggies, herbs, and aromatic (garlic). White beans are also rich in phenols, a strong anti-inflammatory, so another win on that front.
I’ve included a simple recipe for white bean vegetable soup, or check out my Soupe au Pistou! It packs great flavor with a Provençal flare and a pesto topping. Enjoy!
How to Make White Beans Creamy
- 1 Instant Pot or other pressure cooker; optional
- 2 cups dry cannellini beans
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Soak the beans for overnight or at least 8 hours. Add enough water to fully cover the beans plus and extra few inches of water and stir in the salt. The beans will expand as they absorb water.
- Drain the beans and discard the soaking water.
- Add the beans to an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker and add enough water to cover about half of the beans.
- Put the cover on (no venting) and pressure cook the beans for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally and then take the beans out to use in a soup, salad or stew. They'll be soft and but shouldn't be mushy. If you prefer them less soft, cut the time by 5 minutes.
- They're now ready to be added to a soup recipe or other recipe using white beans.
- Store them in the refrigerator for a few days, or freeze for a few months.
Simple White Bean Vegetable Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion peeled and diced
- 2 large carrots trimmed and diced
- 2 celery stalks trimmed and diced
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and diced
- 2 cups green beans diced; fresh or frozen
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups cannellini beans soaked overnight or at least 8 hours
- grated Parmesan on top to serve
- Add the olive oil and onions to an Instant Pot. Set it to sauté and cook, while stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, or until the onions begin to soften.
- Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so, stirring to blend it in.
- Add the celery, carrots, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, sauté for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Switch to the soup setting and add the water, lemon juice, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Next add the green beans and cannellini beans and stir to blend.
- Place the top on, and cook the soup for 15 minutes. Let the Instant Pot naturally release the pressure without venting.
- Serving idea: Top with grated Parmesan, breadsticks (from my cookbook), and a side of greens.