Italian Bean Soup is hearty and comforting, full of sweet Italian sausage, white beans and vegetables in a rich tomato beef broth.
Soup for dinner is one of my go-tos year round, but especially during the winter months. This Italian Bean Soup is warm, satisfying and fills you up. It’s hearty, so you don’t need to serve much more with it – Beer Bread or a simple loaf of Italian bread and a bowl of Olive Garden Salad are my favorite sides.
This easy Italian Bean Soup recipe starts with ground Italian sausage, and you can go either sweet or spicy with it. Sauteeing the vegetables and toasting the spices will add a deeper flavor to the already rich and savory tomato beef broth.
Italian sausage – Ground sausage is the easiest to work with. You can select a mild or spicy variety. Ground beef would work as well.
Vegetables – Onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato paste and canned crushed tomatoes. A mix of frozen veggies would be a simple shortcut.
Spices – Italian seasoning, kosher salt and black pepper, bay leaf.
Beans – I used a can of cannellini beans. Make sure to drain and rinse them really well. Feel free to add more beans as desired, like kidney beans or great northern beans.
Beef broth – Choose a low sodium variety. A beef bouillon base is great instead of packaged broth, but either works.
Fresh minced parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is optional but also a great finishing touch.
How To Make Italian Bean Soup
Saute the Italian sausage and onion in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through and the onion is tender. Spoon out excess grease if needed. Add the vegetables, spices and tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes.
Pour in the crushed tomatoes, drained beans and beef broth and bring to a boil. Once it’s bubbly, cover and turn down the heat. Let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Just before serving, stir in minced parsley. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Cool soup completely, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Make sure to remove the bay leaf and discard before storing.
Freezing: Cool soup completely, then transfer to a freezer safe plastic bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw completely before reheating.
Reheating: A single serving can be reheated in the microwave. For larger portions, reheat in a saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat.
If the soup is too thick when reheating, add a little more broth.
The beans will continue to release starch as the soup cools, so you may need to add some more broth to leftovers when you’re reheating it.
Want more veggies? Add frozen mixed vegetables during the last 5-10 minutes. You can usually find frozen Italian vegetables which would also be delicious. Or, add some fresh baby spinach, kale or swiss chard during the last few minutes.
For the sausage, go spicy or sweet, however you want your soup.
Feel free to add pasta or potatoes, keeping in mind that they will add starch and thicken the soup.
If you don’t have Italian seasoning, make your own with dried oregano, basil and rosemary. Or, try adding fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme.
For a creamier version, add a splash of heavy cream or a dollop of sour cream.
Make it vegetarian: Triple the amount of beans, omit the sausage and swap the beef broth for vegetable broth.
Make this recipe in the Instant Pot: Saute the sausage, onion and seasonings as called for in step 1. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, then do a manual release.
Make this recipe in the Slow Cooker: Saute sausage and onion in a skillet on the stove. Using a slotted spoon to drain grease, add to a slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 3-4 hours.
Melt a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onion and cook, stirring often, until sausage is fully cooked. Add carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning and bay leaf, tomato paste and cook for about 2 more minutes.
Pour in crushed tomatoes, beans and beef broth. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Discard bay leaf and stir in fresh parsley. Divide into bowls and service, garnished with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Storage: Cool soup completely, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Make sure to remove the bay leaf and discard before storing.Freezing: Cool soup completely, then transfer to a freezer safe plastic bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw completely before reheating.Reheating: A single serving can be reheated in the microwave. For larger portions, reheat in a saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.