February – Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

Melissa Clark of the NY Times calls this recipe “a poem in a bowl”. I must agree that it is certainly delicious and a little different. It gets it’s spiciness from fresh ginger, red-pepper flakes, and cumin. A squeeze of lemon at the end adds a welcome freshness.

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

If you have home made chicken stock in your freezer, this is the place to use it. If not, a good quality boxed stock will substitute. To make this vegetarian, use vegetable stock and leave out the chicken. It’s still very healthy with all those beans and veggies.

I modified her recipe slightly as I didn’t have ground turkey or chicken or hand. What I did have is a package of boneless and skinless chicken breasts which I cut into cubes about the same size as the beans. Ms. Clark also suggests sturdy greens such as collards, kale, mustard greens or collard greens. Since I don’t currently have any of those growing in the garden, I substituted chard leaves. I think baby spinach added at the last minute would be just as good. It should still be bright green but a little wilted. I also added a chopped parsnip along with the carrots (not part of the original) just because I love them and there was one languishing in the vegetable crisper.

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large parsnip, diced
  • 1 bunch of sturdy greens
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 lb. of cubed boneless chicken, breast or thighs, cubed
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 1 can of white kidney beans
  • 1 can of cannelloni beans
  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, basil, chives or a combination of them
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat for a minute to warm it up. Add the olive oil and heat slightly until warm. Add the onion, carrot and parsnip. Saute until softening and turning golden brown at the edges. Add a bit of water if things start to burn.
  2. Meanwhile rinse the greens, remove the large ribs and tear or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. When the onion is golden, add the tomato paste, the cumin and red pepper flakes to the pot. Saute until the paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add the chicken, garlic, ginger and salt. Saute until the chicken starts to brown in spots.
  4. Add the stock and beans. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the soup looks thick and flavorful, about 15 to 25 minutes. You can mash some of the beans into the soup if you want it to be thicker, leave them whole for a brothier soup.
  5. Add the greens to the pot and simmer until soft. The time will depend on the toughness of the leaves.
  6. Add a little water if the broth gets too thick and reduced.
  7. Stir the herbs and lemon juice into the pot. Taste and add more salt, cumin or lemon juice if needed.
  8. Serve topped with a drizzle of more olive oil and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

I’m taking this soup to the celebration at Angie’s for Fiesta Friday #369. I think it will be welcome with the cold winter weather in mush of the U.S. right now. Click on the link to see all the wonderful posts collected to party on with Angie at the Fiesta.

You’ll also find this and other posts with ideas for Sunday Soup-like dishes at Kahakai Kitchen: Souper Sunday.

Come on over and check them out.

Souper Sundays

This recipe would be suitable for phase 1 of the 30 day metabolic diet.

7 thoughts on “February – Spicy White Bean Soup with Chicken

  1. Love soup recipes that are versatile. Pinning this (though I hope our soup weather is behind us at this point)!!!!!!

    • The weather has turned warmer here, although more rain is expected on Friday. Spring is just around the corner.

  2. Soup has been one of our mainstays while we do all our cooking at home, and while the weather continues cold and often grey. This sounds like a good recipe.

    be safe… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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