White bean soup and winter greens

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

White bean soup and winter greens

There are many good choices at the winter market. This week's recipe makes a robust and distinctive soup that's perfect on a cold evening. Pick up about 3/4 lb of mixed winter greens such as kale, chard, turnip, dandelion or collard greens and some carrots from Happy Boys Farm.

According to Janet Fletcher, the flavor of mustard greens aren't a good choice for this soup. I used dandelion greens, kale and chard with excellent results. Little did I know, weeding dandelions in the early 50's in Detroit, I would be eating them later in life.

Check the Food Mill or your local grocery store for canned white cannellini beans and chicken stock. Dried white beans can work, but they require forethought as they have to be soaked overnight and cooked longer. Using canned beans, making the soup still takes over an hour to rinse, chop, sauté, boil, simmer and purée.

Servings: 6


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots or equivalent small funny shaped ones, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 15 ounce can of organic cannellini beans
  • 3/4 pound mixed winter greens
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, garlic and bay leaves until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Add the chicken stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 30 to 45 minutes. 
  3. If you start with dried beans, the soup may need to be simmered for 1-1/2 hours. 
  4. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the chopped parsley. 
  5. Purée some or all of the soup using a regular or handheld blender. Leave some recognizable vegetable pieces. 
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt. 
  7. Chop the tough stems off the greens. Roll up a few leaves at a time and slice crosswise into 1/4” strips. Rinse and drain the greens. Add them to the boiling water for a few minutes. Drain then stir into the soup. 
  8. Simmer another 5 minutes, adjust seasoning and serve.