white bean, butternut squash & kale soup, revisited on a winter’s morning

It’s a beautiful sunny winter’s morning here with about five inches of fresh snow that fell after sunset yesterday. I’m feeling happy right now, with coffee and a lovely day ahead of me, vindicated in my decision to go grocery shopping yesterday then soak some beans. My snow dog has curled up now on the deck outside my kitchen watching over our green space beyond, and my cat has curled up on my bed. It’s time now for me to put on a pot of white bean and kale soup, then go play ball while I shovel my driveway.

This is a recipe I first made years ago– over time I have found that a 50-50 mix of Great Northern and Cannellini white beans provides the most delicious flavor and texture.


  • 1  3/4 cups white beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red potato, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 medium rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary (yes, tablespoons; rub between fingers/palms to crush
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, excluding thickest ends of stems, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1/2-1 t salt and pepper to taste, added after beans have cooked
  • parmesan or pecorino cheese


Rinse then soak beans overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well. Cover with fresh water, bring just to a boil, then simmer for about 1 hour until beans are just becoming soft. Remove from heat.

Using large 5 quart soup pot with lid, saute onion in 2-3 T olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and potatoes. Saute for 3-5 minutes, stirring until potatoes are lightly browned. Add butternut squash, rutabaga, carrots, celery and spices. Stir all vegetables until spices are well mixed. With pot over medium heat, add canned tomatoes in their juice, apple cider vinegar and basmati. Stir in 5 cups fresh water that is close to but off boil. Partially cover and monitor heat until soup comes almost to boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes to an hour. Checking water level occasionally, add more water as necessary. Continue to stir and check beans, rutabaga, and carrots for doneness: keep simmering until each are soft but not so mushy as to fall apart.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then add chopped kale, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so until kale is bright green and lightly cooked.  Serve topped with parmesan cheese. Makes 8-10 servings. Freezes well.

Note on Bouillon: Beware! Many brands of bouillon cubes have partially hydrogenated oils, palm or cotton seed oil, MSG, and a grossly high serving of sodium- all things to be avoided, certainly not added to your food.


1 cup dried red beans or red kidney beans
1/2 cup dried pinto beans
1/2 cup dried adzuki beans (also spelled azuki or aduki, is a small red bean)
1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1 large yellow or red onion, diced
2-3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T cumin (yes, I mean tablespoons)
1-2 T chile powder (yes, I mean tablespoons)
1 28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 turnip, chopped
1 rutabaga, chopped
1-2 red potatoes, chopped (use 2 if rutabaga is out of season)
2 medium carrots, chopped or grated coarsely
1/2 Celifibr brand* vegetable bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup hot water
4-6 cups fresh water
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
black pepper to taste
1 t salt- added AFTER beans have cooked fully, or beans will be tough

* Celifibr brand vegetable medley bouillon has no MSG, no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, very low sodium (at just 123 mg) and no corn sweeteners (molasses is at the end of the ingredients listing). It’s also gluten free. Most bouillons have all sorts of undesirable ingredients- so check the label.

Check through dried beans carefully, then rinse, cover well with water and soak for 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse well. In large soup pot, saute onion and garlic over medium heat in 3 T olive oil for 2 minutes, then continue to add red potatoes and other root vegetables as you chop and stir. Add cumin, chile powder, and fresh ground black pepper (but not salt), stir well. Add canned tomatoes, rice, well dissolved bouillon cube, and apple cider vinegar, stir well. Lastly add 5 cups of fresh water. Cover and bring temp up, then reduce heat to medium low to simmer covered for about 2+ hours. Check and stir occasionally, you may need to add additional water. Chile is done when each type of bean and rice reaches desired softness- which will vary based on weather and altitude. After beans are done cooking, add salt to taste. Serve with Parmesan cheese. Easily makes 8-10 dinner sized bowls, freezes well.