Hearty Vegetable Bean Soup

Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way
Printer-friendly recipe [pdf]

As soon as the outside temperature dips below 50 degrees, I can't wait to make this vegetarian soup, which is ready in about half an hour. What goes into it is usually determined by the contents of my refrigerator: onions, leeks, scallions, carrots, celery, and salad greens are all good. Canned beans make it sturdy enough for a main course.

For a comforting lunch or dinner, serve with grated Gruyère on top and chunks of country bread as an accompaniment.—Jacques Pépin

4 servings (about 6 cups)

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium leek, split, washed, trimmed (retaining most of the green), and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced (1/2-inch) carrot
  • 1 cup peeled and diced (1/2-inch) white turnip
  • 1 cup diced (1/2-inch) celery
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, preferably an aged variety
  • Pieces of baguette or sturdy country bread
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Combine the water, leek, carrot, turnip, celery, oil, and salt in a large saucepan or pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for about 12 minutes. Add the beans, including the liquid, and bring to a boil again. Boil for a few minutes. Serve in bowls with a generous sprinkling of grated Gruyère and a parsley sprig (if desired) on top and bread alongside.

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