Creamy Tuscan White Bean Soup – or How I Became an Immersion Blender Convert

Speaking of infectious recipes, I caught this one from my friend Noel, who served this delicious soup to us last weekend for a light and quick pre-theater dinner. I consider it more than payback for giving him my husband’s recipe for sauteed kale.

When he gave me the recipe, Noel insisted that I had to make the soup using an immersion blender, a kitchen gadget I’d been resisting buying for a long time. When I asked why it was so critical, he used those four words that can make anyone buy anything – “It changed my life”. Now before you think I’m a sucker for hyperbole, you need to know that Noel is one of the most understated people I know. So to hear him use these words – well, I knew the time had come to give in to the immersion blender trend.

So now I can say it too – My immersion blender has changed my life.

I wonder how I ever made pureed soups without it. Actually, now that I’ve used this, it’s clear that what I was calling pureed was pure grit compared to the silky texture I am getting with this little baby. And it’s not even one of the better immersion blenders, just the cheapest I could find a the last-minute, since I decided rather late in the day what to make for dinner. If this is the low-end of immersion blenders, I can’t imagine what the high-end blenders can do…

I’m already making a list of soups I want to make  with this thing – cauliflower soup being at the top of that list.  If you have a soup recipe that I absolutely must try, do let me know.  I just can’t wait to immerse myself in immersion blending again…

Creamy Tuscan White Bean Soup

This recipe is adapted from Short on Time: Fabulous Food Faster, a book in the Kosher by Design series by Susie Fishbein. If you’re long on time, and want a lower sodium content, you can use dried instead of canned beans – just increase the cooking time to 1 – 1 1/2 hours, and hold the puree till the end when the beans are cooked. Canned beans are higher in sodium than dried beans, although you can reduce the sodium content of canned beans by rinsing them well or using low- or no-sodium brands. (Eden and Whole Foods brands are no salt added beans; Goya also has a low sodium brand)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 – 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 6  cups chicken stock, veggie stock or water (I also added a little water at the end to thin the soup a bit.)
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • Sea salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • Fresh parsley or thyme for garnish
  • French bread toasts (recipe follows)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook till translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook for another 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute to allow the spices to start to toast and become aromatic. Add the beans, stock, sherry and 1 tsp salt. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot till smooth. Allow to cook another 10 minutes for the flavors to develop. Add more salt to taste if needed.  Serve garnished with parsley and with French Baguette Toasts on the side. Reheats well the second day, but you’ll need to add a little water or stock to thin it out.

French Baguette Toasts

  • 1 demi-baguette
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Grated parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Slice the baguette into 1 inch slices. Arrange on a cookie sheet. Brush lightly on one side with olive oil. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (optional). Toast for 6-8 minutes in the middle rack of the oven.

16 Responses to Creamy Tuscan White Bean Soup – or How I Became an Immersion Blender Convert

  1. This sounds really delicious. We got an immersion blender after a visit to Florence a few years ago, using it first for ribollita, or reboiled soup, to puree some of the cannelini beans in the soup. It helps make a really quick butternut squash soup. Saute leeks or onion and garlic in a soup pot until soft. Add some sage, or marjorem, or whatever! Then pour in store-bought (or your own, if you have it) low-sodium boxes of chicken broth. Add chunks of cut-up squash (any kind, really) bring to a boil, and then simmer with top until the squash is done. Use that new immersion blender of yours, and voila, it’s done!

    A quick dessert: vanilla ice cream (or non-fat frozen yogurt for SOME of us!) with a liquor poured over it, blended into a kind of a smoothie. The possibilities for this one are endless.

  2. How do the immersion blenders work? I looked at the pictures you linked, but they don’t look like regular blenders. But it sounds like they work way better?

    (And what are the odds I would cut off a finger with one of them?)

    • Bardiac –

      Check the first link in the post – it’s to a video showing how to use the blender. It’s really just a small blender blade in a stick. Yes, you could cut off your finger if you decided to stick it into the soup under the blender, but why would you do that?

      All good kitchen tools worth their salt have an element of danger to them – knives, blenders, food processores, graters. Even a pepper grinder in the wrong hands can do damage (Billy! Take that pepper grinder out of your eye!) That’s what makes cooking so much fun.


  3. Thanks for the nod but credit where credit is due: my mother-in-law, a cook extraordinaire, sold me on the immersion blender.

  4. I make the easiest butternut squash and apple soup with the immersion blender. Just sauté some celery and onions in a pot with olive oil. Add cubed butternut squash (already cut up at the supermarket) and a quart of vegetable or chicken broth. Cook til tender. ~5 minutes before you turn off the heat add a peeled, chopped apple. Season as desired and immersionblender away. I make this several times every autumn & winter

  5. I LOVE my immersion blender–we lovingly call it the boat motor. I use it when making gravy/red sauce/spaghetti. Because I use canned whole tomatoes, I am able to obtain the perfect consistency using the IB.

    BTW–our first IB came from POINTS at the grocery store.

    PS–can’t wait to try the recipe. Special thanks to Noel’s m-i-l extraordinaire.

  6. I bought and fell in love with my immersion blender for the following recipe. The numerous Tibetan Buddhist Monks we’ve housed have particularly loved it!


    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 3 to 4 ribs celery, chopped
    • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 3 cans chickpeas, drained
    • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 tablespoons tahini
    • 2 1/2 quarts vegetable stock
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • Chopped chives

    Heat oil in a 6 to 8 quart stockpot. Add onions and celery and cook until vegetables are just translucent. Add garlic; cook until onions begin to brown. Add chickpeas, pepper, curry powder and cayenne pepper and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add tahini and vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender. Stir in lemon juice and garnish with chives.

    • ALice –

      I’ve never even met a Tibetan monk, let alone hosted one! If I make the soup will they come stay with me too? (Seriously, that is so cool that you host them….)

      Thanks for the recipe – Its on my list and I will blog it when I make it.


  7. Our loving sister ML bought me an immersion blender two years ago for my birthday after singing its praises for years. I made a batch of potato sup and cream of mushroom soup. I love the blender!

    XO, Ro

  8. I added a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and blended that in as well, and it really gave the soup a lot more body and texture. Tasted wonderful!

  9. Love the immersion blender for mixing paint. Really! Got one for $20 at the hardware store when I painted a bunch of walls in my old Canada house and it does the trick every time, in record time.

    I need to get another immersion blender for soup. The Vitamix does a good job of my soups, too . . .

    Here’s a nice picnic soup: Mix a big can of tomatoes (the Italian kind with garlic and basil in them), a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil, a whole cucumber. Cilantro if your none of your kids think it tastes like soap. Use your immersion blender or Vitamix. Delicious!! Chill and take it to the beach. Fabulous and refreshing.

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