Last Updated on February 14, 2021
Great Northern beans are very mild in flavor but firm enough to stand well in the soup. It’s so comforting and has a pleasant scent of fresh rosemary which is perfect for Fall and Winter. Serve with a good quality artisan bread!
Great Northern Beans
Great Northern beans are a type of white beans. They are similar to Cannellini beans (white kidney beans) but smaller and a bit firmer so they stand well in soups. The taste is very mild and slightly sweet! This soup is so comforting and fragrant from the aroma of fresh rosemary, perfect meal for Fall or Winter. Serve it with a good quality artisan bread and maybe a glass of wine, it’s a great way to sit back and relax!
We always have a couple of different dried beans in our pantry and rarely use canned beans. Not only they tastes better, it’s more frugal to buy in bulk. More importantly, using dried beans leaves less garbage that’s potentially not even really recycled. For both the environment and the taste, we highly recommend to use dried beans over canned option. Yes, it certainly takes more time to prepare and cook, but someone, something, somewhere is suffering as a consequence of us consuming “convenient” products. Is that truly considered convenient?
Now, for the herbs, we use the dry ones for oregano and thyme, and the fresh one for rosemary for this dish. Dried thyme can be replaced with fresh ones, but rosemary shouldn’t be replaced with dried one. Fresh rosemary has a much better scent and it really stands out in this dish. However, oregano can be too strong and a little overpowering when it’s fresh. We tend to stick to dried oregano for most dishes unless making aromatic sauces like chimichurri.
Chunky or Creamy?
There’s something about soups that make us feel so happy! We make soups very often and what’s fun is that we can make all different ingredients, flavor, and consistency. When it comes to bean soup, we like it a bit thick but not totally purred. So we partially puree it with immersion blender which is one of our kitchen-must-have items that we use often especially making soups. It’s relatively an inexpensive kitchen gadget but super convenient to have.
Other Recipe Notes
For the liquid part, the recipe calls for 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth and 2 cups water. We personally like to use both; adding extra flavor from the vegetable broth combined with water so the soup doesn’t completely turn into the color of the veg broth. Of course, feel free to use all vegetable broth or all water, if you like!
Great Northern Bean Soup
- 2 cups dried Great Northern beans
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more for serving)
- 5-6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- 1 quart vegetable broth (or water: 6 cups total)
- 2 cups water
- 4 dried bay leaves
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Place Great Northern beans in a large prep bowl. Cover with plenty of water with a small amount of salt (a few pinches.) Soak them 8 hours or overnight. After soaking, discard the water.
- In a large pot, place the soaked beans and cover with enough water (about 1 1/2 inches above the beans.) Uncover the pot and cook it over high heat to bring it to boil. As soon as it starts boiling, turn off the heat. Use a colander to drain. Give a quick rinse under running water and set aside. Rinse the pot thoroughly and wipe off the water.
- Place the same pot back to the stove. Heat it up over medium high heat. Pour extra virgin olive oil and add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add yellow onion, carrot, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Next, add dried oregano, dried thyme, and fresh rosemary then give a quick stir. Transfer the beans back to the pot, then add vegetable broth, water and bay leaves. Season with salt and black pepper and stir well. Turn up the heat to bring it to boil then reduce the heat to med low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 1 hour until beans are tender. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaves. Reserve about 2 cups of beans and purée the remaining using an immersion blender. Put the beans back to the pot. Add apple cider vinegar. Give a quick stir.
- Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for the finishing touch.