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Grandma Menna’s Kitchen: bean soup

In my family there are few strict rules that should be respected as law. You can count them on the fingers of one hand, they are even less, just three rules:

  1. don’t oversleep in the morning, ’cause the early bird catches the worm;
  2. during dinner no cartoons are allowed. News channel or chat among us;
  3. cook beans with sage, and chickpeas with rosemary.

If you ask mum why, she will tell you that it’s always been like this, that my granddad Remigio used to do this and grandma Marcella still does. So if you want to make a bean soup you have to use sage, if you want to make a chickpea soup, rosemary.

Bean soup

Tuscan people really love beans: in every restaurant, from posh ones to cheap ones, from genuine taverns to tourist spots, you’ll find white beans as a side dish, served with a drizzle of good Tuscan extra virgin olive oil. Beans, and pulses in general, are easy to recycle in other dishes. The following soup is good on its own, but can be enriched with croutons of toasted bread, rice, spelt, barley or pasta (our favourite is a short shaped spelt pasta), grilled cod or, in the more refined evenings, stir-fried shrimps or prawns with garlic and parsley.

If you have leftover bean soup, you can fill three-quarters of plastic bottles and freeze it. When you will feel like soup, you can just thaw it and warm it with a drizzle of good olive oil.

Bean soup

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course First course
Cuisine Tuscan
Servings 4


  • 500 g boiled beans
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sage
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
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  • Puree the boiled beans. You can use an electric blender or a classic vegetable mill. If you are making soup for a child, it’s better to use a vegetable mill since it won’t incorporate air into the soup, avoiding the risk of causing colic to the young child. You can more easily puree the beans by adding some cooking water to have the thickness you prefer.
  • Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan with some sage leaves and a clove of garlic. When the garlic is golden and has given its flavour to the olive oil, pour the pureed beans into the pan and add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Your beans will be pretty pink.
  • Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Let simmer gently for a few minutes, until the beans will be flavoured by the olive oil and the garlic and the tomato will loose its raw taste.
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Bean soup

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