Our red bean soup with greens is served with diced bacon, halloumi, and red wine vinegar. It is delicious, hearty, and satisfying. Bright, thick, and packed with greens, it is a one-pot meal perfect for fall or winter.
Why this recipe sings
This is not a typical red bean soup. The combination of ingredients creates a complex flavor profile. The pasta, bacon, and especially the vinegar give an exciting and unexpected flavor.
You can reduce or increase the amount of the stock for a red bean stew or a more brothy soup.
Here is what you need
- Extra virgin olive oil. A must in most of my recipes,
- Onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. A classic soup base.
- Spinach. You can substitute with other greens such as chicory, or kale
- Tomato paste. It gives an intense savory flavor.
- Chicken stock. Vegetable or beef stock will work just as well.
- Dry red beans.
- Short-cut pasta such as orecchiette, farfalle, penne
- Fresh herbs. My go-to’s are fresh basil and parsley.
- Sea salt, pepper, ground cumin, chili flakes, and dried oregano.
What you need for serving
- Red wine vinegar. This is an essential ingredient, not to be missed. As my husband says, “it makes the soup”.
- Thick-cut bacon or pancetta. I just love a little bit of bacon on top. You can substitute it with prosciutto, ham, or whatever you fancy.
- Halloumi cheese. The Cypriot cheese is similar to mozzarella. It is semi-hard with a slightly spongy texture. Its high melting point makes it ideal for grilling or frying. It transforms from plain and rubbery to beautifully crispy and savory on the outside and creamy on the inside.
How to make it
Rinse beans in a colander using cold water, check for broken or cracked pieces and discard them. Place them in plenty of water and soak them overnight. Rinse and drain beans when you are ready for cooking.
Soaking your beans helps them cook faster and more evenly, making them easier to digest. See recipe notes for a speedy version of soaking beans in case you forgot or don’t have much time.
Meanwhile, rinse the greens and pull the leaves off the stems. Chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.
Cut the halloumi cheese into thick slices, about 5 mm each (3/16 inch). Dice the thick bacon.
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan—Fry the bacon. Transfer to a plate, and using the bacon fat, fry the halloumi cheese. Season with plenty of fresh ground pepper and a pinch of dried oregano. Fry each slice for one to two minutes until they have a nice golden color at the edges.
Serve the soup in bowls with a drizzle of red wine vinegar, chili pepper flakes, diced bacon, and halloumi cheese.
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Red Bean Soup With Greens
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic smashed
- 2 cups chopped greens such as spinach, chicory, or kale. Packed.
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 quart chicken stock plus more in case you need it.
- 16 oz red beans 500 grams
- 1 cup orecchiette pasta
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- sea salt plus more to taste
- freshly ground pepper
- 8 oz Halloumi cheese
- 3 oz diced thick bacon
- red wine vinegar
- Rinse beans in a colander using cold water. Check for broken or cracked pieces and discard them. Place them in plenty of water and soak them overnight. Rinse and drain beans when you are ready for cooking. See recipe notes for a speedy version for soaking beans.
- Rinse the greens and pull the leaves off the stems. Chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.
- Heat a large pot over medium-high for a minute or so to warm it up. Add the olive oil and diced onion, and sauté for one to two minutes. Add the garlic, celery, carrot, and sauté until very soft and brown at the edges for five minutes.
- Add tomato paste, cumin, oregano and chili flakes, and sauté until the paste darkens for about one minute.
- Add beans and sauté two to three minutes.
- Add the stock and bring it to a simmer. Let soup simmer until it is thick and flavorful for sixty to ninety minutes.
- Stir in the greens and simmer for five to ten minutes. Add a little water or broth if the liquid gets too reduced.
- Stir pasta into the pot, taste, and simmer for ten more minutes or until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat and add sea salt to taste.
Prepare the serving ingredients
- Cut the halloumi cheese into thick slices, about 5 mm each (almost ¼ inch). Dice the thick bacon.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive in a frying pan. Fry the diced bacon. Transfer to a plate and using the bacon fat, fry the halloumi cheese. Season with plenty of fresh ground pepper and a pinch of dried oregano. Fry each slice for one to two minutes, until they have a nice golden color at the edges.
- Serve soup in bowls with a drizzle of red wine vinegar, chili pepper flakes, diced bacon, and pieces of halloumi cheese.