Fresh Cranberry Bean Soup with Basil-Walnut Pesto

By • December 29, 2009 • 4 Comments

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Author Notes: I came up with this soup one October evening when the temperatures were unseasonably warm, and a hearty, chunky bean soup just didn't feel right. It's smooth and creamy without being heavy, a satisfying meal to help you through the change of seasons.lastnightsdinner

Serves 2-4

Basil-Walnut Pesto

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup shelled walnut halves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil

Fresh Cranberry Bean Soup

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 pound fresh cranberry beans, shelled (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • Several sprigs fresh thyme
  • One parmesan rind
  • Optional: 1/4 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • Basil-Walnut Pesto, for serving
  1. Place garlic, salt and walnuts into a food processor or mini chopper and pulse. Add the basil and pulse again until you have a coarse, chunky mixture. With the blade moving, slowly add olive oil until the pesto is at the consistency you want (some people like a looser, more fluid pesto; I like mine a little tighter).
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot, and add the onion, carrot, celery and salt. Allow the vegetables to cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften, and then add the garlic and stir. Cook for an additional minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, and then add the cranberry beans, stock, thyme and parmesan rind. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook 30 minutes, until the beans are tender.
  3. Turn off the heat, remove the parmesan rind and thyme sprigs, taste and add more salt if needed. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Whisk in the crème fraiche or heavy cream if using. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of the pesto.
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Tags: beans, meatless, Soups

Comments (4) Questions (0)


over 3 years ago Shalini

I just bought dried cranberry beans yesterday, and am thinking... do they need soaking overnight, and could I make this soup with them? No doubt the soup would be starchier... but hopefully would still work?


over 3 years ago SKK

Made this today because there were fresh cranberry beans at the Farmer's Market. Really delightful! The walnut pesto was perfect. I used dried thyme and we chose whole beans soup rather than the puree. Thank you for sharing this!


about 5 years ago arielleclementine



about 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Thank you!