This White bean soup with parmesan and pesto is a creamy and comforting vegetarian soup – without the cream!

White Bean and Pesto Sou - A creamy and comforting vegetarian soup - without the cream!

I haven’t posted a soup recipe for ages! I’m almost glad summer is over so I can start making my favourite type of lunch again!

I actually created this soup over a month ago for my friend Lucy’s blog – Craftberry Bush (take a look, she makes the most beautiful creations). She’s happy for me to share the recipes I write for her site with you guys too, so you don’t miss out.

One of the reasons I love soup recipes so much is the way they bring a warmth and comfort that takes me back to my childhood.
My dad used to (and still does!) make an amazing corned beef soup, I remember watching in sceptical amazement as he poured vinegar from a jar of pickled beetroot into the bubbling pan before serving up the soup with slices of beetroot on top.  Sounds strange, but tastes amazing!

My mum on the other hand, makes the best chicken and vegetable soup.  She’ll boil up the chicken bones for hours until the stock is so flavoursome you could drink it by itself. I craved it so much when I was pregnant I even sent my husband Chris out for chicken in the middle of the night so I could have a bowl ready for breakfast! and in fact I got to enjoy a large bowl of it last week when I was home for the weekend – it was still as amazing as I remember.

I still make both of those soups today, but now I also love to make soups with lentils, veggies or beans.  I’d never even touched a lentil before having my first child, but then I started making baby purees with lentils in and I realised what I’d been missing out on!

White Bean and Pesto Sou - A creamy and comforting vegetarian soup - without the cream!

This soup is made from dried haricot (navy) beans.  You need to soak them overnight in cold water before using them in this recipe.  They’re then boiled up with onions, garlic and stock before being pureed.  I actually quite like them at this point, but adding some parmesan and lemon juice and then topping with a little pesto really takes the soup to a whole new level.

White Bean and Pesto Sou - A creamy and comforting vegetarian soup - without the cream!

Creamy and satisfying with a lovely basil kick from the pesto, this soup will certainly keep you going until dinner.

Don’t forget the black pepper too!

White Bean and Pesto Sou - A creamy and comforting vegetarian soup - without the cream!

The White bean soup with parmesan and pesto Recipe:

5 from 1 vote

White bean soup with parmesan and pesto

A warming, creamy, white bean soup, swirled with pesto and parmesan.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: British


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1.2 litres 5 cups hot chicken of vegetable stock (fresh stock or water plus 2 stock cubes (bouillon for gluten free) is fine)
  • 230 g (1+1/2 cups) dried haricot/navy beans, soaked for at least 12 hours in cold water, then drained
  • 6 tbsp freshly shredded parmesan plus extra to serve - use Italian-style vegetarian hard cheese for a vegetarian version
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp pesto
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  • Heat the butter and oil together in a large saucepan. Add in the onion and cook on low for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add in the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add in the stock and the haricot beans. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Place a lid on and cook for 90 minutes-2 hours until the beans have softened.
  • Once the beans are cooked scoop out two tbsp (for garnish), then whizz up the contents of the pan with a stick blender.
  • Stir in the parmesan a pinch of salt and pepper and the lemon juice. Have a taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
  • Spoon out into 4 bowls then swirl ½ a tbsp. of pesto into each bowl. Sprinkle with parmesan and black pepper, then serve.


Nutritional Information is per serving.


Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 691mg | Potassium: 730mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 2.5mg | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 3.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

A warming, creamy, white bean soup, swirled with pesto and parmesan.

Welcome to Kitchen Sanctuary

Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Val Wass says:

    Can you make this with canned beans? If so, how many cans do you recommend?

  2. saz says:

    It’s been too long since I tried one of your soup Nicky.
    This one seems about perfect for getting back in the game ! I’ll let you know how it turned out for me 🙂

  3. Christine says:

    5 stars
    I used your chilli and walnut pesto in the recipe and it was delicious. Perfect for meat free Monday supper.

  4. Amelia says:

    I recently found out that my daughter is allergic to dairy so all of those yummy, creamy soups went out the window. But this soup was so amazing! So creamy, for a soup without cream! I loved the fact that it is healthier too since your getting all the protein and such in beans instead of just fattening cream. I used homemade pesto in it and it was so good! The touch of lemon juice really brightens it up. I actually don’t mind having it when it’s hot since it is lighter than regular soups. Love this recipe!!

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Thanks so much for letting me know how it went Amelia 🙂
      I’m so glad you liked the recipe. I bet the homemade pesto in it was amazing too. I need to make this soup again now you’ve reminded me 🙂

  5. birthday cupcake says:

    nice sweet and simple soup, i hope i can do it as you did

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Thanks, hope you enjoyed it 🙂