This simple, soothing Fennel & White Bean Soup is light on the palate and also on the digestive system—and does the job when you’re feeling under the weather. It also freezes beautifully and is very quick to make if using canned beans. Canned cannellini beans or great northern beans work well for this soup, but buttery dried lima beans could be a great substitute, too.

30 min prep

6 servings 

10 ingredients 


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large fennel bulbs and stalks, sliced and diced, feathery tops chopped and reserved
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 (15 ounces) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed or 2 cups homemade Basic White Beans and their broth (See Chef Tips)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water or low-sodium stock
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the fennel seeds and let them sizzle for a minute or so. Add the onion and the diced fennel bulb and stalks. Sauté for about 2 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften. Add a generous sprinkle of salt, partially cover, and sweat for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and turning golden, mixing occasionally. Add ½ cup of water. Simmer until the veg are just tender but still have some bite.
  2. If using homemade beans, discard the bay leaf and add them along with all their cooking broth to the fennel. If using canned beans, add 4 cups of stock with the rinsed beans plus 4 cloves of peeled garlic. As the soup cooks, add more stock or water, ½ a cup at a time if desired.
  3. Cook until the fennel is tender and the beans are easily mashed against the side of the pan. Smash some of the beans to thicken the soup, or give it a quick burst with an immersion blender. If you like a smooth soup, blend until the soup is smooth. Stir in the chopped parsley and chopped fennel tops. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste for seasonings and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 305; Fat: 7g; Saturated fat: 1g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1g; Monounsaturated fat: 4g; Carbohydrates: 46g; Sugar: 8g; Fiber: 11g; Protein: 16g; Sodium: 1011 mg

Chef Tips

Unlike homemade beans, always drain and rinse canned beans before using them. The liquid they are canned in is loaded with salt.

For a silky smooth texture, blend the soup thoroughly, which makes it perfect for a nutritious and easy-to-swallow small meal.

Registered Dietitian Approved

All our recipes are created by chefs and reviewed by our oncology-trained staff Registered Dietitian, Kate Ueland, MS, RD, to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and meets the standards set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

This recipe was originally published on Cook for Your Life. It is used by permission.

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