I have been eating this soup for the last three weeks, tweaking it here and there to get it JUST right. Three different kinds of canned beans (because really, who has time to soak beans on a whim??) swimming in the delicious Spanish flavors of smoked paprika and saffron. Throw in some briny capers, some slightly bitter endive and top it off with salty, crispy shallots, garlic and fresh mint. And WOAH. You’ve got yourself quite a tasty meal, full of plant based protein, heaps of fiber and tons of flavor. Dinner is served my friends.
Why use three different kinds of beans?
Let’s start off with the beans. This is my dietitian side sneaking in my #diversityiskey mantra into this recipe. Every plant, vegetable, legume, what have you, boasts a different flavor profile, but also a different nutrient profile. If you used three cans of the same kinds of beans, you would be limiting yourself to one profile of nutrients. If you use a variety of different beans, you are introducing to yourself a variety of different nutrients, maximizing your intake, while also maximizing the flavor. Win, win, amirite???
Could you use dry beans in this recipe?? Of course. You can always substitute dry beans for canned beans, in any recipe. Some people prefer to soak their beans instead of using canned, and more power to ya! If I were making this at a restaurant, I would soak my beans and take the extra time instead of using canned beans. But we’re not cooking in a restaurant here. We’re cooking for our families- to give them food that will nourish their bodies and bring them around a table to nourish their spirits. So canned beans will work just fine for that purpose.
What if I have 3 cans of the same kind of bean? Should I go out and get two different kinds?
Even after I just stated my case for using 3 different kinds of beans, I hope you know that my answer to this question is going to be a resounding no. Have three cans of red kidney beans? Perfect. Three cans of great northern? Great. Don’t make a trip to the store just for another can of a different kind of beans, leaving what you already have to sit in your pantry collecting dust. Use what ya have. But just don’t use black beans. Save those for your Mexican night.
Can I just dump everything into a pot, let it simmer all together and be done?
As much as I love saving you time, I’m gonna say no to this one. The key to cooking with canned tomatoes is to cook them down until they are a dark, caramelized, delicious situation. So many times I see people just throw in a can of tomatoes along with all of their other ingredients and they miss the bus to flavor town. Don’t miss the bus. This is a cooking technique called “pincaging” the tomatoes and it’s key to making a dish taste delicious with a depth of flavor.
What is an endive?
An endive is a type of leafy vegetable. To really get into the nitty gritty about this veg, it’s a member of the chicory family, along with other vegetables like radicchio, escarole and frisee. To be honest, I don’t love endive on its own in its raw form. It is definitely a more bitter vegetable, which is why I prefer it cooked. When you cook or braise endives, they lose some of their bitterness and end up adding a unique flavor to a dish. If you’ve never cooked with or tasted endive before, I would definitely encourage you to try it! It’s just another way to try something new and use produce that is sometimes under utilized.
To garnish, or not to garnish
That is the question. Just so we are all on the same page, the “garnish” for this soup is the mint, the crispy shallots and garlic and the green onions. But garnish is an unfair descriptor for these components. The word garnish implies that these ingredients are just making the soup look pretty and presentable. But that is most definitely not the case for these tasty tidbits.
I would argue that the complete, robust flavor of this soup is dependent upon these “garnishes”. The mint brings a freshness and a sweetness that balances out the slightly bitter endives. The shallots and garlic bring a crunch factor that a normal bean soup is so often missing. And the green onions are like a cherry on top. Yeah, the soup would be fiiiine without them, but why eat something that is fine when you can take five extra minutes and eat something that is super delicious??
For more simple soup recipes, check out:
Make sure to tag me @heyemilyann on Instagram if you make this Spanish three bean soup with endives and crispy shallots. I love seeing my recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above. Happy cooking!Print
This bean soup is full of delicious flavors and nutrients for a healthy, family friendly meal.
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can (15.5 0z) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15.5 0z) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15.5 0z) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15.5 0z) white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 pinch of saffron
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 belgian endives, thinly sliced
- 1/4 c capers, drained
- olive oil, as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch of mint, cut into thin strips, or chiffonade
- 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
- canola oil- enough to cover your garlic and shallots in your saute pan
- salt to taste
In a large pot, heat up olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add garlic and onions and sweat, or cook until translucent. Next, add in the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are a dark red color, about 8 minutes. Finally, add in the beans, capers, stock, smoked paprika, saffron, bay leaves and endives. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the soup reaches your desired consistency (~30 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Right before serving the soup, prepare your garnish. Heat up canola oil in a small frying pan and add garlic and shallots. Cook shallots and garlic until they are a golden brown color (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel lined plate. Season with salt.
Serve soup with a generous amount of mint, green onions and a handful of crispy shallots and garlic.
- Cuisine: spanish