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Vegetable White Bean Soup with Basil Pesto and a Fried Egg

Lisa Kalabokis

Soups & Sides
All seasons

"This recipe is incredibly simple to prepare, leaving your feeling nourished and comforted. You can use just about any vegetables that you have on hand for this, and can keep it vegan by omitting the bacon (Phoenix Bean sells delightful five spice tofu that would be great instead) and fried egg garnish.

Don’t have beans? Use lentils, barley or even farro. Have a big bag of rice that you’re trying to get through? You can throw that in too. There’s more good news: this soup can be frozen and enjoyed for months to come."

-Lisa Kalabokis


For the Soup:

  • 2 strips bacon, cut into lardons (strips)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flake (optional)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (canned or fresh, peeled and crushed)
  • 1 cup dry white navy beans, soaked overnight* (canned beans can also be used here)
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (use water if you don’t have either of these)
  • 2 sprigs thyme or any herbs on hand (if using dry, add 1 teaspoon of any variety)
  • 1 cup spinach, fresh or frozen 
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil (grapeseed, canola, olive)

*Soaking beans cuts down on cooking time. Before soaking, pick through your dry beans to remove any stones or impurities. Here are a few methods for soaking:

  1. OVERNIGHT SOAK: Soak beans overnight in a container with at least 2 inches of water to cover. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt (per pound of beans) and allow to sit overnight. Drain the liquid and they are ready to use.
  2. QUICK SOAK: Place beans in a pot on your stovetop and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt (per pound of beans), if you choose and bring the water to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the beans to soak for at least approximately 1 hour. Drain beans and they are ready for use.

For the Basil Pesto:

This pesto is dairy and nut free, making it safe for those with allergies to enjoy.

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (use 1 teaspoon of vinegar if you don’t have lemon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, render the bacon over medium low heat. Once it has become crisp and there’s a good amount of fat at the bottom of the pan, remove the bacon and set aside. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and chili flake (if using) to the bacon fat.  Saute for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables start to become translucent and aromatic.
  2. Add the tomato and cook for an additional 5 minutes, taking care to stir often so the tomato doesn’t burn. Season with salt and pepper. Once the tomato has started to brown, add the reserved bacon, beans, stock (or water), and herbs. Bring to a simmer and season with additional salt and pepper.
  3. Allow soup to simmer on medium low heat for approximately 30-40 minutes. Meanwhile, make the basil pesto and prepare the eggs for garnish.
  4. In a blender, combine fresh basil and garlic. With the  machine running slowly, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth. Add the lemon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pulse the mixture briefly until combined. Store in your refrigerator or freezer for later use.
  5. For the eggs, crack each egg into individual small bowls or ramekins. Set aside until the soup is almost ready to serve.
  6. Check the soup to ensure the beans are fully tender and the flavors are melded. Add the spinach and cook for an additional 5 minutes. While the spinach is wilting, fry your eggs.
  7. In a nonstick skillet, add the neutral oil to the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, gently pour each egg into the pan, taking care to pour as close to the bottom of the pan as possible so the yolks don’t break. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the egg whites are set. If you’re using a big enough pan, you can cook all 4 eggs at the same time. If your pan is small, cook each egg individually. Keep warm and set aside for the garnish.
  8. Taste the soup to check for seasoning - after adding the spinach, it is likely that it will need additional salt. Turn off the heat and add the vinegar, giving the soup an acidic, bright lift. 
  9. Ladle hot soup into bowls and top with a fried egg and a spoonful of the pesto. Store soup in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Enjoy!

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