Tomato and Cannellini Bean Soup
"Vegetable soup is something I can eat a ton of and still feel healthy. The problem is, I get hungry again two hours later. So I came up with a version with beans, which deliver protein and texture, tiding me over to the next meal." —Rick Martinez, associate food editor, digital
1 cup dried cannellini or other small white beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, quartered through root end
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 (28-ounce can) whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp (or more) crushed red Pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, cored, chopped
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves torn into pieces
Chopped unsalted, roasted almonds (for serving)
- Beans Combine beans, onion, garlic, and bay leaves in a large pot and add cold water to cover by 2". Bring to a simmer over medium heat, add several pinches of salt, and reduce heat to low. Continue to cook at a bare simmer until beans are creamy but still hold their shape, 35-45 minutes. Let beans cool in cooking liquid; discard bay leaves.
- Beans can be cooked 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Add tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and cook tomatoes, undisturbed, until caramelized and borderline blackened on one side, about 5 minutes. Break up tomatoes, scraping bottom of pot, and continue to cook, scraping and stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are caramelized all over, about 5 minutes more. Transfer tomatoes to a plate.
- Heat another 2 Tbsp. oil in same pot over medium. Add onion, fennel, garlic, and a pinch or so of red pepper flakes, if desired; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are soft and starting to brown around edges, 8-10 minutes. Stir in vinegar and tomatoes, scraping up browned bits. Drain beans and add to pot along with broth (for a thicker soup, use half of the broth plus 2 cups bean-cooking liquid). Bring to a simmer; season with salt. Cook until flavors meld, 30–45 minutes.
- Just before serving, stir in chard and cook until wilted. Ladle soup into bowls, top with almonds, and drizzle with oil.
Soup (without chard) can be made 4 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.