BEST White Bean Vegan Soup

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Loaded with vegetables, beans, and warm spices, this White Bean Vegan Soup is perfect for a filling lunch or dinner. It’s vegan, oil-free, and filled with plant-based protein to help you stay full for hours.

white bean soup in a bowl with toasted sour dough bread and sliced avocado.

This savory soup is so chock full of wholesome hearty ingredients, it could even be called white bean chili! It’s packed with a crumbly grain called bulgur to give it a ground beef texture. If you aren’t familiar with this grain, we have a post that teaches how to cook bulgur and recipes to use it in. See gluten-free options in the Tips & Substitutions section below.

2 bowls of vegan white bean soup on white background with spoon

Ingredients you’ll need

  • White beans (such as cannellini or navy beans)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Bulgur (or a gluten-free grain such as brown rice or quinoa)
  • Warm spices like chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, and cumin
diced sweet potatoes, onions, celery, beans, and spices on cutting board

Best bean options

Make this healthy vegan soup with cannellini beans, northern beans, navy beans, or any white bean variety you prefer. Chickpeas could even be used if you want a more dense bean texture. All beans have so many health benefits as well as being filling and delicious.

Truth be told, even pintos, black beans, as well as others could be used if that’s what you have on hand. The flavor of the soup will be just as good.

If you’re a fan of white beans like the ones used in this recipe, check out this list of 16 Amazing Vegan White Bean Recipes.

How to make white bean chili

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

Peel and dice onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes, as well as celery to prep them for the soup.

Add the onions and garlic to a soup pot along with approximately 3 tablespoons of vegetable broth or water for sauteing. Allow them to cook for around 3-5 minutes, adding more broth or water as needed for browning. If you are new to this, check out my Youtube video of How to Cook Without Oil.

Add the celery and sweet potatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes to allow them to get slightly tender.

Next, add the cooked beans, uncooked bulgur, veggie broth, and all spices and seasonings. Don’t add the parsley or spinach just yet. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

stainless pot filled with white beans, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, celery, spices

Remove from heat and toss in the fresh spinach and allow the leaves to wilt. This will only take a couple of minutes. If you place the lid back on the pan, it will be even faster.

stainless pot full of cooked white bean soup with ladle

Top with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro if desired. A piece of nice crusty bread and even avocado slices make great accompaniments.

brown bowl of white bean chili with crusty bread in background

Other white bean soup cooking methods

  • Crockpot or Slow Cooker- For the best flavor, I suggest sauteing the onions and garlic first. It adds so much to this soup, I believe it’s worth the extra effort. Place all of the soup ingredients into your slow cooker (except the spinach and parsley) and allow to cook for 4-5 hours. When it is done, add the fresh spinach leaves and close the lid until they wilt nicely which should only take a couple of minutes.
  • Instant Pot- Set the Instant Pot to Saute and add the diced onion and approximately 1/4 cup veggie broth. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to brown in about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables (except spinach and parsley) and veggie broth and scrape up the brown parts from the bottom. Next, add all of the other ingredients and put the lid on your pot, turn the valve to Sealing, and select Manual. Set for 7 minutes of cooking time. Once it finishes cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After that time, turn the valve to Vent to release the rest of the pressure before opening. Toss in the spinach leaves and allow a few minutes for them to wilt.
blue rimmed bowl full of white bean soup with chunks of bread in it

Tips & substitutions

  • Bulgur Wheat– This gives this soup a ground beef texture, but this is an optional ingredient and can be left out completely.
  • Gluten-Free- To make this gluten-free, omit the bulgur or add another grain such as brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat groats.
  • Veggie Broth- To reduce the amount of vegetable broth required, you could use 1.5 cups veggie broth + 1.5 cups water. If you haven’t already, try making your own Veggie Broth from vegetable scraps.
  • Adding Greens- The addition of fresh spinach is optional but highly recommended. It adds lots of nutrients and makes for a more colorful soup as well. Kale can be substituted for spinach but will need more cooking time because it’s more fibrous.

The recipe is adapted from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Cancer Survivors Guide.

*Originally published September 2017.

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close up of bowl of white bean chili with avocado and crusty bread
4.58 from 21 votes

Vegan White Bean Chili

This White Bean Chili satisfies the craving for chili but cuts out all of the unhealthy ingredients found in many other chili recipes. Loaded with chunks of sweet potatoes, tender white beans, celery, onions, and spices, this dish is sure to keep you full for hours.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups cooked white beans such as cannellini or navy beans
  • 1 cup sweet potato diced
  • 3/4 cup celery chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup uncooked bulgur wheat optional
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce optional
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • fresh parsley optional topping

Instructions

  • Peel and dice onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes, as well as celery to prep them for the soup.
  • Add the onions and garlic to a soup pot along with approximately 3 tablespoons of vegetable broth or water for sauteing. Allow them to cook for around 3-5 minutes, adding more broth or water as needed for browning. If you are new to this, check out my Youtube video of How to Cook Without Oil.
  • Add the celery and sweet potatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes to allow them to get slightly tender.
  • Next, add the cooked beans, uncooked bulgur, veggie broth, and all spices and seasonings. Don't add the parsley or spinach just yet. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and toss in the fresh spinach and allow the leaves to wilt. This will only take a couple of minutes. If you place the lid back on the pan, it will be even faster.
  • Top with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro if desired. A piece of nice crusty bread and even avocado slices make great accompaniments.

Video

Notes

Tips & substitutions
  • Bulgur Wheat– This gives this soup a ground beef texture, but this is an optional ingredient and can be left out completely.
  • Gluten-Free- To make this gluten-free, omit the bulgur or add another grain such as brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat groats.
  • Veggie Broth- To reduce the amount of vegetable broth required, you could use 1.5 cups veggie broth + 1.5 cups water.
  • Adding Greens- The addition of fresh spinach is optional but highly recommended. It adds lots of nutrients and makes for a more colorful soup as well. Kale can be substituted for spinach but will need more cooking time because it’s more fibrous.
Other white bean soup cooking methods
  • Crockpot or Slow Cooker- For the best flavor, I suggest sauteing the onions and garlic first. It adds so much to this soup, I believe it’s worth the extra effort. Place all of the soup ingredients into your slow cooker (except the spinach and parsley) and allow to cook for 4-5 hours. When it is done, add the fresh spinach leaves and close the lid until they wilt nicely which should only take a couple of minutes.
  • Instant Pot- Set the Instant Pot to Saute and add the diced onion and approximately 1/4 cup veggie broth. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to brown in about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables (except spinach and parsley) and veggie broth and scrape up the brown parts from the bottom. Next, add all of the other ingredients and put the lid on your pot, turn the valve to Sealing, and select Manual. Set for 7 minutes of cooking time. Once it finishes cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After that time, turn the valve to Vent to release the rest of the pressure before opening. Toss in the spinach leaves and allow a few minutes for them to wilt.

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4.8g | Fat: 0.9g | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 6.7g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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8 Comments

  1. Best white bean chili, I’m snarfing it down right now. I think the liquid smoke adds a lot. Thank you thank you for this satisfying chili!

  2. Terri, I plan to make all your chili recipes, starting with this one. In clicking through the ingredient links, I see the liquid smoke is not available and Amazon doesn’t know if it will return. Do you have a second choice recommendation for that? (I’ve never used liquid smoke.) I’ve also been wanting to make something with bulgur, and I currently use Bob’s Red Mill corn meal, so I’ll click through on your link for the bulgar purchase. But what liquid smoke brand would you recommend? BTW, I’ve attended Dr. Barnard’s weekly cooking/education classes offered here in D.C., and those cooking demonstrations meant a lot to me and the others attending. I assume you’re doing that sort of thing where you are, and that in-person experience is SO helpful to folks, in several ways. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sunny- Thanks so much for letting me know that that liquid smoke on Amazon is out of stock. I’ll head over and change that link. This one seems to be available right now, and it’s the brand currently in my pantry. I love Dr. Barnard too! I do teach the Food for Life in classes, though the in-person classes have been postponed since March 2020 due to COVID. Hopefully, we will be able to get back to those before too long. I am so glad to hear that the classes in DC meant so much to you. Hope you enjoy the chili recipes and thank you so much for using my affiliate links for your purchases! https://amzn.to/2SefDbQ

4.58 from 21 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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