November 9, 2016

Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup via | @forkknifeswoon

… because we could all use a little comfort food today.

This cozy white bean and butternut squash soup is ultimate, soul-warming, nourishing goodness. The pot is full of garlic and herbs and Fall veggies and good stock, and it’s no wonder I keep going back to variations of this recipe, over and over again.

It’s the sort of cozy, cold-weather soup that I crave all season long, but especially need right now. And I’m guessing many of you do too.

This is not ordinarily a political space. To the contrary, it’s a place to ramble about my love of berries, and chocolate, and comforting fall soups. It’s generally frivolous, a space where we can bond over recipes, and ingredients, and sharing a meal. But I’m making an exception today, because this election has affected me and my family, and those I love, on a deeply personal level, and I can’t not say something.

I was so hopeful yesterday, and while I expected this bitter race would end in a close finish, seeing my friends take their young daughters along with them to the polls throughout the day, hearing stories of women in their nineties, born before women even had the right to vote, casting their ballot for the first female president, was inspiring and emotional, and important.

I didn’t vote for Hillary simply because she’s a woman, but I don’t think I realized just how meaningful it was to me, or how deeply gutted I would feel by her loss, until the results rolled in late last night.

Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup via | @forkknifeswoon

To see demagoguery, and vitriol, and misogyny champion over progressive ideals – and basic respect for human rights – is profoundly disheartening. I’m sad and ashamed. Not just as a woman, or a democrat, but as an American, and human being.

Because I’m at a loss as to what else to do right now – and this still doesn’t seem real – I’m channeling my heartbreak into cooking. I find so much peace and joy in the kitchen, and good, homemade cooking is one of the best ways I know how to show love.

I have to believe that love and respect and kindness will triumph in the years to come. That as a deeply-divided nation we can move forward with peace, and healing, and come together again. That we will do better, and work harder, for the next generation.

“…to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” – HRC

Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup via | @forkknifeswoon

Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup via | @forkknifeswoon

Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and large-diced
  • 1 large yellow or sweet onion, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter¹
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 small lemon, juiced²
  • 4 cups (32 oz) rich chicken or vegetable stock
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can cooked cannelini beans, drained (not rinsed)
  • 11/2 cups (loosely-packed) kale³, rough stems removed and torn into small pieces


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the butternut squash, and cook, turning occasionally, until just beginning to caramelize and soften, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the butternut squash to a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute or two. Add the butter, and as it melts, stir in the herbs. Let cook for another minute or two until the onions are lightly golden.
  3. Add the butternut squash back to the pot, along with the lemon juice and stock, and stir to combine. Cover, and bring the stock just to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, and let simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Add the white beans and torn kale leaves, and continue to simmer until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes. If using a more delicate green, such as spinach, add right before serving. Serve warm with crusty bread. Enjoy!


¹ Make it vegan: omit the butter, or use vegan butter (such as Earth Balance spread)
² If you can find them, Meyer lemons… in season in Winter.
³ Feel free to substitute spinach, Swiss chard, or your favorite tender green for the kale.


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  • Reply
    February 23, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    This was really good! A little more time consuming than I expected with the mincing of the onions and browning of the squash, but both were worth it. A unique and tasty recipe the hubs said I “should definitely make again” 🙂 thank you for the recipe!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2019 at 10:09 am

    I had some old apples so I tossed those in and mashed the apples and squash after it was all cooked, then added kale and beans. Very good.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Hi there—I love this recipe! Any idea how I could convert it for the Instant Pot?

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Wow. So great!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    The recipe was delicious. I swapped out the kale for spinach and wanted to add some sort of sausage, but I couldn’t find any that sounded right, so I added meat balls. I LOVED it! My family liked it, but not loved. I have a savory appetite and I love soups…all soups. I was looking for a savory butternut squash soup because I had a single BN squash from my garden. Perfect!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you for the recipe! I don’t share your political perspective but I appreciate your expressing it and channeling your energy into nutritious, healing cooking & sharing it with the world. Blessings!

  • Reply
    Leanne Herron
    November 18, 2018 at 2:30 am

    I made this last night and it was incredible! I used a combination of vegetable and chicken style stock (vegan friendly!) and was blown away by the simple yet punchy flavours.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Came across this recipe (will be making for lunch tomorrow). Thank you for posting and acknowledging one of the worst days for all Americans who felt such hope for a giant leap forward only to be gut punched by the outcome. Sadly it was the first of many gut punches delivered in the last two years. Just thank you.

    • Reply
      October 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Let’s hope next week will give us some hope back 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the soup!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    I have to think yes! To the kindred spirits. I am so sorry for the gloating trumpeters-I will never forget that gutted feeling the next day. The only positive to come from all of this backward motion is how I found such a tribe of hopeful beings. I made the soup today and smile as I thought of a new soul I’d connected with! Nov 6 is coming-and this soup is delicious!

    • Reply
      October 30, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Let’s make the 6th count 🙂 So happy you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2018 at 9:21 am

    coming across this almost 2 years after the tragedy… and, wow, was is/is it ever! i remember how devastated i was. not shocked, however. now i’m just tired of being angry. and thank heavens for the refuge of the kitchen! i recently bought an instant pot, but being a “newbie,” i’m not sure if this recipe could be converted, so to speak… ? i can’t wait to try it either way! it’s 5 stars just reading it! thanks for the recipe & solidarity!

    • Reply
      October 20, 2018 at 11:39 am

      What are the chances we would both come across this on the same day?! I spent the morning canvassing and had the privilege of hearing Tim Kaine speak. I was filled with hope! I can’t wait to make this while dreaming of Nov. 6.

      • Reply
        October 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

        kindred spirits, yes?! there are no coincidences… only convergences of will, intent, and experiences!!! fingers crossed & prayers can help too! 😘
        i remember i was on a walk *the morning after*, and some “trumpettes” walked past me hooting & hollering with glee, and i just couldn’t help myself, i was so raw, i made a snarky comment… in minneapolis, it hadn’t been common to encounter any of his fans. but, of course, this was simply fodder for their ignorant & deficient mental capacity, and they mocked me! it was crushing when already reduced to a minute insect. wonder where those awful women are now?! like many, could have “seen the light”… or, then again, not.

    • Reply
      October 30, 2018 at 1:11 pm

      Cooking and being in the kitchen is always my happy spot. Thank you for the solidarity and I hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 22, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    This recipe is wonderful! The lemon really brightens the flavors. I used fresh herbs because I had them on hand. Next time I think I’ll add extra kale because I like my greens.

    • Reply
      September 24, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you so much, Megan!! I’m a fan of adding lots of herbs and greens too 🙂

  • Reply
    Joann Hayford
    February 28, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Excellent flavor and texture. The squash just melted in my mouth. This is a winner!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2017 at 11:02 am

    This soup is incredible! I left out the rosemary & thyme because I didn’t have any on hand and it was great! I can’t wait to make it again!

    • Reply
      November 18, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Thanks so much, Jessica!! So happy to hear it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Larisa Meschi
    November 13, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I added cubed cooked ham & swapped the dried herbs for fresh ones and it was AMAZING! Not often my family asks me to make the same thing the next day — and they don’t even LIKE squash! This was a huge success & will be part of our regular soup menu for Fall.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2016 at 11:32 pm

      Oh, I’m so happy to hear that! The ham sounds great with the white beans, and I’m glad to help convert some squash haters… 😉 Thanks, Larisa!!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Hosting an Italian dinner this coming weekend for some fellow Hillary supporters (we all worked our butts off), and am going to serve this soup as a first course….I’ll be sure to tell your story. Quick question: can I make this the day ahead? Or will the squash get squishy?

    Thanks very much, and keep the faith! Midterms will be coming up sooner than we think.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      I’m of the belief that soup gets better the day after, so I think you’ll be fine. If you’re planning to reheat, I might cook the squash slightly al dente to begin with, and depending on whether you use kale or spinach, you might still add that the day of, so it’s tender but not overdone. Thank you for your hard work and support!

      • Reply
        November 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        Thank you for your speedy reply!

        • Reply
          November 20, 2016 at 7:08 am

          Hi, Laura, just to let you know that I made the soup yesterday morning, left it on low all day in the crockpot, added the spinach ribbons just before serving, and that it was sensational. Had to use butter beans rather than the kind you suggested, since there were none to be had in my rural stores, but no matter. It was sublime. Just loved the fried squash…I’d eat that all by itself even though I never realized how hard it is to peel an uncooked squash. Fun experience, though. Thanks again!

          • Laura
            November 20, 2016 at 2:01 pm

            The butter beans sound wonderful as well, and I’m with you on the squash – I always sneak a few bites before it goes into the broth. They are a pain to peel! So happy you enjoyed this one – thanks so much, Joye!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Laura, Thank you for standing up and sharing, your words are perfectly and beautifully spoken.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you so much, Leanne

  • Reply
    November 10, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    All of my closest friends, my husband and I are all still in shock, as we were so sure that America would not choose someone so divisive. After reading an email from Anita Moorjani this morning, I realize that all of us were coming from a place of fear, no matter what side we were on. It is time to gather our inner strengths, to stand together to make this nation one we are proud to live in and to share with others. Though it may seem we have lost all the ground we gained and are starting over, this is the time we were born into. We can gather together, strengthen ourselves and each other to begin again. We can choose to open to new challenges and rise to meet them. I still believe that the best potential of humankind has always been in us and always will be. Let’s move forward confident in our abilities to keep our inner lights burning strong.
    I love that you cooked! So positive an action, and this is a wonderful recipe. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      It’s sure been a tough week. Thank you so much for your comment and wise words. It’s clear that at the same time many of us feel heartbroken and fearful by the results, many others felt like they had been left behind, their voices not being heard. I hope we can find more common ground going forward, and for me that begins around the table, as many of us know, and show love through food. Thank you so much for reading, Wendy!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Definitely a heart-breaking moment in our country’s history for the many of us who believed in the power of community that Hillary’s presidency offered. I grieve what is sure to be the loss of civil rights and women’s rights. And I grieve for my daughter and my some-day granddaughters, for what might have been.
    Laura, I appreciate your thoughts, and your return to the kitchen to cook, to create and to re-group.

    • Reply
      November 10, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Thank you for your comment, Louise. Still reeling.