Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

This cozy white bean and butternut squash soup is full of garlic, herbs, flavorful stock, and good-for-you Fall veggies. Gluten free and vegan-friendly.

white bean soup with butternut squash and kale

… 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.

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.

white bean soup with butternut squash and kale

what you’ll love about this white bean and butternut squash soup

This bean and butternut soup begins in a predictable – and lovely – way: with good stuff like sautéed onion, fresh garlic, and aromatic herbs.

First, I quickly caramelize the butternut squash in a bit of olive oil, adding flavor and texture, before the veggies simmer away in the garlicky, herby, lemony soup base. Using a rich chicken or vegetable stock is most important, as a bulk of the flavor comes from long-simmering broth, either store-bought or homemade (my preference).

Also added to the mix – fresh lemon juice, baby kale leaves, and white beans (I’m a fan of cannelini or navy beans), which work so well in soups like this. And in less than an hour, the result is a healthy and hearty, wonderfully flavorful soup to cozy up with on a chilly day.

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white bean soup with butternut squash and kale

Tuscan White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup


This cozy white bean and butternut squash soup is full of garlic, herbs, flavorful stock, and good-for-you Fall veggies. Gluten free and vegan-friendly.


  • 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 are my favorite choice. They’re in season in Winter and add a welcome flavor and brightness to the soup.
³ Feel free to substitute spinach, Swiss chard, or your favorite tender green for the kale.

  • Category: Soup, Savory
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: white bean and butternut squash soup, white bean soup, butternut squash soup, tuscan, fall vegetable, easy, healthy, vegetarian, vegan

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  1. 6.15.21
    Robert Wayne Branch said:

    Roasted the squash, onions and garlic w/ all the spices. Substituted a small tomato for lemon juice. Added a little sugar for balance. Used 2 tablespoons of fish sauce with 2 cups of water instead of chicken sauce. Added kale with beans, cooked 10 minutes before roasted veggies. More olive oil drizzled over roasted veggies instead of butter. Added a couple of shakes of smoked paprika.


  2. 1.14.21
    Chrissy Cosner said:

    This soup has made me delirious!! So gooooood! There we go!

    • 1.20.21
      Laura said:

      Ha! Thanks so much, Chrissy!! So happy it’s a hit 🙂

  3. 1.14.21
    Chrissy Cosner said:

    I crave this soup!! It’s sooooo hood!

    • 1.14.21
      Chrissy cosner said:

      Sorry I mean sooooo hood!

  4. 1.4.21
    Angie said:

    One of the best recipes EVER! I used homemade beef bone broth and substituted fresh thyme and rosemary for the dried. It was absolutely delicious and so comforting on a cold rainy night – thank you!

    • 1.20.21
      Laura said:

      Thanks so much, Angie!!

  5. 12.15.20
    allison e lupico said:

    This soup is warm and bright – Perfect for a winter night. Delicious!

    • 12.16.20
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much, Allison!!

  6. 12.2.20
    Kelly said:

    I’ve been making this soup for two years – I know the recipe by heart and it is my absolute favorite. This time of year I make it once a week without fail. I just went looking for the actual link because I’m not feeling great & my husband is planning to make it tonight and I wanted him to have the whole recipe rather than me dictating it from the couch. I don’t remember reading the actual post when I first found this but I just read it and now I can say I love this recipe even more! We’re in a much better place now! Yay. I love this recipe and it’s such a part of our lives! Thank you for it!

    • 12.4.20
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much, Kelly!! I’m thrilled this soup has become part of your regular rotation! And hope you’re feeling better 🙂

  7. 11.11.20
    Ann said:

    After reading the comments I doubled the spices. I did not have a lemon so used half of a lime. I also had 1/2 cup on coconut milk left over so added it. Since I was using some coconut milk I replaced all oil with coconut oil. I mashed the squash before adding the beans. I was pleased with the results.

    • 11.11.20
      Laura said:

      Thanks, Ann!! The coconut milk sounds like a yummy addition 🙂

  8. 5.28.20
    Ally said:

    I needed this post and this recipe today. Almost a full four years and I am angrier and more sad than I was in 2016. I don’t care that it’s humid and sticky today, my body needs comfort food!

  9. 4.9.20
    Laura James said:

    As written, this was pretty flat in terms of flavor and needed a lot more umami. Maybe it was my commercial chicken stock? I ended up blending some of the beans and squash to thicken and increase flavor, then when that wasn’t sufficient, added some miso. The lemon juice was a bit much, and I think it’s because I used the wrong size of lemon–so a more specific amount of juice would help. Ended up going all the way to adding some sausage to boost umami, and it was still a bit too lemony even though I love lemon.

    • 7.9.20
      Linda Saulino said:

      I felt the same as Laura James’ review. The soup tasted flat and the lemon was too powerful. I would use less lemon the next time . My lemon must have been too large. I only had sweet potatoes on hand so I substituted them for the squash. I also thickened some of the soup with my miso blender and this helped greatly. I had to add extra vegetable stock and salt and pepper. I also threw in some brown rice that I had in the freezer. After making these adjustments, the soup was much better.

  10. 12.21.19
    Ceciledian said:

    I just came upon your recipe and election thoughts. Three years later I’m not in a better place. The difference between then and know is I know exactly how bad it is. I”ll make the soup today.

    • 12.24.19
      Laura said:

      Hope you enjoy this cozy soup 🙂

  11. 12.16.19
    Adelaida Laguer said:

    Excellent! Mine took linger cause I used fresh beans. My husbabd lived it! I added vegan chorizo dausage! Yummy

    • 12.18.19
      Laura said:

      Thank you, Adelaida!! That sounds delish 🙂

  12. 12.11.19
    CF said:

    Fabulous! I made with homemade turkey bone broth and added some chopped turkey. Wonderful on a cold day.

    • 12.18.19
      Laura said:

      Thank you!! I bet it was incredible with that homemade broth!

  13. 11.22.19
    Pam said:

    Delicious recipe! Very nice combo flavors of earthy squash and beans with almost creamy texture and notes of citrus. Vegetarian, easy to convert to vegan. Versatile. I added a can of rinsed and drained black beans, along with the cannelini beans. Also used Swiss chard leaves instead of kale because that’s what I had on hand. Comes together in an hour. I covered the pot in between stirring the chunks of squash to facilitate cooking the pieces through.

    • 11.22.19
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much, Pam!!

  14. 11.20.19
    Carol Ann Conover said:

    Wonderful soup and wonderful sentiment. I whole-heartedly agree with the shock and disappointment you felt. There are many more of us and we MUST STAND STRONG in the face of this unconscionable choice of candidates. It is a moral imperative.

    In the meantime let’s remember to be kind toward neighbors, share our bounty, and make delicious healing food for the soothing of our spirits. Xoxo

    • 11.24.19
      Laura said:

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, and so happy you enjoyed the soup!

  15. 11.18.19
    Melissa said:

    I love this not only for your recipe, but especially for your lead in. I am viewing this 3 years later, and who knew we would need this soup and commentary even more now.

    • 11.24.19
      Laura said:

      It’s crazy to look back now, isn’t it? So happy you love the recipe!

  16. 2.23.19
    Natalie said:

    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!

  17. 2.3.19
    Lori said:

    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.

  18. 12.11.18
    Michelle said:

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

  19. 12.5.18
    Chrissy said:

    Wow. So great!

  20. 11.29.18
    Jo said:

    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!

  21. 11.23.18
    Stan said:

    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!

  22. 11.18.18
    Leanne Herron said:

    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.

  23. 10.25.18
    Amy said:

    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.

    • 10.30.18
      Laura said:

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

  24. 10.21.18
    Julia said:

    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!

    • 10.30.18
      Laura said:

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

  25. 10.20.18
    2cairnterriers said:

    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!

    • 10.20.18
      Julia said:

      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.

      • 10.20.18
        2cairnterriers said:

        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.

    • 10.30.18
      Laura said:

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

  26. 9.22.18
    Megan said:

    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.

    • 9.24.18
      Laura said:

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

  27. 2.28.18
    Joann Hayford said:

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

  28. 11.18.17
    Jessica said:

    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!

    • 11.18.17
      Laura said:

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

    • 12.27.20
      Missy said:

      Do you have the nutritional information?

      • 12.27.20
        Laura said:

        Hi, Missy! I don’t provide nutrition info, but there are lots of online calculators you can plug the ingredients into 🙂 Enjoy!

  29. 11.13.16
    Larisa Meschi said:

    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.

    • 11.13.16
      Laura said:

      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!!

  30. 11.13.16
    joye said:

    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.

    • 11.13.16
      Laura said:

      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!

      • 11.14.16
        joye said:

        Thank you for your speedy reply!

        • 11.20.16
          joye said:

          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!

          • 11.20.16
            Laura said:

            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!

  31. 11.12.16
    Leanne said:

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

    • 11.13.16
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much, Leanne

  32. 11.10.16
    Wendy said:

    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.

    • 11.13.16
      Laura said:

      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!

  33. 11.9.16
    Louise said:

    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.

    • 11.10.16
      Laura said:

      Thank you for your comment, Louise. Still reeling.

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

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