White Bean Chowder

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White Bean Chowder - all the flavors you love in clam chowder but with cannelli  beansWe interrupt our normally scheduled programming to bring you “Soup-a-palooza”!!! The brainchild of Kristen at Dine and Dish and Cheryl at Tidy Mom, today is the day we are celebrating soup, and in my case, White Bean Chowder – and hopefully win some cool prizes from Bush’s Beans, Pillsbury,  Hip Hostess and Westminster Crackers.

I don’t know about you, but it seems the last 5 months  have been nothing but parties – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Superbowl and Valentine’s Day –  and despite my best intentions, I managed to pick up a few extra pounds and so a wee bit more discipline and attention to my diet is in order – and this is where soup fits in.

Easy to make with infinite varieties, it is a terrific way to get more vegetables in your diet – or in my case legumes – beans to be specific. I’ve always been a black bean fan, but cannelli beans? Eh…. not my favorites. So, I decided to challenge myself to develop a soup using white beans that I would not only eat but enjoy. This White Bean Chowder  is a riff on clam chowder – I amped up the vegetables and replaced most of the milk with stock. The result? A soup that still has  a rich, satisfying flavor with more vegetables and fiber!

Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers


White Bean Chowder

For a vegetarian version of this soup, feel free to use vegetarian bacon and of course use vegetable stock.

(Serves 4)

4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup finely diced red onion

1/2 cup finely diced celery

1/2 cup finely diced carrot

1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried

5 cups  low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

2 – 15 oz. cans white cannelli beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup milk or fat free half and half

salt and white pepper to taste


  1. In a dutch oven or large soup pot cook the bacon over medium high heat until browned and crisp. Remove from the pot and drain on a paper towel.
  2. Pour out all but 1 tsp. bacon fat. Return pot to medium high heat and add the onions, celery, carrots, and red bell pepper. Saute until vegetables are softened – about 3 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to high and add the sherry – scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until almost all the sherry has evaporated – about 4 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle flour and thyme over the vegetables. Stir and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the soup for about 4 minutes. Add the beans, bacon and the milk or half and half.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. Garnish with additional minced vegetables or fresh thyme if desired.



    • says

      I know exactly what you mean!! My husband loves soup for dinner but it is never enough to fill up two teenage boys so I always have to have something more substantial besides the soup!!

    • says

      Either the parties have to stop, or I am going to have to resort to elastic waist pants!!! It was so fun to see you on Saturday – maybe when Kim’s better we can do breakfast!!

  1. says

    Love your modified soup! Bet it’ll be just what I need to knock the flu. :-) And perfect for the stormy days we have coming up ahead…


    • says

      I have to admit this came out better than I thought it would. The beans really taste good in it!! I am so sorry that you are sick with the flue – that is just no fun!!
      Love these stormy days since I get to make all the cold weather dishes that I love!

  2. says

    I love bean soups. i’m also not a huge fan of white beans but I want to give this a try. And can I just say that your photography is looking SO good. This picture is exceptionally good.

    Hope all is well with you and your family.

    • says

      Hi Damaris!!

      Thanks so much for the shout out on Twitter!!! I have to say I really enjoyed the beans in this soup – for some reason they took on a depth of flavor that was surprising. Thanks to for the compliment on the photography. It isn’t where I want it yet, but I am getting there!!!
      Hope all is well with your crew as well!

  3. says

    Looks delicious and straight forward to make, I will definitely have to give this a try. I love cannellini beans, especially when you cook them a long time and they break down and make the soup all nice and thick.

    Life of Pi is such a good book, you have inspired me to reread it!

  4. Lydia says

    I’m echoing LQ. It may have lots of vegetables, but that’s not quite what vegetarian means. Most vegetarians I know wouldn’t eat soup with meat stock, let alone thick-cut bacon.

    • says

      Hello Lydia,

      If you will note, the recipe calls for chicken or vegetable stock. As for the bacon, I did err in not adding that vegetarian “bacon” may be used instead. Thank you for pointing that out and I will be making that correction!

    • says

      I did add it in as a garnish when I served it. Had it the next day w/o the bacon and it still tasted had that smokey flavor so you could do it either way!

    • says

      Hi Leslie!!

      I use a couple of different sherries depending upon what I am using them for – for the soup, an inexpensive sherry works fine – the one I use is from California. In dishes where the sherry plays more of a “starring role” I use a good Amontillado sherry – to find one that suits your needs I would try a good wine store and talk with the owner for a recommendation based upon what you are going to be using the sherry for!

  5. says

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say superb blog!

    • says

      Hello Sarah!

      Ah, proof that I absolutely need a proof reader! You can add the bacon back when you add the milk OR if you like the crunch of the bacon, you can add it just before serving!!!

    • says

      Hi Laura! Yes, although the texture will change so in order to keep the soup creamy, I would set aside the portion you want to freeze before adding the fat free half and half or cream and add it after re heating in the crock pot! You made need to add a little extra stock or water to the soup after freezing since it will thicken!

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