Fresh Borlotti Bean, Tomato, and Spinach Soup

Bean soup in a bowl with herbs and bread
istetiana / Getty Images
  • Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • If using canned beans: 45 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
405 Calories
22g Fat
16g Carbs
36g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 405
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 169mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 36g
Calcium 105mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A delicious and easy to make soup which is perfect for those chilly autumn days. The soup can be made throughout September when fresh borlotti beans are available and home-grown tomatoes are bursting with flavor. You can, of course, use other beans, such as cannellini or flageolet. Not able to get fresh, then use a tin (see the note on cooking times below). This soup freezes well.


  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large onions, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 1/2 pounds tomatoes
  • 2 pounds, 12 ounces fresh borlotti beans, shelled (1 pound, 7 ounces shelled weight)
  • 2 1/2 pints water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 7 ounces spinach
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the oil and, once hot, stir in the diced onions and garlic. Sautee gently for 15 minutes until onions are translucent.

  3. Stir in the spices and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes.

  4. Peel the tomatoes: score a tiny cross in the base of each tomato. Drop them one by one, into a pan of simmering water for 10 seconds.

  5. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into a large bowl of ice water.

  6. Peel skin from tomatoes, working from the base where crosshatch was made.

  7. Roughly chop the peeled tomatoes and mix into the softened onions. Increase the heat slightly and bring up to the boil, then cook briskly for 10 to15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the tomatoes form a thick sauce.

  8. Add the shelled beans, bay leaf, and the water. Turn the heat to high and bring up to the boil (this will take about 15 minutes), then reduce the temperature to low and simmer gently for just under 2 1/2 hours.

  9. Once the beans are tender and the soup tastes flavorsome, stir in the baby spinach. Season to taste and remove the bay leaf before serving.


Recipe Variations

  • If you cannot find fresh Borlotti, then you can use canned, though the flavor and freshness of the recipe will not be the same.
  • Add the canned beans at the moment you would have added the fresh; add the bay leaf and water and cook gently for 20 minutes.
  • Proceed with the recipe.

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