Serbian White Bean Soup (Pasulj)

Pasulj - White Bean Soup

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 5 mins
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
287 Calories
7g Fat
36g Carbs
20g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 287
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 989mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Protein 20g
Calcium 148mg 11%
*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.)

Serbian white bean soup, or pasulj, is a hearty stick-to-the-ribs affair that can be made with or without meat though this version is with meat. True, Serbian bean soup is made with the white tetovac (тетовац) bean, but Great Northern beans work just as well! The soup can be thickened with a zafrig (roux) if desired, or partially puréed. Personally, I prefer mine chunky.

Once considered a peasant dish, pasulj has become a much-loved traditional Serbian dish often seen in the fanciest restaurants.

SHORTCUT: Soak the beans overnight and drain. Place in a slow cooker with smoked sausage instead of a ham hock and the rest of the ingredients.


  • For the Soup:
  • 1/2 pound tetovac beans or Great Northern beans (rinsed)
  • 16 cups cold water
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham hock or ham bone or use shortcut above
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 carrots (peeled and sliced or medium chopped)
  • 3 medium red potatoes (peeled and cut into medium pieces)
  • 2 ribs celery (medium chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (medium chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • For ​the Zafrig (Thickener):
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sweet or hot paprika

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large soup pot, place beans, water, and ham. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so beans don't stick, and skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower temperature and simmer 1 hour.

  2. Add vegetables, bring back to the boil, reduce heat, and continue to simmer for 1 more hour. Remove the meat from the ham hock or ham bone and return to soup.

  3. If the soup isn't thick enough, you can add an optional zafrig or thickener. In a small saucepan, add oil and flour and cook until light brown. Add paprika off heat, stirring well. Return to low heat and add 1 cup bean soup, mixing well. Pour back into the soup pot and simmer 5 minutes or until soup is thickened to your liking.

  4. Serve in heated bowls garnished with chopped parsley if desired. It tastes even better the next day!