Pasulj (Serbian White Bean Soup) Recipe

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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
269 Calories
11g Fat
21g Carbs
22g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 269
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 62mg 21%
Sodium 153mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 22g
Vitamin C 9mg 43%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 707mg 15%
*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 white beans, or Great Northern beans, rinsed

  • 4 quarts cold water

  • 1 1/2 pounds ham hock, or ham bone, or smoked sausage for slow cooker version

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced or medium chopped

  • 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into medium pieces

  • 2 stalks celery, medium chopped

  • 1 medium onion, medium chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, 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.