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Fennel Soup with Pasta & White Beans

This chunky fennel soup is so satisfying and easy to make! Jam-packed with veggies, pasta, and beans in a savory white wine broth, it’s comforting and absolutely delicious. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Wooden surface set with two bowls of Fennel Soup and dutch oven.

Fennel is one of those veggies that I don’t cook with nearly enough! I mean, I love fennel, but I always seem to forget about it until one day it pops up in a recipe for something like vegan Italian wedding soup, which I then proceed to make and on first bite am reminded of the wonderful texture and flavor that fennel adds to a dish.

So I decided to make fennel the star of this soup. I’ve included no less than two whole fennel bulbs in the recipe, which is quite a bit! But in order to keep things from getting boring, we’re also using a bunch of other ingredients like pasta, beans, carrots, and basil, all of which go deliciously with fennel.

If you’re not used to cooking with fennel, you’re in for a treat! It has a texture and that’s not far off from celery, but a bit firmer. The flavor can most closely be compared to licorice, but in a soup like this it comes across very mild. The result is a fennel soup that’s delicious and bright!

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Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Small pasta shells. Feel free to substitute another small variety of pasta, such as orzo, elbow macaroni, or ditalini.
  • Olive oil. You can use another high-heat oil if you’d like, but olive will give your soup the best flavor.
  • Fennel bulbs.
  • Carrots.
  • Garlic.
  • White wine. Use a dry white wine such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Also keep in mind that not all wine is vegan. You can check with Barnivore to ensure the brand that you choose is.
  • Vegetable broth. I’m a big fan of Better Than Bouillon in seasoned vegetable flavor.
  • Cannellini beans. Feel free to substitute another type of bean if you’d like. Chickpeas, butter beans, and lentils would all be great in this recipe!
  • Red pepper flakes. Leave these out if you’d prefer a heat-free soup.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Fresh basil.
  • Salt & black pepper.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Chop all of your veggies before getting started. The easiest way to dice fennel is by cutting the stalks and fronds from the bulb, then setting the bulb upright on a cutting board and slicing it into slabs. You can then cut the slabs vertically and horizontally.
Whole fennel bulb and sliced fennel bulb on a wooden cutting board.
  • Cook your pasta by boiling it according to the package directions. Drain it into a colander when it’s finished.
  • While your pasta boils, heat up the oil in a large pot, then add diced fennel and carrots. Sweat the veggies until the start to soften up. This can take about 10 minutes since there’s a lot of them!
  • Add garlic to the veggies and sauté briefly.
  • Carefully pour in the wine, bring it to a simmer and let it cook for a few minutes.
Hand pouring white wine into a pot of diced vegetables.
  • Stir the broth, beans and red pepper flakes into the pot, raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil.
  • Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes or so. You can test pieces of the fennel and carrots using a fork — they should pierce easily when the soup is done.
Fennel Soup simmering on a stove top.
  • Take the pot off of heat and stir in the pasta, along with lemon juice, fresh basil, salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon stirring pasta and basil into a pot of Fennel Soup.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy!
Bowl of Fennel Soup with a second bowl in the background.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover fennel soup will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The pasta will probably soak up a lot of the broth as it sits. Feel free to add some extra broth when you reheat it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this soup be made gluten-free?

Sure! Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Is there a good way to use up the stalks and fronds that aren’t going into this soup?

The easiest way to use them is in a salad. Dice the stalks and chop the fronds, and toss them right in. Fennel fronds also make a really nice garnish for bowls of the soup.

Can I use fennel seeds in this soup?

Sure! Try adding a half teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds at the same time as the broth. It will give the soup a more intense herby flavor.

More Pasta Soups

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Bowl of Fennel Soup with Fresh Basil on Top

Fennel Soup with Pasta & White Beans

This chunky fennel soup is so satisfying and easy to make! Jam-packed with veggies, pasta, and beans in a savory white wine broth, it’s comforting and absolutely delicious. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Ingredients

  • 1
    cup
    small dried pasta shells
  • 2
    tablespoons
    olive oil
  • 2
    medium fennel bulbs,
    diced
  • 2
    medium carrots,
    diced
  • 4
    garlic cloves,
    minced
  • ¾
    cup
    dry white wine
  • 6
    cups
    vegetable broth
  • 1
    (14 ounce or 400 gram) can
    cannellini beans,
    drained and rinsed
  • Pinch
    red pepper flakes,
    or to taste
  • 1
    tablespoon
    lemon juice
  • ½
    cup
    chopped fresh basil
  • Salt & black pepper,
    to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta shells and cook them according to the package directions. Drain them into a colander when done.

  2. While the pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large pot with the oil and place it over medium heat.

  3. When the oil is hot, add the fennel and carrots. Sweat the veggies, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften up after about 10 minutes.

  4. Stir in the garlic and cook it with the veggies until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

  5. Stir in the wine. Raise the heat and bring it to a simmer. Let it cook for about 4 minutes, until reduced by about half.

  6. Stir in the broth, beans, and red pepper flakes.

  7. Bring the broth to a boil, lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, until the carrots and fennel are tender.

  8. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the pasta, along with lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Nutrition Facts

Fennel Soup with Pasta & White Beans

Amount Per Serving (1.5 cups)

Calories 249
Calories from Fat 47

% Daily Value*

Fat 5.2g8%

Saturated Fat 0.7g4%

Sodium 806mg34%

Potassium 643mg18%

Carbohydrates 34.5g12%

Fiber 7.1g28%

Sugar 5.7g6%

Protein 7.9g16%

Calcium 105mg11%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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