Orecchiette Vegetable Bean Soup

Yesterday there was an ice storm in St. Louis so I hibernated all day and made lemon cornmeal muffins and orecchiette vegetable bean soup. I’ll tell you about the lemon muffins later this week, but first, I’ll give you the recipe for the vegetable soup.

Soup is my go-to during the winter because it’s quick, easy, and it lasts a while. I like to make a big batch and put half in the freezer and half in the fridge, so I can eat it throughout the week.

This orecchiette vegetable bean soup deserves a permanent place in my fridge/freezer. It’s warming, healthy, flavorful, and light enough that I can eat two bowls back to back. I had some extra farro in the fridge last night so I mixed it in. If you have extra cooked grains on hand, you can always add them to this soup. Just make sure you let them sit in the warm broth long enough to heat up.

My favorite part about the soup is the orecchiette. Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian and the pasta shape reflects its name. I like how they become little saucers in the soup. If you don’t have orecchiette or you can’t find it at the grocery store, you could always choose a different small noodle and adjust the cooking time.

This soup is great on its own but it’s also delicious with some good, crusty bread. It comes together in one pot, which saves you cooking time and cleanup. The hardest part about making the soup is dicing vegetables, which, if you’re like me, can feel like torture. Embrace the journey because you will be rewarded with a great cold-weather meal.

Here’s a song to get you started on your orecchiette vegetable soup journey.

Orecchiette Vegetable Bean Soup


1 Tbsp canola oil
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 cups vegetable stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups dry orecchiette pasta
1 can pinto beans, rinsed & strained
1 bunch lacinato kale, sliced into ribbons
2 lemons, halved
black pepper for serving


Heat the canola oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about four minutes. Add the garlic, diced celery and carrots, give the mixture a stir, and cook for another six minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt, red pepper flakes, vegetable stock, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir and then cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat up to high. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, add the pasta. Cook uncovered for about eight minutes and then add the beans, and cook for another five minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme. Stir in the kale and right at it starts to wilt, remove the pot from the heat.

Squeeze in the juice of two lemons and sprinkle in black pepper to taste. You can also add more salt if you’d like. Enjoy!

About Emily Wasserman

Bonjour! My name is Emily and I'm a writer based in St. Louis. I'm also a home baker with a small business, Amélie Bakery. I'm a self-proclaimed francophile and love French pastries and baking.
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