Pancetta and white bean soup with kale has similar flavors as bean with bacon soup, but you can feel good about eating this flavorful and hearty soup.

White footed bowls containing soup on red checked cloth. Yellow Dutch oven with soup in background.

I’m not going to lie, soups never used to really excite me. I’d always want something else with them. But they’ve really been growing on me lately. Maybe it’s because they’re typically pretty easy to make. 

Ben’s job as a high school principal means I hardly ever see the guy. And if I do, it’s often for a quick dinner before he jets back to work for a game, a concert, or a meeting. Sometimes we tag along, sometimes he takes the kids so I can have a little time to get stuff done, or sometimes he goes back alone. 

Overhead of white footed bowl on red checked cloth with red spoon alongside. Fresh parsley leaves scattered around bowls.

So I’ve been looking for quick meals that don’t come from a pizza delivery man, that is, good nutritious meals that don’t break the bank and take forever to make.

White bean soup with pancetta and kale fits the bill. It’s a soup my whole family loves. E even ate some, and N is still in that phase where he doesn’t eat anything.

I always loved Campbell’s bean with bacon soup growing up. This soup is total different (I mean…umm…KALE), but the flavors of the smoky pancetta paired with the beans really reminds me of bean with bacon soup. A bowl of white bean soup is filling and flavorful, and has quickly become a new favorite of ours.

About this pancetta and white bean soup

White bean soup is a one pan meal. Yaay! That means less cleanup. You can have it ready in less than a half hour. Double Yaay! And the soup nutritious and delicious, too. Triple Yaay!

What’s in this soup?

  • Pancetta (bacon would work fine, too)
  • Cannellini beans, from 2 cans, drained and rinsed
  • Onions, garlic, carrots
  • Baby kale
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Chicken broth

Begin by sautéing the pancetta until it’s browned. Remove it to a paper-towel lined plate to drain a bit. Reserving about a tablespoon of grease in the pan, add chopped onions and carrots to the pan, stirring and cooking until they soften. Add a bit of garlic and stir until the mixture is fragrant, about a minute. Throw in a big bunch of kale and stir fry that until it’s wilted and softened. 

You’re almost there now. Add some broth, canned tomatoes, and canned cannellini beans and simmer a bit until the soup is nice and hot. It doesn’t matter really how long you simmer it so if you’re not quite ready for dinner yet, no problem. Just keep it on low heat until you’re ready. 

Serve with fresh parsley, if you have it. A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese is really great, too! I like to serve this soup with crackers or if I’m really ambitious, corn bread or homemade rolls

Make this bean soup recipe your own

  • Use bacon or diced ham instead of pancetta. If you’re looking for a vegetarian version, omit the pancetta, and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Substitute spinach for the baby kale, adding it right before you serve it, since spinach cooks more quickly than kale.
  • Add additional vegetables, such as celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, or whatever you like. Diced sweet potato would be good, too.
  • Looking for a slow cooker recipe? Try this Slow Cooker Chicken Kale Soup with cannellini beans. It’s similar to this bean soup recipe.

Make Ahead Ideas

If you have extra time in the morning, chop the onions and carrots and refrigerate them. When dinner comes, you’ll have that part of the recipe ready to go.

This pancetta and bean soup freezes well. Make a double batch and freeze half for dinner next week. 

Storage and Reheating

Store leftover soup in a tightly covered container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge for best results before reheating. Heat in a saucepan on the stove or by the bowl in the microwave. This soup makes great lunches.

Closeup of bowl of soup.

More soup, please!

Looking for more recipes like white bean soup with kale? Try one of these:


White footed soup bowl containing white bean soup on red checked cloth, with red spoon and fresh parsley leaves alongside.

Pancetta and White Bean Soup with Kale

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Pancetta and White Bean Soup with Kale has similar flavors as bean with bacon soup, but you can feel good about eating this flavorful and hearty soup.


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces (3/4 to 1 cup) diced pancetta
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (about a cup)
  • 2 carrots, diced (about a cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups loosely packed baby kale (spinach would work too)
  • two (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock or broth
  • fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned. Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Remove all but one tablespoon of the oil from the pan. Add onions and carrots and sauté until softened and onions are translucent. Add garlic and stir, continuing to cook for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Add baby kale and continue to stir until kale is wilted. Add cooked pancetta, beans, tomatoes and broth.
  4. Cook until heated through and serve garnished with plenty of fresh parsley.


  • Serving size: 1 cup.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 504mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 9g sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

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