Escarole and Bean Soup

Escarole can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets. The entire head (minus the stem) is delicious in soups. The tender pale green inner leaves also make a delicious salad.


  • 4 quarts water
  • 12 ounces Great Northern beans, picked over
  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ small head green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 10 leaves fresh basil, chopped or ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large heads escarole, chopped
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large covered pot. Add the beans, garlic, cabbage, parsley, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, basil, and olive oil. Return to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 1½ hours, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, pepper, escarole and salt. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 1 hour, stirring frequently, until the beans are soft and the broth is creamy. Taste for seasoning.