White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

This is the sort of soup I crave when the weather turns. Hearty, substantial, and squarely in the comfort food realm. It's the simplest of bean soups, topped with plump herb-packed dumplings. I use whatever herbs I have on hand, and in this case it was dill, basil, and minced lemongrass, along with lots of scallions. Doubling down on the herb flavors, I also add a big dollop of pesto. A classic dumpling stew with a green, herby twist. Super delicious, and satisfying.

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

Variations

I note a number of variations in the headnotes of the recipe down below. If you don't want to go the pesto route, a mustard-spike is also delicious. Or, harissa! A couple of tablespoons of harissa paste in place of pesto takes the dumplings in a completely different directions.

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

Making this soup vegan is simple. The soup is already vegan, you just need to make a couple tweaks to the dumplings. First, be sure to use nut milk in the dumpling batter, and omit the egg (adding an extra 1/4 cup of nut milk to the batter). The details are in the headnotes as well. The dumplings are a bit more dense, but still tasty. The one important detail to adhere to - don't oversize the dumplings.

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

 

White Bean Soup with Pesto Herb Dumplings

3.74 from 50 votes

To make this soup vegan, omit the egg in the dumpling, and bump the almond milk up to 1 1/4 cup. The dumplings won't be quite as tender, but they're still good. I also like to make this soup with a mustard accent or (!) a harissa accent in the dumplings. For this, omit the pesto, and use either 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard, or 2 tablespoons harissa paste.

Ingredients
White Bean Soup:
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly crushed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 5 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • 14- ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Pesto Herb Dumplings:
  • 1 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 cup chopped herbs (dill, scallions, basil, lemongrass, etc.), plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a large, wide soup pot saute the onions and carrots in the olive oil over medium high heat. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the caraway seeds, if using, and then sprinkle with the flour, stir, and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the flour to toast just a bit. Stir in the water, and salt, and bring to a gentle simmer, and cook until the soup thickens, 5 minutes or so. Stir in the beans. Allow to simmer gently while you make the dumplings.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the almond milk, egg, and pesto, whisk well, until uniform, then add the herbs. In another mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, then stir with a large fork until just combined. Drop generous tablespoons of this dumpling mixture into the gently simmering soup. Resist the urge to make the dumplings larger than this, they will definitely blossom in size. It's fine if the dumplings are touching. Cover and cook for 7 minutes or so. Use a big spoon to flip each dumpling, and cook for another 7 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve hot, topped with more chopped herbs and scallions.
Serves
6
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • Loved, loved, loved this! Thank you. I made it as written but used homemade chicken stock. My herbs were dill, scallions and oregano. So good.

    Kelly
  • I made this as written, with the pesto, and it was amazing. (Even better on the second day!). It came together quickly, and the caraway seed was a perfect touch.

    Erin
  • Fresh caraway seeds are a must! The only thing I'll change next time is to use more broth or add less flour to the soup. It got so thick it was difficult to add the dumplings and the leftovers were pretty sludgey (I don't think it's meant to be eaten as leftovers though). The dumpling recipe made at least twice as much as I could fit in the soup so I used it the next day in some tomato soup. Fantastic! I'll never make plain dumplings again.

    Jake
  • Wondering if the dumplings absolutely require the whole wheat pastry flour - could I try white whole wheat flour, all-purpose, or whole wheat flour? Or do you think the dumplings would end up too dense? Thanks!

    Rachel
    • Give it a try - maybe start with a blend of APF & one of the WW flours :)!

      Heidi Swanson
  • Hi! This looks fantastic! I’m wondering what herbs you might use if you were making the harissa dumpling version.

    Wes
    • Hi Wes, quite honestly, you could leave them out, and just let the harissa take center stage.

      Heidi Swanson
  • This is remarkably good. My husband, who grew up on his grandmother's Chicken and Dumplings said we should have it for dinner every week. I don't know about that, but it certainly is in my rotation for chilly days.

    Victoria
  • ever since I made this soup & dumplings for the first time my wife now demands I make it 2 or 3 times per month... cant blame her... it is simply wonderful!!!!!

    larry
  • Hubba hubba! Vegan version happening soon.

    Denise
  • Finally made this today. Not as pretty as yours but bright yet cozy, perfect for the sluggish beginning to the spring we are getting here! Thanks!

    Julie
  • Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! I added a tsp of Italian Seasoning and a parsnip to the soup. My kids ate two bowls and loooooved the dumplings.

    Genevieve M
  • Fantastic! Thanks for another great recipe. Whipped up quickly for dinner this evening - with the harissa paste - to rave reviews. Our girls now age 10 and 12 have grown up on your recipes, via the blog and your well-worn cookbooks on our shelf. 'Is this Heidi's recipe?' they ask, as if you're a personal friend.... This will be packed in lunchboxes tomorrow (surely the only two students at Chinese school in Seoul, Korea with this deliciousness waiting for the noon bell). Keep up the creativity, Heidi!

    Thanks for the note Dee Dee! This makes my day....

    Dee Dee
  • If I were trying to do a little pre-prep, would I be able to make the dumpling mixture a few hours before cooking?

    HS: Hi Amanda - yes, totallly! Although I might combine the wet and dry ingredients just before making the actual dumplings.

    Amanda
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