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Slow-Cooker Chicken & White Bean Soup is an easy load-and-go favorite for busy weeknights or anytime we want a healthy, hearty meal. This soup is packed with flavor and plenty of tender chicken, healthy kale and creamy soft beans.
This delicious stew-like soup tastes bright and fresh and is chocked full of heart healthy beans and one of our favorite superfoods, kale. The soup is slow cooked for 7 to 8 hours with onions, carrots and a Parmesan rind which infuses terrific flavor throughout. Spoon up a big bowl of this filling Chicken & White Bean Soup and serve it with a hunk of crusty bread, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley. Don’t forget a little hot sauce too!
As you probably already know, we love a good homemade dessert here in the SRFD kitchen.
While I may wish for butter, sugar and flour to move over into the superfood group, I know that’s never going to happen (why, why, why???) So to keep things a little more balanced (especially when the scale says we’re not at all balanced) we try to get back to healthy(ish) habits during the week. This lovely recipe has been an absolute lifesaver these last few months. I’ve been making and tweaking this soup and plan to keep it on our regular rotation even throughout the summer. It’s not at all heavy but boy is it filling making it a great warm weather soup! You’ll be surprised how satisfying this soup is and how well it keeps for days.
Canned tomatoes and a splash of vinegar or lemon juice round out the flavors of this Chicken & White Bean Soup.
I’ve made this soup with and without the tomatoes, but prefer adding a can of diced tomatoes at the end. Along with a nice pop of color, the flavors really seem to balance out with the tomatoes. We have also tried different vinegars like white balsamic and red wine. My favorite is the white balsamic but if you don’t have any on hand, just add a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the soup. Lemon adds a nice bright tang that really sings. Make sure you have fresh lemons. Don’t ruin your soup with old, stale lemons. Did you know that lemons will keep fresh for weeks if stored sealed in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator! Try it – you’ll be amazed.
PRO TIP: Do not add the tomatoes, vinegar or lemon juice until the very end, when the beans are soft and cooked through. If added too early the beans will be tough and almost crunchy – not buttery soft! The acid in the tomatoes do not play well with the beans. Just saying.
What are cannellini beans?
Cannellini beans, also referred to as white kidney beans, are easy to find in the dried bean section of your grocery store. Similar to Navy beans and great Northern beans, the cannellini is slightly larger with a thicker skin and creamier middle. If you can’t find cannellini beans, great Northern beans would be your next best choice for this recipe. Since cannellini retain their shape and texture well after cooking, they’re a favorite in many Italian dishes and soups like Minestrone. Add cannellini beans to your favorite pasta dishes, salads, stews and chili. Here’s a good article explaining the differences between 4 Types of White Beans for your reading enjoyment!
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- 1 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked, rinsed and drained
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 4-5 sprigs of thyme
- 1 Parmesan cheese rind (found in the cheese department)
- 2 bone-in chicken breasts, about 1 pound each - skin removed
- 4 cups chopped kale
- 1 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice (do not drain)
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, or the juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- hot sauce
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Rinse the beans and soak overnight according to package directions.
- Combine the beans, chicken broth, onion, carrots, thyme and Parmesan rind in a 6-quart slow-cooker. Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and push lightly to submerge. Cover and cook on LOW until the beans and vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 hours.
- Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Allow the chicken to stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Shred the chicken and discard the bones.
- Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and stir in the kale. Turn the slow-cooker up to high and cool until the kale is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the Parmesan rind and discard.
Add the can of tomatoes, with juice, vinegar, salt and pepper and stir gently to combine. Heat for 5-10 minutes on HIGH or until warmed through. Serve the soup drizzled with hot sauce, olive oil, fresh grated Parmesan and parsley, if desired.
Recipe adapted from EatingWell.com by Adam Dolge
Leftovers will keep well stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Rewarm gently and serve as needed. Soup may also be frozen.
PRO TIP: Do not add the tomatoes, vinegar or lemon juice until the end, when the beans are soft and cooked through. If added too early, the beans will be tough and almost crunchy - not buttery soft!
Here are a few more healthy recipes you might enjoy:
Spicy Pomodoro Sauce with Kale & Penne Pasta ~ a flavorful and healthy meatless Monday meal that will leave you full and satisfied. With just a few healthy ingredients and about 45 minutes, you can enjoy this spicy and delicious dish, and feel good about eating it too! Click HERE to get the recipe.
Cajun Corn and Kale Salad – Cajun spices combined with crisp sweet corn, crunchy vegetables and fresh cooked Kale – always winner in our house. This healthy combo is tasty cold, warm or at room temperature. Click HERE to get the recipe.
Swiss Chard & White Bean Stew with Onions & Tomatoes – We love this hearty and healthy meal that makes it to the table in less than 30 minutes. Enjoy this wonderfully nutritious and flavorful meatless meal packed with heart-healthy benefits, loads of vitamins and minerals, and tons of flavor. Click HERE to get the recipe.
Thanks so much for stopping by! Tricia