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Great Northern Bean Soup Recipe with Bacon

This Great Northern bean soup recipe with bacon and kale in a chicken broth base, this sage flavored soup is hearty and delicious!
Great Northern bean soup recipe in pot and bowl

Today’s recipe is for white bean soup with bacon and kale.

Hearty, and soothing, this is a good soup.

It is full of fiber and fiber. And kale. Which is fiber, too.

You could leave it out. Did I mention protein? Lots of that, too. This is good and filling.

And white beans are easy to work with. After a quick boiling water soak of an hour, the soup can then be ready in another hour.

You could  make this without the bacon. But it only has three slices of bacon in the whole pot. I don’t think that’s so bad.

It just doesn’t have French Fries!

Manservant informed me for the third day in a row that he is out of coffee.

He also tells me he doesn’t NEED coffee. I believe that like I believe he’s going to get a job offer any day now.

The truth is that he doesn’t want to run to the store to get coffee, because it is cold outside. Poor baby. We all know it is cold outside.

Every damn channel is covering the cold, except the CNN person who found herself in Miami and is feeling a bit guilty about it. I wish her no ill will!

HOWEVER! There is a guy in Dallas that needs to report for work soon or I swear-I am going to lose it.

I am told that he has been on holiday and will hopefully show up tomorrow. I think he is just a wuss and doesn’t want to go outside, because it is cold in Dallas, too.

I swear, (I’m doing a lot of swearing today) I will fly down there and escort him to his officedom if I can catch a flight.

And if he isn’t on holiday, and this is really related to the weather, than I think he is a doublewuss. It’s just not that cold in Dallas.

You may wonder why I am so busy swearing today… As some of you may know, my Manservant, who is an entrepreneur, has decided that it is time he takes a real job.

Well, he decided that awhile ago, but it has taken over a year to find the job. (He is lucky he is still alive.)

But-he is an entrepreneur and you can’t be an entrepreneur, unless you have like…20 lives. We are at… like 19.

In any case… he has been told that he will be getting an offer any day now. They have already sent the benefits package.

That’s kind of like putting the cart before the horse, I think.

Today he got an email from his friend saying that he is sorry this offer hasn’t arrived.

It appears the HR wuss in Dallas (these might not have been his exact words) is still on holiday and said offer has to wait on this guy in HR.

I hate HR. (Sorry, if you work in HR!)

You mean to tell me that in a billion dollar company there is only one guy who can put together the paperwork? Sorry. I am venting…

bean soup recipe with bacon

In any case, I am sitting here on a very sunny, cold day wanting French Fries.

I haven’t had French Fries in a very long time.

I make French Fries about once a year and today is not the day.

But I still want French Fries. With Heinz ketchup and salt. I would eat them all and if you took me out to get them I wouldn’t share.

I mean that. I am so not in a sharing mood. But I might give some to that HR wuss if he ever got to his desk.

Maybe I would drizzle them with truffle oil and sprinkle them with truffle salt, if the offer is good.

But maybe not.  I haven’t been out to eat in so long and this is pathetic, that all I can think I want in a restaurant is French Fries.

The good news is that my son lost 10 pounds in the last 6 weeks.

He is working hard at Matsuhisa in Vail. It is a big restaurant and he does a lot of walking.

And during the day he does a lot of skiing. So, if you want to lose weight, my suggestion is to work in a big restaurant as a table runner and ski during the day.

 I think if I ate all those French Fries I might have to get a job like his.

However, I think they only hire young, good looking, robust types that don’t eat French Fries.

A few nights ago he met Nobu and Jose Andres. If you are in the food world, this might make your eyes light up.

If you aren’t, forget it. He is doing great and finally, after sleeping on many couches, he was able to move into his just redone rental right on Gore Creek in the Village.  (Score!)

I am  just happy he finally has a bed. He is definitely learning how to get by which will serve him well when he leaves to go to China in the Spring.

I better not think about that now. It might make me want a double order of French Fries.

bean soup recipe with bacon in bowl and pot

The above was written in 2014. Below is updated in 2024! How time flies!

I love this Great Northern Bean Soup Recipe. It is hearty and filling and totally adaptable to what’s in the fridge. And if you forgot to soak those beans, you can certainly use cans!

Great Northern beans are a type of white bean and have been a staple in culinary traditions for centuries. 

Originally cultivated in North America, these beans earned their name due to their adaptability to different climates, particularly the northern regions.

Known for their mild flavor and tender texture, Great Northern beans have become a popular choice for soups, stews, and casseroles.

Don’t have Great Northerns? Substitute cannellini beans or navy beans.

Make This Great Northern Bean Soup with Bacon:

Gather the following ingredients: 

1 lb of dried white beans
3 thick slices of bacon (Leave out if you want this vegetarian)
2 c chopped onion
1/3 c chopped celery
1/3 c chopped carrots
2 T chopped parsley
5 chopped garlic cloves
1 t dried sage
1 bay leaf
8 c chicken broth (I use Better than Bouilion) (Use vegetable broth if you want this vegetarian.
1 bunch of chopped kale (If the inner rib is tough, remove it)
6 chopped sage leaves 

Make Your Soup:

Prepare the Beans: Start by soaking the dry Great Northern beans in cold water overnight. Alternatively, use the quick soak method by bringing the beans to a boil in a large pot, removing them from heat, and letting them sit for an hour. Drain and rinse the beans before use.

Sauté the Aromatics: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp and remove from pot. If you don’t want bacon add 3 T of olive oil to the pot. Add finely chopped onions, celery, and carrots, sautéing until the vegetables become tender and fragrant. Add the garlic and parsley and cook one minute.

Building the Broth: Add beans, sage, bay leaf and chicken broth. Stir the mixture well, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer and cover. The slow cooking process is essential for developing a rich and flavorful broth.
Kale and Seasoning: When soup is just about ready add the chopped kale and the fresh sage leaves. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Blend for Creaminess: For those who prefer a creamier texture, use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup.

Serve and Enjoy: Ladle the steaming soup into bowls, garnishing with a sprinkle of crisp bacon and maybe some Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with crusty bread for a complete and satisfying meal. 

bean soup recipe with bacon in bowl

Substitutions for this White Bean Soup with Bacon:

Have a ham bone? Add it to the soup for extra flavor.

A Parmesan rind is wonderful, too.

Tomato paste also adds flavor. 

Don’t like kale? Stir in a handful of spinach or just leave the greens out.

Don’t like sage? Basil works too!

Conversion for Dried Beans to Canned Beans:

Want to use canned beans? 1/2 c of dry beans is equivalent to 1 15 ounce can of beans. 

To make this recipe you will need 3-4 cans of beans. Keep in mind that canned beans are saltier, so be sure to adjust your seaosnings.

Leftovers and Storage:

Great Northern Bean Soup is known for tasting even better the next day. 

Store any leftover soup in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag for later enjoyment.

Individual portions can be frozen for a quick and easy meal whenever the soup season calls.

Nutritional Benefits:

Great Northern beans, rich in protein and dietary fiber, are nutrient dense. 

Kale adds vitamins and antioxidants, creating a wholesome and well-balanced dish. 

The white bean soup with bacon is a great way to incorporate essential nutrients into your diet while savoring homemade soup.

Great Northern Bean Soup is a great meal for the entire family.

With just a few simple ingredients you can make a great soup.

There are probably a million white bean soup recipes out there and I have to admit I often switch mine up, depending on what’s in the fridge.

This Great Northern bean soup recipe is a great place to start when creating your own delicious soup.

Let me know what you think!

white bean kale soup

More to try on a cold day:

Barbecue Bean Soup

Red Beans and Rice

red beans and rice recipe

Black Eyed Peas

Hoppin' John black eyed peas

This post contains affiliate links from which I may or may not earn a small commission at no cost to you.
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White Bean and Bacon soup with Kale 2 1 1024x816 1

White Bean, Bacon and Kale Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 - 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Soups/Main Course
  • Cuisine: American


White bean kale soup with bacon is hearty and comforting and pretty good for you. Even if it has a touch of bacon!


Units Scale

1 lb of dried white beans
3 thick slices of bacon
2 c chopped onion
1/3 c chopped celery
1/3 c chopped carrots
2 T chopped parsley
5 chopped garlic cloves
1 t dried sage
1 bay leaf
8 c chicken broth (I use Better than Bouilion)
1 bunch of chopped kale (If the inner rib is tough, remove it)
6 chopped sage leaves

Salt and Fresh Pepper


Rinse beans and in a big pot cover with 8 c water. Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for an hour.

While beans are soaking, chop bacon into big bites. Fry in a big soup pot. (I use my Dutch oven) Remove when good and crisp. Set aside.

Throw in the onion, carrots and celery. Saute until soft. Add parsley and garlic and cook for about one minute. Set aside until beans are ready.

After beans have soaked, rinse them and add beans to Dutch oven.

Add dried sage, bay leaf and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer and keep lid on, but slightly ajar and cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until beans are as soft as you’d like them.

(If you want, you can puree some of them with an immersion blender. I like them just the way they are, but this is one way to get a creamier soup.)

Add kale and fresh sage about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with bacon when ready to serve. Serve with French Fries. I mean, bread and butter!



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Tuesday 14th of January 2014

This is such a wonderful and delicious looking soup!!Perfect for the weather here.I will just omit the bacon (it's forbidden for us)

Abbe Odenwalder

Thursday 9th of January 2014

Thanks Anna and Liz. Crazy, huh? It should be a good year and I'm glad I made you laugh!

Abbe Odenwalder

Thursday 9th of January 2014


Laura Dembowski

Thursday 9th of January 2014

This soup sounds amazing and so comforting! I'm sorry for the trouble you are having with the job offer. These companies can all be a pain, but it will work out. And your son's job sounds so cool! Oh, and we all crave French fries sometimes. Make a batch and enjoy!

Abbe Odenwalder

Thursday 9th of January 2014

Laura, life can be a lot of trouble but it beats the alternative! Thanks for your optimism! My son has had a lot of cool jobs-but they are all work. Thank goodness he is good at that!

Anna and Liz Recipes

Thursday 9th of January 2014

HI Abbe! I love this soup! Its all we have been making these past few days. And, yours has kale, white beans, and oh that bacon has to be the stellar in the soup - I just know it! Your story about HR is funny and I agree with you, only one guy? Hope your hubby hears something soon. And, your son is having a blast in Vail!