Comforting Escarole Soup Recipe (A Family Favorite)

Savor the garden-fresh goodness of our Radiant Greens Escarole Soup Recipe, a symphony of tender escarole leaves, white beans, and savory broth. Each spoonful is a dance of textures and flavors, with the slightly bitter escarole playing beautifully against the creamy beans and rich, herbed broth. A sprinkle of Parmesan adds a luxurious touch, while a hint of garlic whispers of rustic charm. This bowl of nourishing delight promises to rejuvenate your palate and soul, bringing a touch of the garden to your table.

Escarole soup recipe is a culinary gem that effortlessly bridges the gap between hearty comfort food and delicate sophistication. Steeped in tradition, this luscious concoction has a tale to tell – one of rustic simplicity, interlaced with the stirring narrative of food as a unifying force.

Originating from the vibrant heart of Italy, Escarole Soup has traversed the globe, accruing a loyal following of food connoisseurs and home cooks alike.

A beautiful symphony of fresh escarole, savory broth, and velvety cannellini beans, this soup is more than just a dish; it’s an experience.

Each spoonful is a testament to the remarkable versatility of humble ingredients. As we take a deep dive into the exciting world of Escarole Soup, we’ll explore its journey, appreciate its flavors, and uncover secrets to creating the perfect bowl.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this exploration of Escarole Soup promises to rekindle your love for wholesome, home-cooked meals.

escarole soup recipe

What Is Escarole Soup?

Escarole Soup is a traditional Italian soup made with escarole and other simple, wholesome ingredients. Escarole, a type of endive, is a leafy green vegetable that adds a mildly bitter flavor and a delightful crunch to the soup.

It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients, making it a healthy addition to any meal. The soup is typically prepared with a base of chicken or vegetable broth.

It often includes cannellini beans (white kidney beans), garlic, onions, olive oil, and occasionally small pasta or pieces of Italian sausage. The escarole is added towards the end of the cooking process to keep its texture and vibrant green color.

A bowl of Escarole Soup is warming and comforting, perfect for a cold winter day, but it’s light enough to be enjoyed anytime. It’s a testament to the beauty of Italian cuisine, which often creates delightful flavors from simple, fresh ingredients.

escarole soup recipe

Can You Vary The Escarole Soup With Other Ingredients?

One of the great things about Escarole Soup is its flexibility and adaptability. Here are some variations you can consider:

  • Protein: You can add proteins like shredded chicken, sausage, or even tofu for a vegetarian option.
  • Vegetables: Consider adding other vegetables like carrots, celery, or potatoes. They’ll add more body and nutritional value to the soup.
  • Pasta: Adding small pasta shapes like orzo, ditalini, or even tortellini can give the soup more substance and turn it into a full meal.
  • Spices and Herbs: Feel free to experiment with spices and herbs. For instance, a dash of red pepper flakes can add a bit of heat, while herbs like thyme or rosemary can lend a different flavor profile.
  • Cheese: Try using a Parmigiano-Reggiano rind while cooking the soup for extra depth of flavor. You can also sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
  • Beans: If you’re not a fan of cannellini beans, feel free to swap them out for other types like chickpeas or kidney beans.
escarole soup recipe

Recipe Directions

Prepare The Soup Base

  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it is fully browned. Remove the cooked beef from the pot and set it aside.
  • In the same pot, add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the thyme, piment d’Espellette (red pepper flakes), and Mor-sels (sea salt).
  • Add the chicken broth to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, if using.
  • Once the broth is simmering, add the chopped escarole to the pot. Allow the soup to simmer until the escarole is wilted and tender, about 10 minutes.

Prepare The Cream Topping

  • Mix a cup of heavy cream, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of lemon juice in a separate bowl.
  • Whisk the mixture until it starts to thicken slightly. This will be smaller than whipped cream but should have somebody to it.

Finish The Soup

  • Add the cooked ground beef back into the soup pot. Stir in the cooked orzo.
  • Season the soup with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

To Serve

  • Remove the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, if used, before serving.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, and drizzle each serving with some prepared cream topping.
  • Serve hot, and enjoy!
escarole soup recipe

Variations, Add-Ons And Toppings

Variations

  • Vegetarian Version: Skip the ground beef and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for a vegetarian version of the soup.
  • Vegan Version: Follow the vegetarian version and omit the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind or replace it with a piece of kombu or dried shiitake mushroom for umami.
  • Spicy Version: If you enjoy a kick in your soup, add extra red pepper flakes or a diced jalapeno pepper for some heat.
  • Seafood Version: Replace ground beef with some seafood like shrimp or calamari for a lighter variant.

Add-ons

  • Proteins: Chicken, turkey, or even tofu cubes could be a great addition to the soup, adding more protein and making it more substantial.
  • Vegetables: Add vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, or carrots for added nutrition and texture.
  • Beans: Adding a can of rinsed and drained white beans like cannellini or navy beans adds more fiber and makes the soup even heartier.

Toppings

  • Cheese: A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds a wonderful flavor and enhances the soup’s savory profile.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley or basil can add color and freshness to the soup. Add them right before serving so they retain their vibrant color and flavor.
  • Croutons: Homemade croutons can add a pleasant crunch to the soup and make it more filling.
  • Drizzle of Oil: A drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil just before serving can add a lovely richness and depth of flavor to the soup.
Escarole Soup Recipe

Can I Make Escarole Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

A slow cooker and an Instant Pot can be great tools for making escarole soup, particularly because they allow the flavors to meld together over a longer cooking period.

Here’s a generalized guide on how to adapt your escarole soup recipe for these appliances:

Slow Cooker

  • Brown your ground beef in a skillet on the stove. Drain and transfer to your slow cooker.
  • Add the chopped onion, garlic, and mushrooms to the slow cooker. 
  • Add in the spices, including the thyme and pepper flakes, along with the broth.
  • Cook on low for about 6-8 hours.
  • Add the chopped escarole and the orzo pasta an hour before serving. Turn the heat up to high for this last hour to ensure the pasta cooks through.
  • Before serving, remove the cheese rind; if you used one, season with salt and black pepper, then ladle into bowls.

Instant Pot

  • Use the sauté function to brown your ground beef in the Instant Pot. Once browned, remove and set aside.
  • Still using the sauté function, add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms, cooking until softened.
  • Turn off the sauté function, add the spices and broth to the pot, followed by the browned beef.
  • Secure the lid and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for about 15 minutes.
  • After the pressure cooking cycle, carefully release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Once the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and turn on the sauté function again. Add the chopped escarole and orzo, letting the soup simmer until the pasta is cooked through (about 10 minutes).
  • Before serving, remove the cheese rind; if used, season with salt and black pepper, then ladle into bowls.
escarole soup recipe

Can I use store bought broth or should I make my own?

You can use store-bought broth for your escarole soup or any other soup recipe. It’s a convenient option and can save a lot of time. When choosing a store-bought broth, look for low-sodium options to control your dish’s salt level.

However, if you have the time and ingredients, homemade broth can make your soup even more flavorful.

Homemade broth allows you to control exactly what goes into it, so you can adjust the flavors to your liking and avoid any preservatives or additives that are often found in store-bought versions.

The choice between store-bought and homemade broth often comes down to a balance between convenience and flavor. Both options work well, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

escarole soup recipe

How To Serve?

  • Crusty Bread: A loaf of fresh, crusty bread is perfect for dipping into the soup and sopping up the flavorful broth.
  • Salad: A light, refreshing salad would contrast nicely with the hearty soup. Consider a simple green salad or a tangy citrus salad.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A grilled cheese sandwich will pair wonderfully if you want to make the meal more substantial. 
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes can add a hearty, healthy side option.
  • Quinoa or Rice: A side of quinoa or rice can help to make the soup more filling and can be a good option if you’re serving the soup as a main dish.
  • Sautéed Greens: If you’d like a side dish that mirrors the main ingredient in the soup, sautéed escarole or other greens with garlic could be a great option.
Escarole Soup Recipe

Perfect Side Dishes

Pairing your escarole soup with a perfectly complementary side dish can make for a well-rounded and satisfying meal. Here are some recommendations:

Sandwiches

  • Italian Grilled Cheese: Upgrade a classic grilled cheese sandwich with Italian cheeses and a bit of pesto for an herbaceous kick.
  • Chicken Pesto Panini: A panini stuffed with grilled chicken, pesto, and fresh mozzarella would complement the robust flavors of the soup.
  • Caprese Sandwich: Fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze create a light, refreshing counterpoint to the hearty soup.

Salads

  • Italian Chopped Salad: A robust salad with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, and a tangy vinaigrette could be a vibrant and crisp accompaniment.
  • Arugula Parmesan Salad: The peppery arugula and sharp Parmesan cheese would pair well with the soup.
  • Citrus and Fennel Salad: This salad offers a refreshing and slightly sweet contrast to the soup.

First Course

  • Bruschetta: Toasted slices of baguette topped with a mixture of ripe tomatoes, basil, and garlic offer a pleasing texture contrast.
  • Antipasto Platter: A selection of Italian cheeses, cured meats, olives, and marinated vegetables can make for a versatile and pleasing first course.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: A plate of mushrooms stuffed with a mix of breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs would make for a hearty start to the meal.
Escarole Soup Recipe

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Refrigerator Storage: Allow soup to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezer Storage: For longer storage, portion soup into freezer-safe containers, leaving some room for expansion. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Thaw frozen soup overnight in the refrigerator or reheat directly from frozen on the stove over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the soup entirely up to the point of adding delicate ingredients like fresh herbs or dairy. Store in the refrigerator, then reheat and add final ingredients just before serving.

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

Leftover escarole soup is versatile and easily repurposed into a new meal. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add Proteins: Toss in cooked chicken, shrimp, tofu, or beans for a heartier meal.
  • Pasta/Rice Addition: Stir in cooked pasta or rice to create a new texture and fill the soup.
  • Frittata: Use the leftover soup as a mix-in for a frittata. This can make for a delicious and hearty breakfast or brunch dish.
  • Stew Base: Use the soup as a base for a stew. Add in chunks of meat, more veggies, and some hearty grains like barley.
  • Bread Dip: Warm the soup and serve it with a crusty loaf of bread for dipping.

TIPS

  • Choose Fresh Ingredients: Select fresh escarole and other vegetables for the best flavor. Fresh ingredients will make a significant difference in the taste and texture of your soup.
  • Prep Ingredients Properly: Wash the escarole thoroughly to remove any dirt or grit, and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Chop other vegetables uniformly to ensure even cooking.
  • Season Thoughtfully: Season the soup at various stages of cooking to build layers of flavor. Start with seasoning the broth with salt, pepper, and any other desired herbs or spices. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed throughout the cooking process.
  • Add Aromatics: Enhance the flavor profile of your soup by adding aromatics such as garlic, onions, and celery. Sauté them in olive oil or butter until softened before adding other ingredients.
  • Use Quality Broth: If you’re not making homemade broth, opt for a high-quality store-bought option. Chicken or vegetable broth works well for this soup. Choose low-sodium broth to have more control over the salt content.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table
Hanna Barnes

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