Spinach and Leek Soup with Garlic and Cannellini Beans

In cooler months, Sundays often find us making homemade soup, perfect for a quick dinner or for weekday work lunches. It’s important to me that it’s a healthy soup with lots of veggies and not too heavy. So when I spotted chef-author Ronne Day’s Spinach and Leek Soup with Garlic and Cannellini Beans from an issue of Fine Cooking, I knew we had a winner. And yes, it’s extremely simple.

As with any soup, much of the flavor comes from the broth, so use homemade chicken stock if you have it. Creamy, earthy beans and plenty of greens make this delicately lemony soup satisfying enough for a light meal. For a more substantial meal, serve it with some good crusty bread—or a sandwich, if you’re really hungry. Make sure to purchase mature spinach rather than the baby variety which wilts down to nothing when cooked.

We didn’t pick up Gruyère as a topper because we already had a Dutch Maasdam cheese with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that paired perfectly with the soup. Son David happened to be visiting as the soup was cooling so he was the lucky recipient of the first bowl, and gave it “two thumbs up.”


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tsp. dried mustard
  • 6 cups chicken broth or stock, preferably homemade
  • 8 oz. spinach, trimmed and cut into 1-inch ribbons (about 8 lightly packed cups)
  • 1 15.5-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. finely grated aged Gruyère (about 1/2 cup)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

The spinach is chopped into ribbons awaiting its turn toward the end of the process.



  1. In a 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until tender and browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and mustard, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 seconds. Raise the heat to high, add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil.
  3. Add the spinach and beans, and cook until the spinach wilts. Stir in the lemon juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve topped with the cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

By Ronne Day from Fine Cooking

A small glass lock-n-lock containing a lunch portion with the shredded cheese added.

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