Amazingly delicious escarole soup recipe heavy on scallions and garlic finished with a healthy lemony cashew cream. Add in a can of creamy cannellini beans for a protein packed Fagioli soup. Quick and easy to make, enjoy hot or cold with garlicky bruschetta or Italian bread.
If you’ve only ever had escarole in Italian wedding soup then I hope you’ll give this simple escarole soup from scratch a try where it shines in all its glory. Dairy free, gluten free and absolutely delicious. In a nutshell what you have here is a nutrient packed lettuce soup!
About the Escarole
A member of the endive family with a mild bitterness, escarole has broad leaves and is more like a cross between green Romaine lettuce and baby bok-choy. It gets sautéed in a little olive oil with an aromatic base of scallions and garlic until wilted at which point it can totally be enjoyed as is with just a pinch of sea salt on a piece of grilled bread. I’d argue it’s even better if you go a step further and turn it into this light and creamy and nutrient dense lettuce soup that’s oh so good and good for you.
Dairy Free Sour Cream
Lemony, bright and creamy but also vegan and good for you, the cream truly elevates this dish and perfectly tames the bitterness of the greens. It comes together in the blender in no time, and it beautifully brings together the textures and individual flavor profiles of all the ingredients. Don’t skip it!
- Scallions – A whole bunch of sautéed mild scallions creates the first layer of flavor. They are super easy and fast to clean and slice and also quick to wilt. A medium chopped leek could be used instead, although it will take a little longer prep work to clean well and more patience to sautee until fully softened and wilted. Either choice will be delicious!
- Garlic – Use large firm cloves finely grated into a paste and dropped in a little bit of hot olive oil just until fragrant. You don’t want any color here just to tame its pungency and capture that amazing flavor.
Add Beans for Escarole Fagioli Soup
Although this soup is meant to be on the light side you could certainly make it heartier by adding in some creamy cannellini beans in the last few minutes of cooking (a 14 oz can drained and rinsed will be plenty). Think of it as Italian beans and greens and serve with a light drizzle of good quality cold pressed extra virgin!
Recipe Tips + FAQ
- Where do I find escarole in the grocery store? – usually you’ll find it next to all the green lettuce, bok-choy, spinach bunches and fresh herbs.
- Substitute – If you need to use a substitute you can still make this with Romaine lettuce or bok-choy. Spinach wilts too quickly and doesn’t have enough of a bite for this soup, however it would be nice used it in combination with the above.
- Add Ins Ideas – Expand on the original concept and make a heartier meal by mixing in cooked tortellini, potato gnocchi, cooked brown rice, acini di pepe or some toasty Fregola / Italian couscous. You could take it over the top with pan seared beyond Italian sausage meatballs, I prefer to save those for making wedding soup.
- Storage + Reheating –The soup can be refrigerated up to a week and enjoyed cold, at room temperature or reheated on the stove top or microwave oven. This is not a soup I would recommend freezing but overall it is ok if you choose to do so.
- Homemade Spelt Bread
- Potato Focaccia
- Crusty Italian Bread
- Tomato Bruschetta
- Skillet Focaccia Bread
- Panzanella Salad
- Garlic Knots.
how to make escarole soup
- 2 heads escarole
- 1 bunch scallions thinly sliced
- 4 cloves large garlic grated
- 6 cups water or veggie broth low sodium
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1.5 Tbsp onion flakes
- red pepper flakes to taste to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh dill (optional for garnish)
- S + P to taste
- olive oil (as needed)
- 14 oz can cannellini beans (OPTIONAL)
Cashew Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
- 1/3 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/3 cup water
Make the Cream
- Soak the cashews in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a powerful blender (like a Vitamix) together with the lemon juice and water. Blend on the smoothie section until silky smooth. If need be add an extra splash of water and process again until super creamy depending on your blender.1/2 cup raw cashew pieces, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup lemon juice
- Slice the bottom 1 inch or so part off of the escarole heads. Separate the leaves and wash them well. Transfer the clean leaves to a cutting board and chop them up into half inch pieces or smaller to your liking.2 heads escarole
- Preheat a large heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat. Add a light drizzle of olive oil and sautee the green onions with a pinch of salt until wilted. Push the onions to the sides, drizzle a little oil in the center and add the grated garlic. Cook just until fragrant, 15 seconds or so taking care not to let it burn.1 bunch scallions, S + P to taste, olive oil, 4 cloves large garlic
- Add the chopped escarole to the soup pot and another pinch of salt. Toss to coat well with the garlic and onion and sauteé until wilted.2 heads escarole
- Stir in the onion flakes and nutritional yeast then pour in the water or veggie stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so until the greens have completely collapsed. (If adding cannellini beans this is the time to do so).3 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1.5 Tbsp onion flakes, 6 cups water or veggie broth
- Pour in the cashew sour cream and simmer a couple of extra minutes. Remove from heat, adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with some dill, red pepper flakes and if desired some fresh dill. Serve hot or cold with garlic bruschetta.red pepper flakes to taste, 1/3 cup fresh dill
- Add Beans - To make escarole and bean soup simply add a 14 oz can of cannellini beans at the very end and simmer until heated through.