Creamy White Bean and Seaweed Stew With Parmesan

Creamy White Bean and Seaweed Stew With Parmesan

Cooking dried beans with seaweed is a traditional method of adding flavor that’s also thought to mitigate some of the gas-inducing enzymes present in the legumes. Here, white beans are simmered with briny dried kombu to add depth, then mixed with slivered kelp for freshness and a slight crunch. It’s a play on white beans with escarole, but with the flavor of the sea.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté until softened and lightly golden at the edges, 7 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, diced fennel and garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Drain soaked beans and add to pot along with 2 quarts cold water, kombu, thyme sprigs and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Lower heat, partially cover the pot and simmer gently until the beans are done, 1 to 2 hours. If the beans start to dry out before they are cooked, add a little hot water to the pot, or if they seem too soupy, remove the lid during the last half-hour.
  3. Step 3

    When beans are cooked, discard kombu and thyme sprigs. If you have an immersion blender, stick it in the pot and give it two or three pulses to create a creamy broth. Most of the beans should still be whole. Or, scoop out 1 cup of beans, purée them in a food processor or blender, and stir them back into the pot.
  4. Step 4

    Stir kelp into the pot and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Step 5

    If you have fennel fronds, chop enough to make 2 tablespoons and stir into the pot. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top generously with Parmesan, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with toast.