Soup is the answer to all of life’s most rhetorical and profound problems.

Feeling cold?  Soup.

Feeling tired?  Soup.

Feeling like skinny jeans are just too much for you to handle?  Soup.

Feeling like you need a stiff drink in anticipation of all of the cooking meltdowns you know you’ll be having in the next four days?  Soup with vodka.

Unless, of course, the question is “Should I run a 4 mile race even though I’m currently in so much pain that I need to bathe in Bengay every five minutes?”  Soup is not the answer for that person.  (A psychiatric consult, on the other hand…)

But for those of us who had to run walk four miles next to Bengay man/woman/other?

A house smelling like rosemary with a soup that tastes like comfort is totally our answer.  There doesn’t even need to be a question.  It’s just the answer.


Plus we need a way to celebrate the fact that we have completed our nine New York Road Runner races plus our one volunteer session this year.  And that we will, by hook or by crook and with a ton of physical therapy sessions, be running the NYC Marathon in 2012.

(Note – for those of you who don’t know, since the NYC Marathon is so hard to get into, New York Road Runners has this system by which, if you run nine of their races plus volunteer at one of them – commonly called the 9+1 – you get guaranteed entry into the marathon.)

And also that last week our orthopedist told us we could run in six weeks.  Six.  Single digit numbers.  (I would have kissed him if his arrogance wasn’t such a damn turn-off.)

So if this soup were our proverbial cake, that fig and walnut tapenade would be the icing.    (And it also just happens to be the perfect appetizer for the BIG DAY when served along with some goat cheese!)  And what a party it would be.  A healthy party, to be sure…but I think we’re going to get enough unhealthy in about three days.  We can sacrifice a little now…especially when “sacrifice” tastes this good.


Rosemary White Bean Soup
Serves 6, adapted from Ina Garten


  • 1 lb dried white cannellini beans
  • 4 cups sliced yellow onions (about 3)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large branch fresh rosemary
  • 2 quarts veggie broth (I used this)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  1. In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1 inch and soak overnight.  Drain.
  2. Saute the onions in olive oil in a large stockpot over low to medium heat until they are translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook over low heat for three more minutes.  Add the drained white beans, rosemary, broth, and bay leaf.  Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are very soft.  Remove the rosemary branch and the bay leaf.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Reheat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Fig and Walnut Tapenade
Serves 20, adapted from the Bon Appetit Cookbook


  • 1 cup chopped dried Mission figs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 1/2 tsp rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts


  1. Combine the chopped figs and 1/3 cup water in a heavy medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  Mix in olives, olive oil, vinegar, capers, rosemary and walnuts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I am submitting this to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays and also to Chaya of  My Sweet and Savory for Meatless Mondays!

As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here:


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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80 Responses to Rosemary White Bean Soup with Fig and Walnut Tapenade

  1. Von says:

    Soup with vodka?? haha…
    Congratulations on completing all your races!!
    Your soup looks delicious too 😉 Perfect for celebrating!

  2. Kristen says:

    So happy to hear that you have finished all of your running requirements. I hate to think of you running in pain, though. Take care of yourself!! In the meantime, that tapenade is really calling to me. What a FABULOUS thing to put in a creamy soup.

  3. Foodycat says:

    That’s a stunning combination of flavours! Now take it easy so that 6 week recovery doesn’t stretch to 6 months.

  4. I would love this soup like right now even though it’s 7:30 in the morning…looks awesome! And I love the brussels sprouts on the side too 🙂 Congrats on all the races and yay for the 2012 NYC marathon!!!

  5. Lora says:

    What a gorgeous soup. Love the tapenade.

  6. This would be my kind of cake, too! Sounds like 6 weeks from now would bring you straight to the new year. Lovely! I am so excited for you. 🙂

  7. Id like to wish everyone whose blog that i visit a happy Thanksgiving to you and your family’s, and thank you for being a reader to mine. Richard from Amish Stories.

  8. I love the flavor of the walnuts in the soup and rosemary! It looks divine and perfect for the cold day that we NEVER seem to get here in Houston! LOL!

  9. Beth says:

    That soup looks so fabulous! And the tapenade just takes it over the top. I’ll be thinking of you and your cooking this week — I know it can be a challenge satisfying everyone in your family! Hope this helps you de-stress.

  10. I love this soup but I love even more that you qualify for NYC marathon next year! SO exciting!!

  11. Sam says:

    That soup looks amazing. And fig-walnut tapenade?

    And hooray for you being able to run the marathon! It goes right by our building. I’ll be outside next year (probably eating an egg and cheese sandwich and sipping a mimosa out of a thermos…) cheering you on!

  12. Lea Ann says:

    What a great looking soup and very nice photo. You had me at rosemary and white bean … but then that tepanade! Fabulous.

  13. Reva says:

    Soup looks delicious and this is the first time I am coming across a fig tapenade…:) Lovely combo though..

  14. Joanne says:

    There’s just something about soup that’s all about home, isn’t there. The comfort of someone fussing over the soup for you, the joy of sipping from that warm bowl, mmmh, mmmh, good 🙂

  15. This sounds so good…I think I’m loving that killer tapenade the most. And that’s SO AWESOME! You must be stoked. Still in awe of you people who like to run …even when you’re not being chased ;P

  16. I have never tried anything like this, never seen on any restaurant menu. Unique and appealing.

    I thought it was accepted that vodka is the answer to all of life’s most rhetorical and profound problems.

  17. bellini says:

    I wish I had have seen this recipe over the weekend as I would have loved to have a bug vat of this soyup cooking.

  18. Pam says:

    Soup with Vodka – sounds like a plan to me.

  19. daphne says:

    You know this appeals to me heaps! Now I want cooler weather!!

  20. Shannon says:

    I think vodka and this soup would solve most of my problems!

  21. Man, I love soup. And I love white beans. And 4 cups of onion? Yes please.

  22. Amy says:

    You’re not yellow anymore! Yes, I notice such things. Also? You forgot soup when you’re sick. Or is that just chicken soup? Believe it or not, I wasn’t much of a soup gal until recently. Now I can’t seem to make it enough. And THIS sounds wonderful. I do love the cannellini bean.

  23. brocstar says:

    Congrats on finishing 9+1…. now rest that hip. 😉

  24. SallyBR says:

    Oh, you will do the NYC marathon! That is awesome! I wish my marathon days were not over, but I’ll take the second best option, living vicariously through your run… 😉

    Love the soup, but please, please, please, do NOT try to run through injury. I did that and it’s the main reason my marathon days are over. I was stubborn, and I paid a very steep price for it.

    I hope you will post updates on your training – I’d love to cheer you through it

  25. Yay for finishing the races to qualify. Such hard work!

    That soup looks great. I am actually looking for a soup to serve for Christmas dinner. I am going to add this one to the list.

  26. This sounds fab! I just bought some dried figs from Trader Joe’s yesterday, not sure what to do with them. Now I just need the olives and capers, maybe I’ll be good and walk to the store to get them? I think I am going to make your soup for lunch today or tomorrow. I really love soup this time of year,served with a fall harvest type salad. Yum!!

  27. MM says:

    That tapenade is truly something special. I love that you decided to top the soup with it. Not being much of a soup person, I always look to the extras/toppings for added textures and excitement. This looks exciting to me.

  28. elly says:

    What an awesome idea to put that tapenade on top! I love the look of it, as well as the soup – it seems like the perfect texture. Yum.

  29. Gloria says:

    This soup sounds delicious Joanne!:)

  30. Geni says:

    This soup sounds amazing and would certainly be the answer to any question…especially with that delectable fig “icing”. Good luck with the future running Joanne! I am so happy for you that you are healing.

  31. Soup sounds cozy. Congrats on the marathon!

  32. Katerina says:

    I hope you will win the trip to Greece Joanne. This will give me the chance to meet you if you visit Athens and if you would like to meet with me as well! The soup is terrific. It is quite cold here and there is nothing more comforting and soothing than a nice, steaming bowl of soup!

  33. I love bean soup, but I’d agree with the fig tapenade being the icing. I love the balancing act between the sweetness of the figs and the sour from the capers and vinegar and the salty of the olives.

  34. Fig and walnut tapenade, yum!! What a great idea to put it on top of soup. And what excellent news that you’ll be able to run soon. 🙂

  35. Shannon says:

    oh my, that sounds wonderful!!! lovely soup, and to go with such great news from your orthopedic guy!! yay 🙂

  36. Jenna says:

    Mmmm! The tapenade is drawing me in. I love your soup recipes, and after the smashing success of the tomato/cashew Indian-style soup you posted, I think this one will be a good follow-up. Please always keep on blogging. I’m developing an addiction to your stuff.

  37. I didn’t know you could get into a race like that by completing events, that’s a great way to get in. Sorry you are in pain though!

    I’m signing up to do a half marathon at U of I in Champaign, IL April 28th. I just started running again this past weekend and it felt pretty good!

  38. jb says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. jb says:

    This soup sounds delicious, and I think I could just eat a bowl of the tapenade by itself!

  40. Simply Life says:

    I’ve never had figs in soup-what a great idea!

  41. Rachana says:

    Fig and walnut tapenade!!! Wow!! Looks really amazing.

  42. OohLookBel says:

    This soup and tapenade look fantastic – I have issues with skinny jeans, so will try and give this a go 😉 Also, way to go with the running thumbs up; hope the recovery is progressing well.

  43. The “Feeling like skinny jeans are just too much for you to handle?” really stuck out to me…I need a few more years to go until the vodka, for now, I’m just going to have to deal with my meltdowns. Maybe not though…a bowl of soup like this, could definitely help. The soup sounds delicious. The tapenade sounds delicious. This whole dish is just pure awesomeness. Brava!

    And in case I don’t get the chance to stop by before Thanksgiving, I hope you and your family have an incredible holiday!

    Tammy <3

  44. Sounds super comforting and love how the soup is full of protein. Those perfect little Brussels sprouts on the side are frosting on the cake!

  45. tigerfish says:

    I have a problem! I want to try your soup! but soup can’t solve my problem! 😀

    I like the combination of ingredients you have used here – seems really interesting….esp the fig and walnut tapenade with the soup.

  46. Thats awesome news!! Oh and congrats on finishing your Thanksgiving menu too 😉

  47. Amy says:

    Figs and olives sound like a very interesting combination – also, the soup look lovely.

  48. That Girl says:

    The brussels sprouts on the side put this over the top!

  49. I love your description of soup and how it plays a role in our everyday life. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it sounds wonderful.

  50. I want to consume all of that tapenade. And yay for single digit weeks until you can run again!

  51. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, This soup sounds like a perfect first course. It is all about fall and Thanksgiving. I hope that you are not too hard on yourself and let your body heal. Take care my dear and blessings for a Beautiful! Thanksgiving. Catherine xo

  52. Jo,
    Who’da thunk it?
    Fig tapenade w/ Ina’s white bean soup?
    I love Dave Lebovitz’s version of fig tapenade, and what a genius idea to garnish the soup with it!
    I love Ina’s white bean soup, and this brings it over the top. I am stealing the idea!
    Have a happy Thanksgiving.

  53. Reeni says:

    Your soup looks good for whatever ails you! I love creamy white beans. And I could spoon up the tapenade as is! Yay for the marathon!

  54. Cara says:

    I was really scared that the fig tapenade was going to call for fresh figs and then I was preparing to slap you for posting a fresh fig recipe post-season. Phew. Good thing that’s been avoided. This sounds amazing!

  55. Oh this soup looks just awesome!! Hope that you have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!!

  56. Pam says:

    Soup always makes me feel better! Loving the tapenade AND the soup. YUM!

  57. You inspired me Joanne, I’m making soup today!

    Camila Faria

  58. Ruth Daniels says:

    Obviously you are determined. Congrats on completing all the races, especially since you’ve not exactly been in top form. The soup looks delicious.

  59. brandi says:

    i am on such a rosemary kick right now. this sounds so, so good.

  60. I LOVE white bean soup!! The tapenade looks gorgeous as well 😉

  61. Jennie says:

    I am soooo going to be using this Tapenade on all sorts of stuff over the holidays!!! The soup’s awesome too!

  62. sally says:

    I really don’t make enough recipes with white beans! This soup looks fantastic and so does the tapenade.

  63. Nicole, RD says:

    What a simple, perfect ingredient list. I want to use more dried beans…and this looks like a great recipe to start with! Gorgeous photos, girl! Miss you 🙁

  64. Claudia says:

    Oh your soup sounds like I want some right now. Beautiful combination of flavors to cheer anyone’s spirits.

  65. Carolyn Jung says:

    You had me at fig tapenade. 😉

  66. This soup looks so yummy and hearty and healthy. I love the idea of fig tapenade!

  67. The figs gave me pause. Isn’t part of the fun of food, nowadays, the creative pairings we do?

  68. kyleen says:

    This looks so thick and creamy! And congrats on finishing all your races–that’s amazing. I wish I could run (or do some kind of sport)…

  69. grace says:

    i enjoy white beans with rosemary. they marry well, only second to rosemary and potatoes in my book. the tapenade is neat, too, a great contrast! in an unrelated fig note, has anyone ever actually made figgy pudding? 🙂

  70. Chris says:

    Forget the psych consult….soup with trileptal and seroquel.

  71. Jenné says:

    Oh my God this looks delicious! My Nana and I are looking at your blog, and she’s loving it too!

  72. Johanna GGG says:

    sounds delicious – in fact it sounds so good that you should just get entry to the NY marathon just based on this soup – seriously!

  73. Claudie says:

    First, congratulations again on the NYC marathon 🙂 I’m so excited for you and happy you’ll be able to run again soon! You should be really proud of participating in that last race — I don’t know if I would have had the courage to.
    I’ll try to get in the marathon through the lottery… half-hoping I do get in, half-hoping I don’t 😛 lol
    As for your recipes — glad you posted the tapenade one, because, since you mentioned it on Twitter, I’ve been wanting to try it 🙂

  74. Congrats on the marathon–will continue to think good, healing thoughts. 😉 The soup looks fabulous but the topping really makes it. What a great pairing. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  75. Dana says:

    I think soup is one of the most difficult foods to photograph and you have done beautiful job here. I hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  76. Sounds heavenly, and I’m with Dana, soup is so hard to photograph but your pictures are stunning. Can’t wait to try this recipe, it sounds perfect for the cold winter months.

  77. catdishy says:

    Figs to the rescue of my too tart tapenade!!Brilliant idea.Thank you!

  78. catdishy says:

    OH, and Grace, I”ve made sticky pudding with figs, so pretty figgy and scrumptious, too.

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