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Dharma Kitchen


Sweet Potato White Bean Soup with Pesto

Carrie H

I think it's no accident that the colder it gets, the more I am digging into my freezer to pull out summer's bounty. Partly, it's a yearning for warmer weather that motivates me, but it's also a very practical effort to work through what's in my freezer so there's room for the season's offerings when the time comes. (That being said, I'm officially out of summer's peppers.) 

When I make soups, because they are often vegetarian affairs, I try to make sure there's some element of protein present. Sweet potatoes puree well enough on their own, but adding a can of white beans makes it not only smoother and thicker, but adds a creamy taste, too. 

Sweet potatoes, white bean and pesto. There's also some rosemary in there, too. And of course all good things begin with a sauteed onion. 

Sweet potatoes, white bean and pesto. There's also some rosemary in there, too. And of course all good things begin with a sauteed onion. 

As for the prep, you can cut those onions however you like, but if I am going to puree them, I typically leave them as half moons. There's no point in wasting my labor to dice them small if they're going to be obliterated anyway. But more importantly, in my book, is the decision to leave them bigger means there is more surface area for them to become caramelized. But you can do what you like. It's your soup. No judgments here. 


  • 1 large onion, sliced into half moons or diced
  • 2 T. butter or oil of your choice 
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled (if the skin looks icky) and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 4 cups water 
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 4-6 T pesto, either homemade or store bought


Melt the butter or oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5-7 minutes until desired caramelization. Add the rosemary and stir to combine. 

Add the water and sweet potatoes. Bring it to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Add the white beans and cook for another minute or two. Turn off the heat. 

Transfer the contents from the pot to a blender and puree until smooth, or use an immersion blender if you have one. (I tend to splash all over myself when I do this, so I save that device for other applications.) 

Return to the pot over low heat, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another minute just to bring the flavors together. Serve the soup in individual bowls and add a dollop of pesto on top. 

Serves: 6-8, easily