Gigante Global Pulse Day SoupFeatured

Gigante Global Pulse Day Soup

By both tradition and necessity, Italian cuisine makes much from little, but there’s nothing little about the flavors. Big, bold and elemental, it’s one of the easiest cuisines to create at home, one of the most luscious ways to eat. Here, there’s nothing little about the pulses, either — fasolia gigantes are king-sized limas. They hold their own in a pot of soup but are glad to share the spotlight with seasonal vegetables and fresh herbs. Ellen Kanner created this warming winter soup especially for Global Pulse Day.



For 6 Person(s)


  • 1 lb dried fasolia gigantes, royal coronas or similar large limas, soaked overnight in plenty of water
  • 3 qt water or vegetable broth
  • 4 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small dried red pepper, crumbled or a pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 large red peppers*
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch chard or other winter greens, such as kale or spinach, tough stems discarded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped fine
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Drain and rinse the fasolia gigantes, pour them into a generous soup pot with the water or broth and bring to a high boil. Drop in the whole garlic, bay leaf and dried red peppers.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery. Give the vegetables a quick sauté, until they just start to soften, about 5 minutes. When the beans have been on the boil for about 15 minutes, sweep the vegetables into the bean pot, reduce the heat to low and cover to let everyone simmer.
  3. As the beans simmer, roast the peppers. If you have a gas range, good for you. Otherwise, place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with parchment and set your oven on broil. Place the baking sheet close to the heat source and let the peppers blister, about 8 to 10 minutes. Then turn the peppers and blister on the other side for another 10 minutes or until they’re a softened, scorched mess.
  4. Remove from the oven and pour the peppers into a paper bag. Seal the bag. Alternately, pour the peppers into a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Let the peppers cool for at least half an hour, or until they’re cool enough to handle. Their skins should peel off easily. Remove the seeds and chop the peppers small. Pour into a small bowl along with any collected juices from the peppers. Toss gently with the sherry or balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
  5. Check the beans after about 90 minutes. They should hold their shape but be delightfully tender when you bite them. Set the soup aside to cool. Remove the bay leaf and red pepper. The garlic cloves should have melted into the soup.
  6. If you want, you can call it a day at this point. When the soup has cooled sufficiently, pour into a large airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
  7. When you’re ready for soup, take 2 cups of the beans and 1 cup of the broth and whizz together in a blender or food processor until smooth, creamy and pale, about 2 minutes. Pour back into the bean pot, along with the chopped peppers.
  8. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and bring to a boil.
  9. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the chopped garlic. As it starts to soften and darken, after about 3 or 4 minutes, add the chopped chard or kale by the handful. Stir gently just until the greens soften and wilt but keep their bright color, just a few minutes for chard or kale. The spinach requires almost no time at all. Stir the greens into the bean pot.
  10. Add the chopped basil and taste again for salt.

Recipe notes

Serves 6 to 8. Keeps covered and refrigerated for several days, and like all bean soups, gets more luscious as the flavors have time to develop.

* In a pinch, you can use an 8-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained, chopped and tossed with the sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Add them at the end, along with the chopped basil, otherwise they'll dissolve into mush.

This recipe is courtesy of Ellen Kanner.