Budget-Friendly Bowl: White Bean and Arborio Rice Soup

by simplylife on April 10, 2012

Do you know what I love?

Sitting down to a meal that’s comforting and healthy…and costs less than a few dollars to prepare.

This bowl of soup is incredibly filling from the combination of hearty cabbage, creamy arborio rice and protein-filled cannellini beans.

Plus, the best part is that I used half a head of cabbage for this soup, which literally cost 50 cents, 1 can of beans (again, less than $1), arborio rice that was already sitting in the pantry, and day-old bread that was just waiting to be used.

So whether you’re on a tight budget or simply looking for a simple, comforting bowl of soup, look no further than this White Bean and Arborio Rice Soup.

This is the first time I’ve used arborio rice to cook something other than risotto.  I loved the way that it absorbed the flavors from the broth and cooked without needing to be stirred constantly!

Also, while this is traditionally a Northern Italian soup, I decided to add a generous pinch of Herbs de Provence for extra flavor.  You could definitely chose to omit this step and/or stick with your favorite Italian herbs.

White Bean and Arborio Rice Soup

by Simply Life

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

Keywords: soup/stew entree vegetarian vegan beans cabbage Italian


  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 2/3 cup aborio rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Generous pinch Herbs de Provence
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 head cabbage, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 slices Italian bread, plus additional bread for croutons (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 15/5 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Heat 2 tbs. olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, herbs de provence and cook additional 2 minutes. Add broth, cabbage and bay leaves. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place 2 slices bread and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until “small crumbs” form.

3. Heat remaining tbs. olive oil in small skillet. Add breadcrumb mixture and saute 5 minutes, until golden brown and toasted.

4. Add beans to soup and cook additional 5 minutes or until rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves, serve in bowls and top with breadcrumbs and (optional) croutons, and enjoy!

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On another note, I was recently contacted by My Freshwater Pearls to try a pair of their pearl earrings (they also have plenty of other jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets).  I picked-out the purple pearls because that is one of my favorite colors to wear and I love the way a simple pair of pearls can compliment other jewelry and complete an outfit.  These are the perfect pair that I can wear everyday to work or to dress-up an outfit!

Enter coupon code SHOP10 (case sensitive) to receive 10% off your next purchase with My Freshwater Pearls! Valid through May 31, 2012.

Using Random.org the winner of Simple Green is “mom” (I promise, it was done fairly)!

~Don’t forget to win a $50 gift card when you Share Your Goodness!

~What is your favorite budget-friendly meal?

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  • http://jojoshouse.com/ JoJo

    Pearls are so special because it could be elegant or casual! I love the color of yours!
    I am all about budget friendly meals.. Plenty of my “no-measure healthy recipes” contain legumes. It’s not expensive and is a great way to incorporate fiber and protein in your diet! Cous cous or rice with beans and vegetables are one of my favorite 🙂

  • http://www.bakebikeblog.com/ Bakebikeblog

    gorgeous pearls and what a tasty soup!!

  • http://www.andreaswellnessnotes.com/ Andrea@WellnessNotes

    Great soup!

    I make a lot of “clean-out-the-fridge” soups. Usually, they end up being pureed vegetable soups. It’s a great way to make sure all our CSA veggies get used.

  • http://missmagnoliamunches.blogspot.com Rebecca

    I love cabbage!

  • Teri@managemacros.com

    How the heck do you get picked to try out jewelry?? JEALOUS!!! Those little pearls are quite the gem!! AND so is your soup!! I LOVE cabbage but I have NEVER cooked it! This would be the absolutely best way to do it too! I love the combination of rice and beans with it! Genius! I am off to read your Naan recipe…we LOVE that here!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Oh good! Thanks for all the kind words! Yes, the jewelry is fun- you should check out their site, lots of fun (and affordable) options!

      You should definitely try cooking cabbage- it has a completely different texture and flavor!

  • http://gowiththedough.wordpress.com/ Hillary

    Meals like this are my favorite—tasty and cheap (both are equally important for a food lover on a teacher’s salary!)

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Couldn’t agree/understand more! 🙂

  • http://whatisbakinginthebarbershop.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    Budget friendly meals that are also simple and delicious are the best. So, basically, this soup is the best. 🙂 I love using items I already have in the pantry, coupled with fresh produce and/or meat that’s on sale that week, to make easy meals. I don’t always follow a recipe, but it’s pretty easy to put together less expensive, healthy, and simple dishes without too much fuss!

  • http://bite-sized-thoughts.blogspot.com/ Kari

    What’s not to love? Budget friendly, beautiful, and by the looks of things – very tasty. I haven’t used arborio rice in soup before either but I love the idea.

  • Mom

    Your soup looks hearty and it must have definitely tasted incredible considering the cost or lack of cost I should say! Great job. Love the look of these simple pearl earings; I didn’t know purple was one of your favorite colors!! I’m interested to know if you know mine …. let’s keep learning about each other; okay??? You’re one of my favorite subjects for SURE !!!

  • http://www.4seasonsoffood.com/ Ranjani

    Soup is a great way to have a filling, healthy, and inexpensive meal! Using up cabbage is always a struggle for me, so I’ll keep this in mind next time I buy some!

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      I completely understand about wanting to use up cabbage- I usually put it in a soup and it makes a really nice base!

  • http://merigoesround.com/ meri

    those pearls are GORGEOUS! lucky girl!

  • http://christinadoesitall.com/ Christina Boudreaux

    that looks amazing! can’t wait to try.

  • http://www.reviewmo.com/ reviews

    that looks so delicious!

  • http://justonecookbook.com/blog/ Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I also love that color of pearls too. 🙂 It is such a budget friendly yet looks delicious and comforting! You are right – nothing better than meeting all three!

  • Anonymous

    I agree! Quick, cheap & healthy? Maybe one of the best combinations!! White beans are delicious.

  • http://hotlyspiced.com/ Hotly Spiced

    That is a very tasty and delicious looking low-budget meal. I have most of those ingredients on hand so I would like to give this a try. I’m sure it is something everyone in my family would love. And the pearls are just gorgeous xx

  • http://swankydietitian.com/ Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    This looks fantastic! I am all about healthy and inexpensive meals.
    Those pearls are gorgeous! I finally got my first real pair of pearls and I just love them.

  • Karriann Graf

    Comforting, healthy, budget-friendly… Wants not to love about this soup? It’s perfect!

    “Spice it Up”

  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com/ Yummychunklet

    Yum, yum! This looks like a great recipe!

  • http://www.lauraliveslife.com/ Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    This recipes looks amazing (the pictures too)! Great post; can’t wait to be a Sweat Pink ambassador with you!

  • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

    I love finding great cheap recipes! I have a tendency to go way over budget when shopping for ingredients…

  • http://ellesees.blogspot.com/ ElleSees.blogspot.com

    this looks tasty. and it’s filling? i gotta try it.

  • http://twitter.com/FoodieAsmita Asmita

    I really love the simplicity of this dish! It’s so healthy and delicious!

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    Looks delicious! I love how cheap beans are (and healthy to boot!)

  • easyfoodsmith

    Love the simple yet delicious flavours of this soup.

  • http://www.rpsmiles.com/ Del Mar Dentist

    This one looks good. I’m going to try your recipe on this one but I think I’ll be using the cooked white beans instead. It takes a while to cook it but I’m really a sucker for those.

  • Decocinasytacones

    ¡Very good! I love it.
    Any soup with rice and cabbace is great.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)

    Pasta is my favourite budget friendly meal … it is so cheap!

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