A surefire way to get warm.

By Kristin Donnelly
Updated May 23, 2017
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This soup goes back, as Gwyneth Paltrow writes in My Father's Daughter, to a French restaurant called La Serre in Los Angeles where she used to eat with her father. "I've always loved the idea of French onion soup," Gwyneth says, "without actually liking the soup itself." She cooks the onions slowly with fennel and lots of garlic, makes the soup with vegetable stock and the nontraditional addition white beans, then sets the filled bowls under the broiler topped with a slice of toasted bread and a generous handful of grated cheese.

White beans are rich and creamy—the perfect base for hearty vegetarian soups. Here, five takes on this satisfying dish.

1. French-onion style

The actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow creates a delicious mash-up of white bean and French onion soups, topping it with cheese, toast and all.

2. With broccoli rabe

Swap out the chicken stock for vegetable broth, and you’ve got a silky, lemony, vegetarian soup that’s topped with croutons and sautéed broccoli rabe.

3. With squash and kale

For this brothy Italian soup, known as minestra, sauté squash and kale with garlic and onion before adding the broth. To keep the soup truly vegetarian, use water or vegetable broth.

4. With tomatoes and escarole

This chunky, rustic soup is garnished with a punchy mix of raw garlic, parsley and crushed red pepper.

5. With oregano pesto

Okay, so this is more of a casserole than a soup, but it’s soupy and delicious nonetheless. After the white beans are topped with feta cheese and baked in tomato sauce, they get garnished with a flavor-popping oregano pesto.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.