This soup has it all—a rich and savory base made from beans and broth, fresh vegetables, creamy baked garlic, and bacon. Add pasta to the mix for a rustic, hearty, and filling meal. This recipe has a few more steps than my other recipes but it’s well worth it. I usually make a double batch because it’s that good. Serve with crusty bread and a crisp green salad.


  • 2 14-ounce cans lima beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 head garlic, top half cut crossways, plus 4 cloves minced
  • 3 strips of bacon or vegan bacon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus more for a drizzle
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup short tubular pasta such as Mezzi Rigatoni
  • 1 medium Japanese eggplant, cubed
  • 3 scallions rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces, optional but adds a nice deep flavor


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the drained and rinsed beans and the broth. Pull as much of the skin off the garlic as possible and toss into the pot with the beans. Add the bacon and bay leaf and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. While the beans simmer, to another medium pot over medium heat, add 1/2 of the olive oil, the onions, celery, carrots, minced garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, and sauté until the vegetables are soft about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the tomato purée and cook until the mixture darkens, stirring constantly about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, fill a medium to large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add a 1/4 cup of salt and then cook the pasta al dente and according to the package directions. Save 2 cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta, set aside.
  6. While you wait for the pasta to cook, pour the beans and cooking liquid into the pot with the tomato paste and vegetables and and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Remove the bay leaf and purée, working in batches if necessary, to desired smoothness. Add additional pasta water if necessary. Set aside.
  8. In a bowl, toss the cubed eggplant and scallions, if using, in the remaining quarter cup olive oil and spread on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes. Move to a few inches from the broiler and broil for about 3-4 minutes or until slightly charred.
  9. Pour the soup into individual bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, and the charred eggplant and scallions.


I like the soup with a thicker texture and purée in a high speed blender for about 15-20 seconds.