CrockPot White Bean with Fennel and Spinach Soup Recipe

Day 365.

It's the 365th day of the year. But I'm going to post tomorrow---I didn't realize it was Leap Year when I started this project, and I have black eyed peas soaking to be turned into soup. When I made black eyed peas a year ago, I wasn't terribly impressed, but the soup recipe I have sounds pretty good.

Unlike this soup.

This soup is boring and bland and a waste of time. I should have known better. It came out of a little pamphlet of recipes. This was in the vegetarian slow cooker section. I thought we'd have a nice light meal so then we could eat a bunch of junk at New Year's without regret.

Instead, we each ate a bite or two and then made nachos. With extra sour cream.
and pizza fondue.


The Ingredients.

--4 cups vegetable broth
--1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
--1 can (15-ounces) white kidney beans
--1 yellow onion, diced
--1 small bulb fennel, chopped
--2 cloves garlic, minced
--1/4 tsp black pepper
--1 bag (10 oz) baby spinach (to add later. but don't. don't waste your spinach. you shouldn't make this soup.)

The Directions.

Use a 5 quart or so crockpot. The best part of this whole thing was chopping the fennel. It makes your kitchen smell like a licorice factory, and provides great adult entertainment while the kids search for candy.

Combine everything into the crockpot except for the spinach. Cook on low for 8 hours, high for 6, then add the whole bag of spinach. It will wilt. It will look yummy. But there isn't any flavor.

I'm kind of annoyed at myself because I KNOW this! I know (just from this year. Before this year I was clueless) that if you put a bunch of bland stuff together the result will be bland and tasteless. But I did it anyway. I wanted this to work. I thought the picture was pretty.

The Verdict.

We've been having ants in the house because of the rain. I left the crock out overnight with the lid off. The ants didn't come.

This soup repels ants.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at December 30, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. What a bummer since it was so close to the end! I'm going to miss reading this everyday!

  2. Anonymous12/30/2008

    Do you think this could be fixed with some spicy Italian sausage and some manner of seasonings? Or is it hopeless?

  3. Anonymous12/30/2008

    I am really going to miss reading this everyday! Thanks to your blog I use my crockpot so much more often - at least 3 times a week. Thanks for all of the inspiration.

  4. Yeah! Too bad it was a bust - I saw the picture and immediately thought it would be tasty. Looking forward to tomorrow's post... and the next (whenever that occurs!)

  5. what will i do when this is over? I too love my crockpot, but felt stuck with so so recipes.....maybe you could go to once a month? i could live on that...happy new year!

  6. Anonymous12/30/2008

    I agree with Jordon, I'm really going to miss the posts on my home page. I even have my brother using recipes from the blog.

    You definitely have to post to let us know what endeavor you have chosen for 2009.

    Have a wonderfully Happy New Year,

  7. I'm going to miss it too, Jordan!

    Erika, yes. This needs spicy cajun sausage. But then it wouldn't be vegetarian. :-) While you're at it, use chicken instead of veggie broth. Veggie broth isn't flavorful enough for me.

    Martha, I'm so glad that you're using your crockpot so much. That's great!

    Mad(ish) Woman, yup, It was the photo that drew me in.

    Twinkle Toes, I'll probably post once a week or so. I am going to to take a vacation though.

    Thanks to you and your brother, Janet!

  8. I've never posted before but am a LOYAL daily reader of your blog. I LOVE it and have had MANY successful crockpot meals because of of it. Thank you!

    And you did it again today - made me literally LOL! "Repels ants" You are too funny! =)

    I am sorry the soup was a bust, but the pizza fondu is on my list! Thanks!

  9. That sure is a pretty soup! Stinks that it's lousy.

    Are you looking forward to making some of your favorites over again, since you don't have to be different every day? Or looking forward to take out?

    Your blog has been fantastic! My favorite is the Chinese Lemon Chicken. I add veggies and it is so very yummy!

  10. Anonymous12/30/2008

    Well, the soup looks pretty. Too bad it doesn't taste pretty.

    I have to say, I did try one very simple soup recipe from Everyday Italian that was absolutely delicious. It uses just chicken broth, cannellini beans, garlic, olive oil, escarole and a bit of parmesan cheese. I didn't have escarole when I made it once, and substituted baby spinach, and it was still fabulous.

    Not sure if I can post the recipe here due to copyright laws and such, but here is the link. It is very, very good and amazingly flavorful, despite the simple ingredients and five-minute cook time. It has a five-star rating on, with 119 reviews, so I'm not the only one who likes it. (in case you think I'm some nut with no taste buds!!!)

    URL to recipe:

  11. I shun anything with black eye peas, all because of the blandness.

  12. OMG, I cannot beleive it is over. What will I look forward to everday? THANK YOU for all of your hard work! I can imagine the chore this turned into! You have truely inspired so many people to cook healthier and not eat out as much! All my friends follw your blog! You are great!!
    Maybe we will see a post here and there!!! pleezzzzzzzze!!!!!!

  13. I'm sorry...I am laughing way too hard. Do. Not. Waste. Your. Spinach. Make pizza dip instead!

    Well, we all live and learn. And we all mix a bunch of bland stuff together with hopes that it will all blend together & create something terrific. Of course, it never does ... but thanks for sharing!!

  14. Anonymous12/30/2008

    I have never posted before. (I don't think) but I am freaking out over tomorrow being your last post! What am I to do?!?!? I read it as much for your commentary as for the recipes! PLEASE tell us you will post once in a while.
    I am not above bribing....

  15. I have a chard (or spinach or kale) Italian white bean soup that I make that is similar. We sometimes add Spanish chorizo (which is similar to Portuguese linguiza) the broth has diced carrots,onions and celery simmered in it too (which is probably already in the veggie broth). But what really adds some flavor is diced garlic and red pepper flakes browned in olive oil added to each bowl when serving. It's the same "sauce" that you use when making aglio olio.I bet if you just added some salt and the aglio olio it would save the soup.
    Happy New Year! Your blog is still wonderful even if you feel occasionally disappointed by the results. I look forward to seeing what you have made!

  16. i really wanted this to work 'cause i've been wanting a really good tomato florentine soup. maybe i'll fiddle with it.

  17. This one looks very good. I will have to pass on the fennel. The hubby isn't a big fan. But I love soups that are loaded with veggies.

  18. I think you should buy a pressure cooker and explore recipes for that.

  19. The basic plan is good, but they utterly failed to season the poor thing! Needs a LARGE bulb of fennel. Needs a lot more garlic and onion. Needs the onions caramelized in a good olive oil. Needs a rich homemade stock. Needs hot pepper flakes, basil, oregano, and a LOT more black pepper. Probably needs sausage, as several people suggested (because then it would be my favorite sausage soup, only with beans and fennel added, and what's not to like?) Of course, once you get sausage and caramelized onions involved, you might as well cook it on the stove top...

  20. I love the verdict!

    What are we going to do now that you're finished? I'm serious - do you have another blog? You can't just disappear!

  21. ROFLMAO!!! :-D Seriously. Hubby came to see what I was laughing about.
    Thanks for the honesty!!!

  22. Anonymous12/30/2008

    I would definite use chicken broth, maybe more garlic. Do you have a problem with beef broth? I have made different soups with white beans that were very tasty. One of the best soups I ever had was one I found on a blog called ORANGETTE. I highly recommend it. You used Kale and I am not a big kale fan usually.

    I have loved reading about all your trials - I think my favorite recipes were the Lemon Shrimp and the Rotisarie (oops - spelling) chicken. I will keep dropping by hoping to find more recipes.


  23. Anonymous12/30/2008

    Try adding a can of Rotel and 6 more cloves of garlic...

  24. Anonymous12/30/2008

    Thank you so much for doing this. I've used and loved so many of your recipes. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this.

  25. Anonymous12/31/2008

    Stephanie, I read your blog every day as well and loved so many of the recipes. They are wonderful and some I would probably never have thought of trying if you hadn't shown us how well they turned out. :-)

    You are so much fun to read and I will surely miss your adventures every day.

    Thanks for sharing yourself and your crockpot adventures with us. Kathy

  26. I've never written on your blog before, but I LOVE getting your emails every day. Actually, your crockpot dishes got me to start really cooking. I hated cooking and still cooked for my family like we were in college. Now they are getting real food and we are eating much healthier thanks in part to your dishes. I enjoy the idea of putting stuff together in the crockpot (and fun stuff at that - sprite? brown sugar? who knew?) and having dinner several hours later. And many of your recipes have become staples in our house.
    So thank you for all of your hard work with all the ups and downs!
    I look forward to reading whatever you come up with in the future and trying most of it in my kitchen.

  27. hahahahaha that is funny. "this soup repels ants" LOL... I've been using this blog for awhile now, and I have wondered if you've ever made anything that didn't meet your expectations. Glad to know one gets by you once in awhile (just like me)!!!!

  28. I agree with Theresa in Merida -- garlic helps just about anything, and that would keep it vegetarian. I'm looking for more bean recipes this year, so I think I'm gonna try this...

  29. Dang, I just looked closer at the recipe and it already has garlic! Still, I would double or triple the garlic . Plus, I have this handy combination of spices on the stovetop that I use whenever food is's a blend of italian spices, pepper and salt. I love finding vegetarian recipes, so maybe this one is worth trying to fix?

  30. Sorry about the soup! I noticed another of your "flops" was a Swanson recipe--avoid their recipes in the future maybe! :-p

    I actually had a similar experience with a ham and white bean soup recently--just very bland. :(

    Anyway, I will just add my "I'll miss your daily updates!" to the list! Kudos on a fantastic blog!!!

  31. Stephanie,

    I agree - the veggie broth is soooo bland! I have to add a bunch of seasonings to it, if I use it at all. It doesn't even flavor rice. I've managed to make good veggie soup using actual veggies, so why can't they?

    I've read your blog sporadically since my friend pointed you out to me, but I'll be looking back through the recipes to find fun and useful tidbits for kosher cookery. Have a great time at Disney!

  32. Why on earth would a recipe that would clearly make an okay-ish soup on top of the stove in 30 minutes call for 8 hours in the CP? Maybe if the beans were dried...but they're not!

  33. lol, Lee. You could make that argument with pretty much any crockpot food. The draw is that you (me!) can put together dinner early in the morning while still caffeinated and come home to a fully-cooked meal. The evening time is rushed for many people, and 30 minutes just isn't a possibility at times when kids are crying and hanging all over you.

    but. This soup stunk, and I don't think cooking it another way would have salvaged it.