Cookies from Southern Italy
Nov 072013

Fasuoli cu l'accia

One of the simplest and most satisfying soups I have ever made is Fasuoli cu l’accia, a bean and celery soup.  This soup was unknown to me in Calabria, but my husband enjoyed it regularly as a child growing up in Palermo. You would find this soup in many of Palermo’s homes at this time of year, and it is considered a dish of the cucina povera (cooking of the poor).  The thought of combining beans and celery seemed a strange and unusual combination to my Calabrian palate, but last week when we were discussing comforting fall dishes, my husband recalled how much he loved when his mother would make Fasuoli cu l’accia. I decided to surprise him one evening by making the soup, not knowing what it would taste like or if I would like it.  I fell in love with this soup with the first spoonful.  The combination of the creamy cannellini beans and the celery melted in my mouth. It truly brought comfort to my soul.

This soup is so simple to make that you don’t even need a recipe, but I will provide a recipe to guide you in the proportions.

Only three ingredients are needed to make this soup: cannellini beans, celery, and one onion as well as some extra virgin olive oil, water, and salt.

ingredients for soup

Soak the beans the night before or at least for 10 to 12 hours before making the soup.

Chop a large onion and sauté with olive oil until translucent.

Sauteed onion

Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.  Add the drained soaked beans and bring back to a boil.  After 15 minutes add the chopped celery.

Chopped celery

Continue cooking for another 45 minutes to an hour until the soup has thickened and the beans are soft and fully cooked. Add additional salt to taste.

If you like, place a slice of toasted bread at the bottom of your bowl and ladle the soup on top of the bread. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.  I generously drizzled this soup with my favorite “Olio Verde”  Novello (freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil just flown in from Sicily), making it absolutely irresistible.

Fasuoli cu l’accia (Bean and celery soup)


  • One pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
  • One large onion, coarsely chopped
  • One large bunch of celery, about 1.5 lbs, coarsely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

In a large pot add three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sauté the chopped onion over medium heat until soft and translucent.

Add 10 cups of water and two tablespoons of salt to the pot with the onion and bring to a boil. Add the drained soaked beans and bring back to a boil. Turn down the heat and continue to cook the beans at a slow boil for about 15 minutes. At this point add the chopped celery.

Continue cooking for another 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are soft and fully cooked. The soup should be thick and creamy. Add additional salt to taste.

If you like, place a slice of toasted bread at the bottom of your bowl and ladle the soup on top of the bread. Drizzle generously with some extra virgin olive oil before serving.

Serves 6

  15 Responses to “Fasuoli cu l’accia (Bean and celery soup)”


    This soup was also a staple in our Brooklyn home. I love it….thank you so much for this reminder and this wonderful, simple recipe. My mother, from Catanzaro, used a lot of celery in various dishes….My father’s home town, Foggia, also utilizes a lot of celery. One of his favorite dishes was pezzale accia….made with squares of homemade pasta and celery…it was delicious! My mother also taught me how important the leaves of the celery are….so flavorful….
    Thank you, Rosetta…


    Adele, I learn new things everyday. Thanks for sharing your family recipes, I didn’t know that a similar dish was prepared in Calabria or Puglia. I will definitely keep on making this soup, it is now part of our family comfort foods.


    I’m going to try this tonite for a change from the usual pasta e fagioli! sounds delicious and simple.


    This looks like a keeper! Just the kind of simple but flavorful cooking that I love. Will have to try real soon…


    Thanks so much for the recipe! After eating some pasta e fagioli for lunch today, my husband and I were commenting on how much we love comforting soups like that and pasta e ceci etc., I will have to add this to my list! I might try it tomorrow. Grazie mille!

    I love your new book btw. I can’t wait to play with it! I made some homemade marmellata di peperoncini this summer that will be wonderful in your crostata recipe!


    This sounds great-so simple, yet so satisfying. I’ve got some Purgatorio beans in my pantry, celery in the fridge and onions on the counter. I am ready. By the way – I need this with all the desserts I have been eating… thanks!


    Adri, let me know how it turns out with the purgatorio beans, they are very similar to cannellini beans, so it should work well. Make sure they are soaked well before using them.


    Tina, Let me know how you like the crostata del diavolo with your marmellata di peperoncini. It is a great combination of the sweet orange marmalade and the spicy hot pepper jam.


    Thanks Rosetta, I will let you know. FYI, the Giallo Zafferano website has a phenomenal recipe for Marmellata di Peperoncini. I grew so many chili peppers this year that I tried 3 different recipes in one day, and this was my absolute favorite. It’s to die for on young pecorino cheese. It’s so pretty too. I hope you try it. I like things really spicy so didn’t seed any of the chilies. It’s great that way!



    It is very similar to my recipe except I don’t add the wine, I add lemon juice and some lemon zest (those are the ingredients of the marmellata di peperoncini that I buy in Calabria, I usually bring a couple of jars back every year). I am sure it is very good with the wine also. I end drying most of my peperoncini to make our hot pepper powder.


    Ooh – the lemon sounds great! That would be excellent. I still have chili peppers left – I already dried some but might have to do more! I used your recipe of course from your first book! :) Have you tried Dolcezza di Peperoncino? It’s similar to the marmellata but only has sugar & chilies. I bought some last year in Calabria & became completely addicted. That’s why I made so many jams trying to re-create that. The brand I bought doesn’t seem to be available in the States. Try some next time you go.


    grazie per aver condiviso questa splendida ricetta tradizionale, non la conoscevo ! buon weekend!


    Made this soup for dinner tonight… You’re right.. It’s delicious!


    I tried this recipe and it is an easy, tasty dish that I passed on and my sister and her family loves it. thanks again. U are awesome!!


    The weather has been very cold here in the northeast. Made this soup the other night; very easy and very delicious and is perfect in this weather. I did have some left over chicken broth/stock so I used about 1/2 water and 1/2 stock instead of all water. BTW, glad to see you are coming to the east coast for book signings. Joe

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