Tomato & bean soup with harissa & honey

Tomato & bean soup with harissa & honey

New Feast
Alan Benson

Use a good-quality harissa paste and balance the heat with a mild, not-too-floral honey. Served with all the 'extras' it makes a hearty and filling lunch or supper dish. Although we enjoy the temperature contrast of the chopped hard-boiled eggs and capers, this soup is also lovely served with a softly poached egg, which oozes, lava-like into the spicy soup.

We favour the robustness of chard here, but you could just as well use kale, cavolo nero or even spinach. You will only need the chard leaves for this recipe, so reserve the stalks for another dish (they are delicious roughly chopped, then sauteed in olive oil with a little lemon juice, allspice and cinnamon, or blanched, then tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and drizzled with tahini).


Quantity Ingredient
40ml olive oil
1 leek, well washed and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 teaspoons good-quality harissa
1 teaspoon honey
1 sprig thyme
400g tinned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
400g tinned chopped italian tomatoes
750ml Vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
75g chard leaves, stems removed
4 thick slices sourdough bread
1-2 tablespoons salted baby capers, well rinsed
2 cold, hard-boiled eggs, coarsely grated
extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, shredded


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the leek over a low heat for 8–10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, harissa, honey and thyme and cook for a few more minutes, until the leeks are well coated and the spices are aromatic.
  2. Add the cannellini beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Shred the chard leaves and add them to the pan. Simmer for 5–8 minutes, or until they are wilted and soft.
  4. When ready to serve, grill or toast the bread and place a slice in the base of each bowl.
  5. Ladle in the soup and top each bowl with the capers and hard-boiled eggs. Drizzle with a little oil, garnish with coriander leaves and serve straight away.
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