Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
Hands-on Time
15 Mins
Total Time
50 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups soup and 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese)

Don't toss those rinds from Parmesan or other hard cheeses; store in the freezer, and simmer in soup for added richness and flavor.

How to Make It

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add vegetable broth and the next 5 ingredients (through cheese rind); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in escarole and carrot; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrot is tender. Stir in red pepper, salt, black pepper, and vinegar. Remove and discard rind; sprinkle soup with shaved cheese.

Ratings & Reviews

October 24, 2017
We buy Rennet-free parmesan, not super easy to find but it's out there! :)

Delicious recipe!

Fast Skier
December 23, 2016
This recipe was an option for me on the Cooking Light Diet.  It was very good, quick, and easy to prepare.  I used escarole but it was hard to find in my area and I had to visit a few stores before I found it and it was pricy.....$2.99 for the head.  When I make this next time I will probably sub spinach or chard for the escarole.  The leftovers were even more delicious!


January 31, 2018
It wasn't awful, but it wasn't worth making again.  First off, forget that 15 minutes of prep.  I used lacinato kale and the kale alone took 20 minutes to wash, devein, and chop.  It would be shorter with escarole, but even then, there is no way this takes 15 minutes to throw together.  All told, using only 1 lb. of kale, the whole thing took about an hour to prep, including cleaning as I went, which is something CL never figures into their time estimates.  The soup itself was alright, but a bit bland. Most CL soups are bland, but this actually looked promising.  Oh well, I guess CL can make even a promising soup end up severely lacking in flavor.  In my case I even used a homemade veggie broth taken from seriouseats that is very flavorful and, IMO, kle is both tastier and more flavorful than escarole.  The soup definitely needs more salt - maybe it would be better with the miso instead of the parmesan rind.  At the very least I'd double the thyme sprigs and up the rosemary.  Also, I looked at three DC area grocery stores for no-salt Great Northern beans and neither Whole Foods, Giant, or Safeway carried them. 

MsLaurie's Review

January 29, 2012
Quite tasty. I have never cooked with the cheese rind before but it lends a nice flavor to the soup and I would certainly be disposed to repeating this recipe. It was good to the last bowlful.

pattict's Review

November 14, 2012
I made this almost exactly as printed. The only difference is I used white balsamic vinegar instead of white wine vinegar. It is excellent as is.

michellevega's Review

March 14, 2012
There's a lot of room for versatility in this recipe, which I like. It's very easy to make and nicely flavored. I used chicken broth and substituted spinach thrown in at the very last minute in place of the escarole. I left out the vinegar too. The only complaint in my house was that it had a strong onion soup flavor. Next time I make this I'll use the escarole because it will hold up better than spinach and I will only use 1C of onion instead of 2. Whatver changes you decide to make, DO NOT LEAVE OUT THE PARMIGIANO RIND, it is a key ingredient.

tastan's Review

March 02, 2012
Very good and very easy to make. Made as written except used spinach instead of escarole. Can also easily 1/2 the recipe which is nice, as so many soup recipes make very large quantities. Will make again.

prithy3's Review

January 05, 2012
WOW! This was fantastic! I made a couple of changes due to what I had on hand: used chicken broth instead of veggie; added about 2 c. of water and 2 chicken bullion cubes, a pinch more red pepper, a package of all natural mild italian chicken sausages (sliced), and used spinach instead of escarole. I put everything into the pot except the spinach and vinegar and let that simmer, then added the last two ingredients and let it all simmer together for about 30 mins. I had to call my friends and let them know how much I out did myself - this was absolutely one of the most delicious soups I have ever eaten, let alone made! YUM!

razmatazkim's Review

January 29, 2012
I modified (a lot) by combining this recipe another in the same issue (Spinach & Lentil Soup). I did not have canned beans but had dried lentils for the other recipe. I substituted using 1 cup of dried lentils, 4 cups of veggie broth & 2 cups of water (instead of canned beans & the suggested amt of water & broth). Followed the directions through adding garlic. Then added my increased amt of veggie broth, water & 1 cup lentils. Simmered for 40 minutes, added some chopped celery & then followed the rest of the recipe. I chopped up some flat leaf parsley to toss in with the escarole. It was amazing!!! For my kiddos, I tossed some real bacon bits on top of their servings, they ate it all & asked for seconds. We'll make this again!

ReneePech's Review

January 07, 2012
This was a very easy and tasty soup! I used red chard for the greens (which actually turned the soup red, almost like tomato soup!) and all of the flavors were really nice. Served it with a nice whole wheat baguette and it was a great dinner.