This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Mar 21, 2020

Sardinian Herb Soup

This Sardinian herb soup is herby and delicious, and makes the most of fresh spring herbs available this time of year. It also includes pancetta, white beans, and Italian cheese.

Sardinian Herb Soup

Sardinian herb soup, or S'erbuzzu, is a rustic soup of greens, white beans, and a bit of meat and pasta. This soup is unique to Gavoi, a small town in northern Sardinia.

This soup is traditionally made with foraged herbs from the island, and includes whatever is available. While I've included only three herbs here, the traditional soup could include a dozen or more herbs.


Ingredients in Sardinian Herb Soup. 

For the pasta, I used fregola, which is an Italian toasted pasta that is chewy and holds up well to soup. I had some dried fregola leftover from making this shrimp and tomato stew. If you can't find fregola, you can substitute pearl couscous and adjust the cooking time to just 5 minute before adding the beans.

This herb soup is loaded with parsley, baby arugula, and tarragon. You will use both the stems and leaves of the parsley, lots of arugula, and just a bit of tarragon. I was not able to find fresh tarragon, so I used dried.

The soup also includes canned white beans, pancetta, and chicken broth. I'm sure the Italian food police of Gavoi would turn their noses up at using canned beans, but the beans were really convenient and are just as tasty.

Finally, you top this soup with crumbled ricotta salata, which is a semi-firm cheese that is kind of crumbly. If you can't find it, you can substitute grated pecorino Romano at half the amount.

Sardinian Herb Soup with beans and arugula

Tips for making Sardinian herb soup:

Be sure to separate the stems from the leaves of the parsley. You will be cooking the stems along with fennel seeds with the pancetta and wine. I love that this soup recipe uses all of the herbs from stem to leaf.

If you can't find fregola, you can substitute couscous as mentioned above. You can also substitute small pasta such as orzo. Again, you will need to shorten the cooking time.

This soup makes great leftovers too.

Sardinian Herb Soup (S'erbuzzu)

This is one of the most flavorful soups ever. No hyperbole intended. This soup is really good and you will feel virtuous having it.

Top the hot soup with some pecorino Romano or ricotta salata and you will enjoy one of the lightest yet most hearty and flavorful soups ever.

This month the Soup Saturday Swappers are making soups with spring greens. Be sure to check out everyone's delicious sounding soup recipes.

Sardinian herb soup with fregola and white beans (S'erbuzzu). 

If you love fresh herbs, you definitely need to try this soup. It's both light, hearty, and totally flavorful.

Sardinian Herb Soup (S'erbuzzu) with white beans and pancetta

Sardinian Herb Soup

Sardinian Herb Soup
Yield: 4 servings
This Sardinian herb soup is herby and delicious, and makes the most of fresh spring herbs available this time of year. It also includes pancetta, white beans, and Italian cheese.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces cubed pancetta
  • 1 bunch flat-leafed/Italian parsley, stems separated, minced, and set aside, and leaves roughly chopped. 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup fregola (see post for substitutes)
  • 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces (about 6 cups) baby arugula leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh tarragon, chopped, or 2 tablespoons dried tarragon


How to cook Sardinian Herb Soup

  1. In a 6 to 8 quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat and then add the pancetta. Cook, stirring, for about 6 minutes. Add the parsley stems, fennel seeds, wine, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper. 
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium high heat and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until most of the liquid had evaporated. 
  3. Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the fregola. Cook, continuing to simmer for about 10 minutes. 
  4. Add the beans, garlic, parsley leaves, and half of the pecorino Romano. 
  5. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes more. 
  6. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the arugula and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Serve with the rest of the pecorino Romano sprinkled on top. 
Fat (grams)
Sat. Fat (grams)
Carbs (grams)
Fiber (grams)
Net carbs
Sugar (grams)
Protein (grams)
Sodium (milligrams)
Cholesterol (grams)
herbs, fregola, parsley, soup
Italian, Sardinian

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @KarensKitchenStories on instagram and hashtag it #KarensKitchenStories
Created using The Recipes Generator

This recipe was adapted from the March/April 2020 issue of Milk Street Magazine. The author was inspired by a soup from the Ristorante Pizzeria Santa Rughe in Gavoi, Sardinia.

Be sure to check out the Milk Street Magazine cookbooks (affiliate links).

Would you like to comment?

  1. So much bright fresh green packed into that bowl - I can practically smell it!

  2. I'm always happy for another bean soup recipe and this one sounds marvelous. Thanks Karen.

  3. Right now, this is pretty much the perfect recipe for using what I have on hand. I just need to grab a bunch of fresh herbs!

    1. Thanks! It's a great way to use up wilty herbs too.

  4. This beans and green soup looks delicious! Love all of the medley flavors.


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.