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Ecuadorean Fanesca Recipe

Ecuadorean Fanesca Recipe

Fanesca, also known as Easter Soup, is a creamy Ecuadorian soup made with salted cod, peanuts, and seasonal vegetables including squash, corn, and an assortment of beans. This dish is only prepared during Lent and Easter celebrations and is often eaten as lunch on Good Friday. 

This soup varies between households as most families will have their own combination of vegetables and seasoning. Regardless of these changes, the staple of the soup is fava and lupini beans. Other beans such as cannellini, white, red, lima, and garbanzo beans can be added.

The day before making Fanesca, it is important to desalt the salted cod by soaking it in water for 24 hours before beginning the soup. For a less salty soup, you can soak the cod for longer. 

Origin & Cultural Significance

Fanesca is known as Easter Soup due to the symbolism associated with the grains and beans used. Traditionally, up to twelve different grains and beans will be included in the soup to represent the twelve disciples. The salted cod represents Jesus. 

The origin of this meal is unclear, but some food historians theorize that it began in the catacombs of Rome during the Roman Empire, where early Christians were persecuted and held their religious celebrations in secret. The Christians would bring all the different grains and combine them into one large pot before giving the soup to others. 

Another theory holds that this came from a seasonal harvest celebration held by the Indigenous people of Ecuador, and became a Christian practice after colonization. A common thread between both theories is the emphasis on giving to others. This tradition continues in modern Ecuador, where it is common practice to share Fanesca with friends, neighbors, and those in need.

Fanesca soup in pot

Ecuadorian Fanesca Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 2 minutes

Fanesca, also known as Easter Soup, is a creamy Ecuadorian soup made with salted cod, peanuts, and seasonal vegetables including squash, corn, and an assortment of beans.


  • Salted cod, cut into 1” pieces - 1 lb.
  • Cabbage, shredded - 1 cup
  • Butternut squash, diced - 3 cups
  • Zucchini diced - 3 cups
  • Milk - 5 cups
  • Milk - 1 cup
  • Milk - 2 cups
  • Peanuts, roasted - 1 cup
  • Red onion, diced - ½ onion
  • White onion, diced - ½ onion
  • Garlic, crushed - 6 cloves
  • Rice, cooked soft - 1 cup
  • Butter - 3 tbsp
  • Oregano - 1 ½ tsp
  • Cumin - 1 tbsp
  • Achiote powder - 1 tsp
  • Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Fava beans, cooked - 2 cups
  • Lupini beans, peeled - 2 cups
  • Corn - 2 cups
  • Green peas - 2 cups
  • Lima beans, cooked - 1 cup
  • Cannellini beans - 1 cup
  • Heavy Cream - ½ cup
  • Cream Cheese - 6 oz.
  • Queso Fresco crumbled - 1 cup
  • Cilantro, finely chopped - 4 tbsp


  1. Prepare your salted cod. By soaking for 24 hours in water. Make sure to change the water every 6 hours.
  2. In a large saucepan, boil your butternut squash and zucchini until tender. Once boiled to tender, remove from water. Dump some water(reserving for later use), saving a small amount to boil the shredded cabbage for 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Blend your vegetables. Combine zucchini, squash, cabbage, and cooked rice into a food processor. On a low setting, blend into a puree. You can use the reserved water if the puree is too thick. Set aside. 
  4. In the same saucepan from earlier, boil 5 cups of milk on a medium boil. Add your prepared cod and leave to boil for 10-12 minutes. 
  5. While the cod is boiling, blend your roasted peanuts with 1 cup of milk in the food processor. Set aside. 
  6. In a large stock pot, begin to assemble your soup. On medium-high heat, add butter, onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, achiote, and pepper. Sautee until aromatic and onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. 
  7. Add the vegetable puree from earlier. Mix well. 
  8. Add 2 cups of milk and stir. 
  9. Add your beans. Add fava beans, green peas cannellini beans, lima beans, and corn to your stock pot. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  10.  Add the boiled milk and cod mixture into your stockpot. Mix well. 
  11. Add your peanut and milk puree and let everything simmer for 10 minutes. You can taste test during this time to see if any seasonings should be adjusted. 
  12. About 5 minutes into this final simmer, add lupini beans, heavy cream, cream cheese, and queso fresco. Stir well to help the cheeses melt into the soup.  
  13. Mix in your chopped cilantro and let simmer for a few more minutes. 
  14. Serve with sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, fried plantains, and/or hot sauce. Enjoy!


  • In place of queso fresco, you can use feta cheese.
  • In addition to or instead of cilantro, you can use parsley.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 616Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 3010mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 11gSugar: 17gProtein: 49g

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