This 15-bean soup is a vegetarian bean soup with loads of flavor. A number or dried or fresh herbs and peppers flavor the soup, along with garlic and onions. I added carrots and a rib of celery to the soup, and I reduced the stock by about 2 cups and added 2 cups of V-8 vegetable juice just before it was done. I also added a few bay leaves to the soup. See the tips and variations for more ideas and substitutions.
I used Bob's Red Mill 13-bean soup mixture, which recommends an overnight soak.
This hearty bean soup makes a perfect lunch or supper with cornbread or crusty bread and a tossed salad.
I recommend starting with the smaller amounts of cayenne and red pepper flakes. Taste the broth about halfway through the cooking time and add more, if needed.
- 1 package (about 1 pound) 15-bean soup mix*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large red or yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bunches chopped green onions
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- zest of 1 lemon or lime
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 2 quarts low sodium or unsalted vegetable stock or 2 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock base (see tips and variations for other options)
- kosher salt, to taste
Put the beans in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water following the package directions and soak them overnight or — if the package directs — do a quick soak and simmer them until just tender. Transfer the beans to a colander to drain; set aside.
Saute the onions in the olive oil for 5 to 8 minutes over medium heat until they are softened and translucent. Add the minced garlic, chopped scallions, and all of the herbs and spices, including the lime or lemon zest.
Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add the vinegar and stir, and then add the beans, stock or water and base, or plain water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot simmer the bean mixture for 1 1/2 hours.
Check the beans occasionally and add additional stock or water if the soup appears too thick for your taste. Check beans for tenderness. If not soft, cook at simmer for another 1/2 hour.
Add kosher salt, as needed, to taste.
*Bob's Red Mill 13-bean soup is a 29-ounce package. Weigh about 15 ounces of the beans — about 2 cups — for this recipe.
Tips and Variations
- Replace 2 to 3 cups of vegetable broth with tomato juice or V-8 juice.
- For a non-vegetarian dish, make the soup with chicken broth or water and a meaty ham bone. Diced ham, sliced smoked sausage, or some cooked crumbled bacon may be added.
- Serve the soup like a gumbo around a mound of boiled white or brown rice.
- Add chopped celery or carrots to the soup when you add the beans back to the broth.
- Add two bay leaves to the mixture along with the herbs and spices.
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