Whoever discovered beans gets a big fat medal of appreciation from yours truly. They’re just incredible. Incredible and cheap.
This soup is thick, warm, comforting, and flavorful… and was LESS THAN FIVE DOLLARS FOR THE WHOLE POT. That’s the magic of beans.
This awesome soup is also vegan. It uses fresh vegetables to make its own flavorful broth – no Better Than Bouillon soup base this time around, folks. It’s all au naturale! The best part? I chopped the veggies the night before and then just threw everything into the slow cooker before I left for work today. When I walked through the door this afternoon my apartment smelled absolutely divine. A few quick stirs, a little salt to taste, and I had an incredible, thick, delicious soup all ready to go. I dipped in a chunk of crusty French bread and life was good.
Don’t really care about the vegan part? Try adding a smoked ham hock or turkey leg to the slow cooker with the rest of the soup ingredients for an ultra smokey, rich soup. Or, save your bacon grease from breakfast and add a few tablespoons in place of the olive oil. You won’t regret it.
This makes a huge pot, so I highly suggest you freeze some single servings for later.
Please Note: Make sure to use navy beans, not cannellini beans, which are related to the kidney bean. Kidney beans and cannellini beans contain a high level of phytohemagglutinin, which is a strong, naturally occuring gastrointestinal toxin. The levels of this toxin can actually increase if the beans are not fully boiled for ten minutes. If you’re unsure about your beans, boil the beans on the stove top for at least ten minutes before adding to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.
Slow Cooker White Bean Soup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- 4 cloves garlic $0.32
- 1 medium yellow onion $0.73
- ½ lb. carrots $0.55
- 4 stalks (1/2 sleeve) celery $0.80
- 1 lb. dry navy beans* $1.69
- 1 whole bay leaf $0.15
- 1 tsp dried rosemary $0.10
- ½ tsp dried thyme $0.05
- ½ tsp smoked paprika $0.05
- Freshly cracked pepper (15-20 cranks of a mill) $0.05
- 1½ tsp (or more to taste) salt $0.05
- Mince the garlic, dice the onion, slice the celery, and slice the carrots into thin rounds. Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, and carrots to a large (5qt or larger) slow cooker.
- Sort through the beans and remove any debris or stones. Give them a quick rinse and then add them to the slow cooker, along with the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, paprika, and some freshly cracked pepper.
- Add SIX CUPS of water to the slow cooker and stir to combine the ingredients. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low or on high for 4-5 hours.
- After 8 hours, stir the soup and mash the beans slightly. Starting with just a ½ tsp, add salt to your liking. I used about 2 tsp total, but keep tasting and adding more, ½ tsp at a time, until it reaches the level that you prefer.
Step by Step Photos
You pretty much just throw everything in the slow cooker. Okay, so maybe there’s a LITTLE prep involved… just mince the garlic, dice the onion, and slice the celery and carrots. Sort through and rinse the beans real quick, too. Then, just add the olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrots, beans, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika, and some freshly cracked pepper to the the slow cooker. (I did not pre-soak the beans)
Next, add SIX CUPS of water and stir everything together. Put the lid on top and set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours (a better option if your cooker tends to run on the cool side).
Come back 8 hours later and you’ll have this. Now, you may think, “OMG, I didn’t add enough water!” That’s what I thought anyway… until I stirred it.
Stir the soup and you’ll notice that there is, in fact, enough water. It’s just that everything was floating on top. Now, keep stirring and mashing some of the beans up against the side of the pot so that the soup will thicken…
And finally it becomes a thick, delicious soup. Okay, one last thing – you HAVE to add some salt. Salt really makes the flavors pop. You want to wait until the end to add salt because adding it early can make the beans tough and you generally need less salt if it’s added at the end as opposed to the beginning. So, start with 1/2 tsp and just keep tasting and adding more as needed. I liked it right around 2 teaspoons, but 1 1/2 tsp was pretty good, too.
So thick and delicious… perfect for crusty bread!
Beans are good food.
Oh one more thing… Many of my soup recipes call for 1/2 pound of carrots and a half bunch/sleeve of celery. I never let the other half of each go to waste. Go ahead and cut them up, put them in freezer bags, and save them for your next batch of soup. That way the next time you get to skip all of the chopping! (This photo is from an old recipe, BTW. That’s why it says 2011 :P )