Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup

$5.69 recipe / $0.71 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.90 from 87 votes
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THIS is one of those soups that makes you feel good about your health and is still incredibly delicious and satisfying. Beans are probably the most underrated super food. They’re packed full of fiber, protein, and antioxidants, while still being super inexpensive and shelf stable. And when you get 15 different varieties all in one pot, you’ve got a serious nutrition powerhouse! I decided to make it a Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup (it’s actually vegan) this week, but you could always add some bacon, a smoked ham hock, or smoked turkey leg to your soup for a little extra smoky flavor.

Three bowls of Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup topped with Parmesan and parsley

What Kind of Beans Do I Use?

“15 Bean Soup” mixes are fairly common in most major grocery stores, and they are sold right along side the other dry beans. I used Hurst’s Brand, which are in many major grocery stores. They’re basically just a mix of 15 bean varieties in one bag, and they’re quite beautiful, with all their different colors, patterns, and sizes. They usually come with a seasoning packet, just like instant ramen, but I prefer to add my own herbs and spices.

What to Serve with Bean Soup

While this soup itself is vegan, I ended up topping it with some shaved parmesan. Other good toppings would be a dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt (you could do coconut yogurt to keep it vegan), or even some shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack. And I definitely suggest serving with some crusty bread on the side (try this no-knead bread).

How to Store the Leftovers

This Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup will freeze great, so don’t be afraid of the recipe’s large volume! Just divide it up after cooking, cool, then transfer to the freezer for long term storage. This soup does take some time to prepare, but most of it is passive time. So plan this recipe for a weekend or your day off so you can keep an eye on it while double tasking with something fun, like watching a movie. :) And don’t forget to start soaking the beans the night before!

A close up view of a pot of Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup with a wooden spoon.

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Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup

4.90 from 87 votes
With a variety of colors, fresh vegetables, and vibrant herbs and spices make this Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup flavorful, filling, AND incredibly good for you.
A variety of colors, fresh vegetables, and vibrant herbs and spices make this Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup flavorful, filling, AND incredibly good for you. BudgetBytes.com
Servings 8 1.5 cups each
Prep 8 hrs
Cook 2 hrs
Total 10 hrs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. 15 bean soup mix* (2.69)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil** ($0.44)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 4 carrots ($0.45)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.46)
  • 6 cups water ($0.00)
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.49)
  • 1 tsp cumin ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp oregano ($0.10)
  • 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika ($0.15)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • Freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley ($0.22)
  • to taste salt ($0.02)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar ($0.04)

Instructions 

  • The night before, place the beans in a large bowl and add cool water until the beans are covered with twice as much water as the beans. Let the beans soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours, in the refrigerator.
  • When you're ready to begin cooking, drain the beans in a colander and rinse them well with fresh water. Set the beans aside so they can begin to warm up.
  • Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Add the garlic, onion, and coconut oil to a large soup pot. Sauté over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and transparent.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the celery and carrot. Once the onions have softened, add the carrot and celery to the pot and sauté for about 5 minutes more, or just until the celery starts to soften.
  • Add the beans to the pot along with 6 cups of water, and stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring it up to a boil. Once it reaches a rolling boil, turn the heat down to low or medium-low, and let the beans simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 90 minutes, the beans should be quite soft and have broken down a bit, causing the water to look slightly thick and cloudy. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and parsley to the pot. Stir to combine, then let the soup simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Taste the soup and add salt to taste (I added 1.5 tsp). Finally, stir in the apple cider vinegar. Keep in mind that as the soup is stored in the refrigerator, the salt may absorb into the beans and taste more muted. You may need to add more salt the next day.

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Notes

*This is just a mix of 15 bean varieties in one bag, with an envelope of seasoning included. I used only the beans and tossed the seasoning packet.
**I used coconut oil because it has a mouthfeel similar to animal fat. You can use your favorite cooking oil in its place, if you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 17gFat: 4gSodium: 55mgFiber: 16g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A spoon lifting beans out of a bowl of Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup

How to Make 15 Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos

Soaked 15 bean mix in a large bowl of water

The night before place 1 pound of the dry 15 bean mix (do not use the seasoning packet) in a large bowl. Cover it with enough water so there is double the amount of water as beans. Refrigerate the beans overnight, or for at least 8 hours. This is what they look like after soaking. When you’re ready to start cooking, drain the beans in a colander and rinse them well with fresh water.

Sauté Onions and Garlic

Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add the onions, garlic, and 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or your favorite cooking oil) to a large pot. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. 

Sautéed Carrots and Celery

While the onions and garlic are cooking, peel and dice 4 carrots, and dice 3 ribs of celery. Add them to the pot and continue to sauté just until the celery begins to soften (about 5 minutes more).

Add Soaked Beans to Pot

Add the rinsed and drained beans…

Add Water to soup pot

And 6 cups of water. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let it come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low or medium low, and let it continue to simmer for 90 minutes. Stir it occasionally as it simmers.

Simmered Beans and vegetables

After it’s simmered for 90 minutes, the beans should be very soft and be breaking down. The broth will look all cloudy like this, and kind of pale in color. 

Add Tomatoes and Spices to soup

Now it’s time to add those top note flavors! Add one 15oz. can of diced tomatoes (with the juices), 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, some freshly cracked pepper, and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. Stir everything to combine, then let the soup simmer for another 20 minutes or so.

Season soup with Salt and ACV

And now it’s looking much more vibrant. BUT we haven’t added ANY salt yet, so the flavors are still quite muted. Now it’s time to season with salt to taste. I ended up using 1.5 tsp, but I suggest starting with 1/2 tsp, and increasing from there until the flavors really pop. Keep in mind that as you refrigerate this, the salt will absorb into the beans some and become more muted, so you may need to add more the next day. 

Finished pot of Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup

Finally, stir in a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to brighten it all up, and it’s done!

A bowl of 15 Bean Soup being eaten with a spoon.

Three bowls of Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup with slices of parmesan and parsley

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  1. Why toss out the seasoning packet? I would prefer using less of my own ingredients, and using the seasoning packet (to save money & to simplify.)

  2. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to write a review for this recipe considering I’ve made it so many times. As written, the recipe is 5/5. Delicious, comforting, and filling. I made a few changes this last time I made this soup and it took it to the next level (didn’t know it was possible)! I also prepared it in my Ninja Foodi :) 
    The only changes I made this time were to sub vegetable broth in place of water and to also add Trader Joe’s mushroom seasoning and vegan fish sauce in place of salt. It added this incredible umami flavor.

    For the Ninja Foodi directions (and it came out just as good), I used the sauté function to cook the garlic, onions, carrots, and celery. I then added my vegetable broth and beans and pressure cooked on high for 15 minutes and let it naturally release for 15 more minutes. I then added my seasonings and tomatoes and then pressure cooked it for 5 more minutes. I manually released the pressure and was so excited to eat it that I forgot the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar at the end. It was still absolutely delicious.

    Thank you so much for giving us fantastic and healthy recipes! 

    1. Absolutely. It will take longer than 3 hours, of course. Check in on it after five hours and taste the beans for softness. XOXO -Monti

  3. Sitting here with a bowl of 15 bean soup right now. Didn’t have smoked paprika, I have a hard time finding it, but overall soup is quite good.
    Because there is so much, I pulled out two cups of soup, added some rice and after running to the store for good Mexican cheese, I intend to use this to make enchiladas. I am optimistic when the rice soaks up the extra broth, the consistency will be just right.
    Thanks for this recipe.

  4. Sweet. I came here strictly for your homemade soup seasoning. I am lacto-ovo vegetarian (no fish, meat or poultry, but I consume dairy & eggs) and have been buying the Hursts 15 Bean Soup. The little seasoning packet included says ‘HAM FLAVOR’ on it and obviously, being vegetarian, I don’t want that, so thank you for the seasoning recipe. Why did Hursts ruin a perfect vegetarian bean soup mix with ham flavor seasoning?
    I have a 2 quart Crock Pot (small b/c I live in an apartment). First time I made Hursts 15 Bean Soup I did the whole bag. IMO it was too much for the 2qt crock, so I cut it in half before I soaked beans & stored half the bean mix in a Ball Mason Jar to cook next week, so the entire bag gives me 2 weeks of beans

    1. I’m a little delayed to this, but vegetarian-turned-vegan to vegetarian here: the Hurst’s HamBeens soup flavoring actually is vegan. Their FAQ actually clarifies that it’s free from any animal byproducts, and that’s how it’s able to be Kosher. However, I find it mostly just tastes like smoke and chemicals, so I vastly prefer to use Beth’s seasoning mix instead!

  5. Getting ready to make this! Is the vinegar needed for a specific reason? That’s the only thing that i hesitate to put in …. Let me know!!

    1. It just kind of lightens the soup up a bit and adds some brightness to the flavor profile. :) You can get away without adding it, but it definitely takes the soup to the next level.

  6. I was asked to cook for a large group, kind of last minute. I knew I wanted soup and had to accommodate vegans as well as meat eaters. I made this and it was delicious. I added some more veggies (some chopped yellow squash and a few diced potatoes) and subbed Rotel chopped tomatoes and green chilies for a bit of spice. Very good! For the people who missed meat I just added some cooked sausage and peppers on the side they could add if they wanted. This recipe makes a lot and it is very hearty even though I did add a bit more water than the recipe indicated (I’m always a bit nervous about burning beans!). thank you!