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.
Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup
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!
Vegetarian 15 Bean Soup
- 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)
- 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.
Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make 15 Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos
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.
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.
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 the rinsed and drained beans…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, stir in a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to brighten it all up, and it’s done!