Slow cooked with 13 types of beans, this bean soup recipe makes a filling bowl of healthy and comfort.
Using a bean soup mix for soup is convenient and the result is delicious. The slightly different flavors and textures of the different beans make the soup more interesting than if it was just one or two kinds. The addition of ham or smoked sausage adds tons of cozy flavor too. I can’t wait for you to try this soup!
- Video: Making Hearty Bean Soup
- What Beans Are Used?
- Amount Of Beans Needed
- How To Soak Dry Beans
- Can You Use Canned Beans?
- Why Are The Salt And Tomatoes Added Near The End?
- Is The Meat Optional?
- How To Make 13 Bean Soup
- More Hearty Soup Recipes
- Podcast Episode About Making Hearty Bean Soup
- Hearty Bean Soup Recipe
Video: Making Hearty Bean Soup
What Beans Are Used?
What makes this bean soup wholesome? There are a huge variety of beans in it. I’ve used this this 13 Bean Mix, but you may find another mix at your store that you prefer, or you can make your own. The one I’ve used here contains dry navy, black, red, pinto, garbanzo, great northern, kidney, baby lima, large lima beans, black-eyed, yellow split, green split peas, and brown and red lentils. Wow! I’ve also made this exact same recipe with a 15 bean soup mix too though, so that will work just fine also.
Amount Of Beans Needed
I wanted this bean soup recipe to be convenient to make so it uses the entire package of beans. Different brands have different amounts though, ranging from 1 pound 4 ounces to 1 pound 14 ounces. I’ve tested both amounts and nothing changes except that you need a bit more broth or stock for the larger package. But feel free to use whatever 13 bean or 15 bean package you find.
If you’re using your own dry bean mix or don’t have the package handy, you’ll want to measure 3 cups of dry beans for this recipe.
How To Soak Dry Beans
Soaking beans does two things. First, it reduces their cooking time by giving them some hydration. Second, it reduces some of the gassiness that people feel after eating beans. It’s therefore a good idea to soak your beans before cooking with them.
The bean soup recipe below has you do a quick soak on your beans. That means you put them in a large pot with enough cool water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Then bring it to a boil, uncovered, over high heat, stirring occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, take it off of the heat, cover the pot, and leave it for 1 hour. Drain the beans, rinse them off, and then proceed with the recipe.
The alternative is to do an overnight soak. For this, the day before you plan to make the soup, put the beans in a large pot or bowl with enough cool water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Cover the pot and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Drain the beans, rinse them, and proceed with the recipe.
Can You Use Canned Beans?
My grocery store doesn’t sell a canned bean mix. So, if I want a variety of beans in a soup and I want to use canned beans, I buy a few different kinds. You’ll want to get four 14-ounce cans of beans. Drain them and rinse them.
To make the soup, you’ll do the same as in the below recipe but with a much shorter cooking time. You’ll begin with Step #3. Then in Step #4, you only need to let everything cook for 10 minutes. And in Step #5, it’s just another 10 minutes as well. For a 15-minute quick bean soup recipe that uses canned beans, you can also check out my Bean and Bacon Soup.
Why Are The Salt And Tomatoes Added Near The End?
This is somewhere between truth and myth, but I’ve had enough issues with beans cooking that I err on the side of caution. What is the truth-myth that I’m referring to? That salt and/or acidic ingredients increase beans’ cooking time, sometimes drastically. And so, for this recipe, we’re adding both the salt and the acidic tomatoes towards the end of cooking. It all works out fine, so don’t worry about it. I was just explaining in case you noticed that these things are added later than they are in other soups.
Is The Meat Optional?
Yes. This recipe calls for a smoked sausage like kielbasa and I find that it adds a really nice flavor to the whole soup. You could use the same amount of ham if you’d like instead. Or, you can skip the meat entirely. There’s so much meatiness and protein from the beans that the soup will still be hearty and delicious.
If you skip the meat though, I recommend that you add some umami in other ways. Extra smoked paprika is a great idea. Also though, I find that fennel seed does a great job of boosting the meaty flavor. For me, fennel seed tastes like Italian sausages, so when I add it to things, it brings in that rich, warm flavor. You could also try adding sauteed mushrooms and/or a bit of regular or vegan Worcestershire sauce.
How To Make 13 Bean Soup
As mentioned above, you’ll start with either a quick soak or an overnight soak of your beans. Then drain them, rinse them, and put them into a large pot.
Now, some people sauté the onions and other aromatic vegetables whenever they make soup. I don’t. I do it for some soups but not for others. Since this soup cooks for a really long time, the vegetables don’t really need to be pre-cooked like that to get nice and soft and melded into the soup. In terms of flavor, since the beans and the sausage have such a deep, warm flavor, I wanted the other ingredients to add some of their brightness. Putting them straight into the mixture raw helps with that.
So, to the beans, you’ll add a chopped onion, a red bell pepper, carrot, and garlic, as well as some seasonings: thyme, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Also go in with 6 cups of unsalted (or low-sodium) stock. You can use vegetable stock or chicken stock. Bring that up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are just starting to get soft.
When those beans are starting to soften, then you know that it’s safe to add in the salt and tomatoes, so stir those in there along with the sausage. Cook until the beans for nice and tender. I like to use a fork or a toothpick to test if they’re soft all the way through. Then, your soup is ready to eat!
More Hearty Soup Recipes
I’m pretty much obsessed with soup and make a batch of one kind or another almost every week. If you’re like me and love making and eating soup too, then you should definitely head over and browse through all of my soup recipes. There are over 50 of them there, and they’re so so so good! And here are links to some of my favorite hearty soups for you:
Podcast Episode About Making Hearty Bean Soup
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this bean soup, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:Print
Cooked slowly with a 13-bean mix, this bean soup recipe makes a pot of the most delicious bean soup. Enjoy! -Christine xo
- 3 cups of 13 bean soup mix*
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 14.5 oz. can of petite cut tomatoes with the juice
- 3/4 lb. fully-cooked smoked sausage, like kielbasa, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- Measure the beans into a large pot. Cover by 2 inches with cold tap water. Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered. Remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour.**
- Drain the beans and rinse them off.
- Return the beans to the pot and add the onion, red pepper, carrots, garlic, smoked paprika, thyme, black pepper, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until the beans are beginning to tenderize, about 30-45 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, the sausage (if using), and the salt. Return pot to a simmer and cook until beans have reached the desired level of tenderness, another 45-60 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
*That’s approximately 1 pound and 4 ounces of dried beans. If your package has 1 pound and 14 ounces, you can use the whole thing, just add an extra cup of stock in Step #3.
**Alternatively, do an overnight soak by measuring the beans into a large pot and cover by at least 2 inches with cold water. Cover and let sit for 12-24 hours.