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15 Bean Soup Recipe

In fact, you will not always get the same 15 types of beans in every recipe, nor in every pre-mixed package either. If you can’t find every type of bean, just get the ones you want.

That is the essence of true soup-making: using what you can find, and making something tasty out of it!

Bean Mix

The 15 bean soup recipe calls, predictably enough, for 15 types of beans. This mix is the one I have seen most often. Again, don’t sweat if you can’t find them all. Just use what you can get, and if you end up with 14 or 16 or more or less, who is going to care?

Mix equal amounts by weight of each of these and mix thoroughly. And don’t be surprised about the amount of different variations of the same beans in this mix. They are there because each variation really does have a unique flavor.

Baby lima beans
Black beans
Black eyed peas
Brown lentils
Cranberry beans
Great northern beans
Green lentils
Green split peas
Kidney beans
Large lima beans
Navy beans
Pinto beans
Red beans
Red lentils
Yellow split peas


2 cups 15-bean mix
1 ham hock
Slash of olive oil
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
6 cups water *(see note below)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Slash of red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder (** see note below)


1. Soak 2 cups of the bean mix over night in water.

2. Heat olive oil in soup pot on medium low heat.

3. Add onion, celery, garlic, salt and bay leaf. Sautee until onions are soft.

4. Add chili powder and cumin, cook for another minute or so to get the flavors into the oil.

5. Add canned tomato and water.

6. Strain the beans, and add the beans to the soup.

7. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley.

8. Bring soup up to a simmer gently. If you boil the soup, you will not get all the flavor from the ham hock.

9. Cook for at least an hour, preferably 2 to 3 hours so the beans become tender.

10. About ten minutes before serving, add the parsley.


*You can add chicken stock to this soup if you like, but pork is a much better match for beans. That is what the ham hock is for. Again, if you boil this right away, you will lock the flavor into the hock, which is not what you want. Gently bring it to a simmer instead.

**To make this 15 bean soup recipe a complete protein soup, add some grains to it, such as rice. Any combination of legumes and grains, as long as they are whole, constitute a complete protein.

Tips and Techniques

You will notice that in this 15 bean soup recipe I called for adding the spices and herbs near the beginning of the process. Adding your dried spices and herbs before you add the liquid is a good way to make sure you extract the maximum flavor from them. As soon as you add the liquid the oil can no longer absorb more flavor molecules, so make sure you cook the vegetables with the spices and herbs for at aleast a couple of minutes before adding the broth.

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