Bean Soup Recipes: Cozy Winter Comfort Food
These chilly winter days are ideal for sitting down to a cozy meal of comfort food. Bean soup is one of our favorites because it’s easy, versatile and filling. You can tweak bean soup recipes according to your personal tastes and what’s currently in your pantry. You can use dried beans or canned beans, and cook your soup on the stovetop or in your slow cooker. So flexible!
We gathered a few enticing bean soup recipes to share here, along with some tips and tricks to help make your bean soup even better.
Bean Soup Recipes: Cook Your Own Beans
Cooking dried beans is easier than you might think. In fact, half the work is having enough time and patience to leave the beans alone and let them cook.
Start with this brilliant article from Epicurious that covers their bean-cooking experiment and the best practices drawn from their conclusions. They cooked up 12 pots of dried pinto beans and altered different variables, like pre-soaking and quick-soaking, changing the water before cooking, and cooking with the lid on or off.
Based on their extensive tests, Epicurious recommends quick-soaking your dried beans, then salting them and simmering with the lid off until they’re tender and creamy.
Of course, you can certainly use canned beans — it’s faster to open a few cans than to simmer for hours, and they’re still pretty cheap. But if you’ve got the time, we recommend cooking dried beans. Try it once, at least.
Bean Soup Recipes: Slow Cooker Ham and White Bean Soup
Ham and beans go together like peanut butter and jelly, so it makes sense to start with this bean soup recipe from Damn Delicious. We love it because it looks elegant enough to serve to guests, yet it’s full of those comfort food ingredients that belong in soup.
The recipe calls for a leftover ham bone. If you don’t happen to have one, or you don’t want to wait to make the soup, ask at the grocery store.
Bean Soup Recipes: Tuscan White Bean Soup With Turkey
Another recipe that looks deceptively difficult is this one from Aimee Mars. It’s actually perfect for a weeknight meal, whether you choose to make it on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. If you do make it on the stovetop, allow enough time for it to simmer so the beans soften.
Look at those chunks of savory ground turkey and salty shaved parmesan, plus those tender cannellini beans. And while the ingredients don’t include fresh thyme, we’re convinced by the garnish to add some.
Bean Soup Recipes: Navy Bean, Bacon and Spinach Soup
We know it looks like this soup from Skinny Taste is nothing but bacon and a spinach leaf or two, but there are actually three whole cans of navy beans in there. This soup also gets some flavor depth (and color too) from tomato paste and carrots. You could even make this soup vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Then the meat-eaters can top theirs with bacon.
Best of all, Gina provides cooking instructions for three methods: stovetop, slow cooker and Instant Pot. She’s got you covered, no matter how you like to cook.
Bean Soup Recipes: Vegan Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
This recipe from Making Thyme for Health may be vegan, but it’s also substantial and filling. Jalapeños and chipotle chile powder give it a fiery taste too. Adjust amounts according to your personal taste. You can also serve this soup over fluffy white rice or with tortilla chips and avocado slices.
As with the navy bean soup above, this soup can be made more appealing to meat-eaters. Serve with shredded chicken or carnitas, and carnivores can top their bowls with those add-ins.
Bean Soup Recipes: Black Bean and Chickpea Soup
Chickpeas don’t normally make their way into soup. That’s why we’re so glad we found this recipe on the Vitamix website. Prep time is minimal, so it’s another great weeknight choice for when you don’t have an answer to the question of “What’s for dinner?”
While this soup isn’t as spicy as the previous black bean soup, it does have a jalapeño kick. It’s also vegetarian, but like the others it could be delicious with shredded chicken.