We’ve been very strapped for money lately thanks to veterinary bills, so we’ve been doing what we can to save money on food. We have a lot of dried beans in our pantry, but we usually don’t use them much, because we don’t remember to soak the beans the night before so that they’ll be ready to cook the next day. However, I’d heard that if you slow-cooked the beans all day long, soaking didn’t matter at all. Since we have a hand-me-down crock-pot, slow cooking wouldn’t be a problem at all.
This hearty slow-cooked vegetarian bean soup with winter vegetables has a mild flavor that is perfectly complemented with a little hot sauce. It is a wonderful, low-cost winter staple. You can have leftovers all week or freeze half for later.
Vegetarian Many Bean Soup Recipe
serves about eight
Note: This recipe uses a crock-pot or slow cooker, but if you don’t have one, you could simply simmer the soup in a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat for several hours, stirring now and then. You’d have to be around to watch it, though. A slow cooker, you can just let it go, and that is much more convenient. To reduce the cooking time on the stovetop, soak the beans first overnight.
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1/2 a head of garlic
- 1/2 cup dried pinto beans
- 1/2 cup dried kidney beans
- 1/2 cup dried black beans
- 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
- about a cup of assorted other sorts of dried beans *
- 3 cups filtered water
- 32 oz non-tomato vegetable broth **
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt or Cajun seasoning
- 3 red potatoes
- 3 stalks of celery
- 3 carrots
- about two more cups non-tomato vegetable broth to fill
- serve with smoked Tabasco sauce and some toasted bread
* Like cannellini or navy or white beans, butter beans, red lentils, great Northern beans, azuki beans, Jackson wonder beans, garbanzo beans (chick peas), mortgage runner beans, mung beans, red beans, etc.
** We use either homemade broth or Imagine Foods No-Chicken Broth.
1). If you will be cooking the soup on the stovetop, you may want to soak your beans overnight to reduce the cooking time. Be sure to rinse them first and check for rocks.
2). Start by ten o’clock a.m. if you want your soup ready by six in the evening. Rinse all of the beans, checking for rocks. Set aside.
3). Peel the onion and cut it coarsely. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them with the flat of the knife, then chop finely. Place the onion and garlic in a gallon (or larger) soup pot with some olive oil over medium heat. Fry the onions and garlic, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown and turn translucent.
4). Add all of the beans and lentils, water, the 32 oz. of vegetable broth, bay leaves, salt, and Cajun seasoning (or seasoned salt). Bring to a boil and let it boil for about ten minutes. Then, if you will be cooking in a crock-pot, transfer the contents to the crock-pot and cook for several hours until beans are soft. If cooking on the stovetop, turn the heat to medium-low and let cook for several hours until beans are soft. Add a little vegetable broth or water if the soup gets too thick.
5). Once beans are soft, you can let them cook for a couple more hours for optimal flavor and a smoother textured soup. At some point you will want to wash, chop, and add the potatoes, celery, and carrots (filling over with more vegetable broth). I did this in the crock-pot about three hours before serving time. If you’re trying to cook it faster on the stove, you’ll want to do this step 45 minutes to an hour before serving time, and simmer a little below medium heat.
6). Serve with smoked Tabasco sauce to add to taste and a hearty, crusty bread on the side, toasted. Enjoy!