Janetta's 15-Bean Soup

Janetta's vegetarian bean soup

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 15 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
258 Calories
3g Fat
47g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 258
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 200mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 11g 39%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 24mg 118%
Calcium 98mg 8%
Iron 4mg 25%
Potassium 921mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This 15-bean soup is a nutrient-rich soup with loads of flavor. The soup can be made with a 15-bean or 16-bean soup mix. The soup gets its aromatic flavor from a number of herbs, peppers, garlic, and onions.

The soup is versatile as well. There are quite a few ways you can vary this recipe for your own unique take on this classic recipe. Add carrots and a rib of celery or reduce the stock by about 2 cups and add 2 cups of V-8 vegetable juice just before it is done. One or two bay leaves may be added for extra flavor.

If you prefer a soup with meat, feel free to change it up with some diced leftover ham, bacon, or browned sausage or ground beef. If you plan to add meat or poultry, you might want to swap out the vegetable stock with chicken stock or beef stock.

Any dry bean soup mixture can be used to make this soup. Read the instructions on the container or bag to check for soaking instructions. The beans might require an overnight soaking.

This hearty bean soup makes a perfect lunch or supper with cornbread or a crusty loaf of French bread. Add a sandwich or tossed green salad for a satisfying meal.

If you are not sure about your heat tolerance, start off with smaller amounts of cayenne and red pepper flakes. Taste the broth about halfway through the cooking time and add more if you crave more heat.

If you prefer to use a slow cooker, take a look at Neil's 16-bean soup or Sharon's navy bean soup with ham.


  • 1 (16-ounce) package 15-bean soup mix, or 13-bean, 16-bean, etc.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 bunches green onions, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, or 1 tablespoon fresh basil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

  • 1 lemon, or lime, zested

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 quarts low-sodium vegetable stock, or unsalted vegetable stock, or 2 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock base

  • Kosher salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Janetta's vegetarian bean soup
    The Spruce 
  2. Put the beans in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Cover the beans with water following the package directions and soak them overnight or—if the package directs—do a quick soak and simmer them until just tender.

    Put beans in Dutch oven
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  3. Transfer the beans to a colander to drain; set aside.

    Drain beans
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  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they are softened and translucent, stirring frequently.

    Heat olive oil in large skillet
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  5. Add the minced garlic, chopped green onions, and all of the herbs and spices, including the lemon zest. Cook for about 2 minutes longer, stirring frequently.

    Add minced onion
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  6. Add the vinegar and stir.

    Add vinegar
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  7. Add the beans and stock. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

    Add stock
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  8. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot simmer the bean mixture for 1 1/2 hours.

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  9. Check the beans occasionally and add additional stock or water if the soup appears too thick for your taste. Check beans for tenderness. If not soft, cook at a simmer for another 1/2 hour.

    Add water
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  10. Add kosher salt, as needed, to taste.

Recipe Variations

  • Add tomato juice: Replace 2 to 3 cups of vegetable broth with tomato juice or V-8 juice.
  • For meat lovers: For a non-vegetarian dish, make the soup with chicken stock or water and a meaty ham bone. Diced ham, sliced smoked sausage, or some cooked crumbled bacon may be added.
  • Add rice: Serve the soup like a gumbo around a mound of boiled white or brown rice.
  • Add veggies: Add chopped celery or carrots to the soup when you add the beans back to the broth.
  • Additional flavor: Add two bay leaves to the mixture along with the herbs and spices.

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