Janetta's 15-Bean Soup

15-bean soup
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Ratings (31)

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. A number or dried or fresh herbs and peppers flavor the soup, along with garlic and onions. The soup is versatile as well. Add carrots and a rib of celery to the soup, or reduce the stock by about 2 cups and add 2 cups of V-8 vegetable juice just before it's done. One or two bay leaves may be added for extra flavor. See the tips and variations for more ideas and substitutions.

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 aren't sure about your heat tolerance, we recommend starting with the 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.

What You'll Need

  • 1 package/16 ounces 15-bean soup mix (or 13-bean, 16-bean, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (e.g., olive oil, canola, peanut, etc.)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (large, 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 white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (or lime)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 quarts low sodium or unsalted vegetable stock or 2 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock base (see tips and variations for other options)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

How to Make It

  1. 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. Transfer the beans to a colander to drain; set aside.
  2. 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. 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.
  1. Add the vinegar; stir and then add the beans, stock or water and base, or plain water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot simmer the bean mixture for 1 1/2 hours.
  2. 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.
  3. Add kosher salt, as needed, to taste.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace 2 to 3 cups of vegetable broth with tomato juice or V-8 juice.
  • 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.
  • Serve the soup like a gumbo around a mound of boiled white or brown rice.
  • Add chopped celery or carrots to the soup when you add the beans back to the broth.
  • Add two bay leaves to the mixture along with the herbs and spices.


Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
187 Calories
8g Fat
10g Carbs
18g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)