Protein Packed Soup

The classic “16 Bean” soup is one of the most versatile soups today. It’s packed with a variety of legumes that are loaded with protein, fiber, and it can be made vegetarian or with meat. This soup also allows you to shop for your own legumes, or buy a pre-packaged dried mixture from a brand like Goya. I’ll give the recipe in all its variations.

Photo by Caroline Attwood

If you have access to a store that sells a variety of dried beans, you can’t go wrong making this soup. Personally, I like to go through the barrels of beans and other dried legumes and choose my own, based on their color and on my own personal taste. To make this soup, I suggest people buy about 2 ounces (or ¼ cup) each of any dried legume. The best part of this soup: no matter how many beans you choose, they will all soften and cook down the same when the soup is made. Even better, any combination of beans will add their own unique flavor to make this soup your new favorite.

Photo by paul morris

Don’t be turned off by the variety of beans; you don’t need 16 different types right out of the gate. Start with some that you know, then introduce new types in future soups. The bottom line: you can’t go wrong with this soup in terms of taste and nutrition. Plus, it stores beautifully and reheats well for lunch, a dinner, or a late day snack.

Choose your beans, and share your favorites here!

16 Bean Soup

  • 1 package of 16 Bean Soup Mix (like Goya) OR, 2 ounce each (1/4 cup each) of any of the following dried beans (you want a total of about 16oz of beans):


  • Whole green peas
  • Green split peas  
  • Yellow split peas
  • Blackeye Peas


  • Red Beans
  • Pink Beans
  • Small White Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Red Kidney Beans
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Baby Lima Beans
  • Large Lima Beans


  • Red Lentils
  • Yellow Lentils
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo) Beans
  • Pearl Barley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4-5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if using meat)
  • 2 bouillon cubes (vegetable for vegetarian, chicken if using meat)
  • 1 large or 2 small pork/ham hocks (if using meat)
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Prepare the beans: There are 2 ways to prepare the beans:
  2. Overnight: Put all the beans in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover completely (about 3-4 cups). Cover with plastic wrap and let them sit overnight, at least 8 hours
  3. 1 hour method: Cover with 4 cups of warm water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 2 minutes then cover, remove from heat, and allow to sit for an hour.
  4. Drain beans and rinse thoroughly. Allow to drain
  5. Add carrots, celery, and onion to pot and add salt and pepper. Saute in olive oil over medium heat in a large pot until soft and onions are translucent, about 8 minutes
  6. Add garlic and sautee 1-2 minutes
  7. Add the drained beans and stir to combine
  8. Add in the broth (and pork if using), broth of choice, and bouillon cubes. Stir to combine
  9. Bring to boil
  10. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour- 90 minutes or until all beans are tender.
  11. Serve with toasted bread and garnish with fresh parsley or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.



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