To make the best bean soup start with dried beans. They cook up meaty and satisfying and with my recipe, almost no work at all. My simple bean soup is exactly that. In fact, it’s so simple I was afraid it wouldn’t have enough flavor but wow! I was really surprised how much flavor the beans got just from a piece of carrot and celery and a clove of garlic.
There is no chopping to do. The best thing about this easy bean soup is you just put a piece of carrot and a piece of celery in with the beans, along with a whole clove of garlic, and by the time the beans are done, they have absorbed all that great flavor. Then remove the three flavoring pieces and after that, all you need is salt. I like a thick, hearty, stick-to-the-ribs soup so I thicken it at the end with a little flour. If you don’t like it my way, you can omit the flour at the end.
You may notice that I do not soak the beans first. Well, you can do that and it will reduce the cooking time but to me, the beans taste better without soaking. I experimented with soaking the beans overnight and doing the quick soak where you bring them to a boil and let stand for an hour. In both cases, you are supposed to discard the soaking water and cook with fresh water but then you’re also discarding some of the flavor and nutrients. To me the soaked beans were not as meaty or tasty as the no-soak method.
As for starting with hot water that, too, surprised me at how much more flavor the beans took on by starting in hot water. I don’t know why but it’s the only way I make my bean soup now. I use hot, not boiling water, so it’s the temperature of hot tap water, about 125 °F.
Here are some reasons to eat beans: They have calcium, iron, potassium, protein, soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol, and just like vegetables beans have antioxidants to protect against heart disease and cancer. They also provide a slow, steady release of glucose making bean soup a good choice for diabetics.
When it’s cold outside, you will love my simple bean soup. Actually, it’s 75 degrees today in California but it’s cold somewhere! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones