Kitchen Cupboard Bean Soup

Four Beans, One Soup. I am one of those people who will clip a recipe with every intention of making it soon, but I seldom do. That had to be what happened years ago, the only explanation I can think of for the wide assortment of canned beans I discovered recently while going through my cupboard. Cannellini beans, kidney beans and chickpeas are not items that I normally keep on hand. The cans were near their expiration dates and I wanted to use them, but I could not remember which recipes I had planned for them. As usual, my solution was to make a soup.
By / Photography By Christina Richey | September 15, 2012


Over the years, the recipe has changed. I now prefer the flavor obtained by cooking dried beans rather than using canned. But, if pinched for time, you can substitute 14- ounce cans, drained and rinsed, and eliminate the cooking time for the beans.

Initially, I made my own stock but there are many good varieties in today's markets and you can use whichever you prefer. For a heartier soup, use beef stock and add slices of cooked smoked sausage or chopped ham. Use vegetable stock for a heart-healthier, lower-calorie soup.

The two best things about this soup are that you can add or substitute just about any type of bean, and that it tastes even better the second day.


1. Drain the cannellini and kidney beans. Place each in a separate medium-sized pot; cover beans with water by 2–3 inches. Bring water to a full boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 50 minutes, just until tender. Then, drain the beans.

2. While the beans are cooking, dice onion, carrots and celery. Slice the garlic.

3. Make an herb bundle by tying together the parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano and bay leaf.

4. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 4 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. To the pot, add the diced tomatoes (including liquid), sugar, cooked cannellini and kidney beans (drained), canned chickpeas and black beans (rinsed and drained) and the stock.

6. Add the tied bundle of herbs, chili powder, salt and pepper.

7. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until beans are completely tender but not mushy.

8. Remove the bundle of herbs before serving. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and/or toasted slices of thick Italian bread.


  • ½ cup dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
  • ½ cup dried kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 quarts chicken broth, or vegetable or beef stock
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
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